Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Let’s discuss this “4” business

iTunes is now selling the Beatles’ solo albums, and to promote this capitalistic gift they are bestowing upon themselves, for a limited time they are offering a free EP called “4” with one solo song from each of the four Beatles.

Let's talk through this.

1.  First up, John.  I do not envy the person who was charged with the task of choosing something “representative” of John Lennon’s solo work, although whoever it was did exactly what I would have done and took the safe route.

“Love,” a song so toothless it was once used in a Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo commercial (way to sell out your dead husband, Yoko), shows us John’s softer side, i.e., the side of him that wasn’t really interesting.  And neither is this song.  I give this selection a B.

2.  Next up, Paul.  Heralded as one of the most successful songwriters of all time, Macca has written more hits than even iTunes knows what to do with.  And yet.  Taking into consideration the sheer volume of what he’s composed, the bulk of Paul’s work falls in the “alright” to “mediocre” range.  Boldly going with a middle-of-the-road selection from the middle of an album that was released in the middle of Wings’ career, our Paul song is “Call Me Back Again.”

For its deep symbolism (that I probably just made up) reflecting his career as a whole, I give this one an A-.

3.  George.  “Let It Down.”  This is one of the most incredible things any Beatle ever did outside of the Beatles.  This choice single-handedly confirms that our anonymous song selector contains the capacity for exquisite taste.  A-motherfucking-plus.

4.  In his perennial slot at the end, we have Ringo.  Ringo has cranked out a number of fairly well-known songs over the years, but “Walk With You” is not one of them.  Off a 2010 release (Ringo released an album in 2010?), this song is most notable for featuring a dominant vocal…by Paul McCartney.

C- selection work with that one, iTunes, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

(If I'd been in charge:  "Nobody Told Me," "Too Many People," "Beware of Darkness," "Photograph."  And you'd love every damn minute of it.)

Overall, “4” is all over the place and sometimes weird, but does not lack in entertainment value.  (Which is exactly what can be said for the solo work of the four guys who used to be the Beatles.)  

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