Monday, November 07, 2005

Roll up, roll up

I have been going through a Beatles phase lately, listening to lots of stuff that I haven't heard before, mostly live/early stuff and solo records. I had never heard A Taste of Honey before, for example, which is a lovely little tune which does my favorite metrical trick of switching to 4/4 time from 3/4 time. Nor had I listened to any of Paul's solo work. Much like Lennon's solo work, there're some gems and a whole bunch of garbage, too. I have, however, fallen in love with a handful of his songs, like Magneto and Titanium Man, Jet (a lost krautrock klassik), Admiral Halsey, and really a whole bunch of his Venus and Mars album.

I've also rewatched The Compleat Beatles, which is such a wonderful documentary on them, so much better than the Anthology, which I sped through one more time. The latter does have the saving grace of having much of the Shea Stadium concert, which is really rocking and high spirited. The songlist is really hot, with Baby's in Black, Help, Ticket to Ride, and a tremendous version of I'm Down with features John playing cheese organ with his elbow in between cracking up with George on harmony vocals and Paul belts out a rocking early Paul vocal. This is music that would like to kick Maxwell's Silver Hammer's ass. Anthology only presents selections from the concert, and while the recordings may've been "sweetened" (see shea stadium link), I'd still love to have a DVD of the complete concert. The audience is ridiculous, but the wall of screams that comprised Beatlemania hadn't quite driven the band nuts yet, or so it seems.

Anthology as a whole is pretty dull. It's much longer than Compleat Beatles but manages to say a whole lot less. The editing of the interviews is kinda weird, too, because there's a random guy (not George Martin) who comments as often as the then three surviving Beatles. He talks as if he were a Beatle, but I have no idea who this guy is. Cut him out and load up some more vintage Lennon interviews in that sucker.

I also decided to check out the one Beatles flick I'd been avoiding, namely Magical Mystery Tour. Oh boy, does MMT the movie blow. It's really the Beatles' Phantom Menace. It lacks anything like a plot, more a series of uneven sequences, some music videos, some just surreal setups, like John literally shoveling spaghetti onto an obese woman's plate in a restaurant (sadly, this is a highlight of the film). The music video portions are ok, because while the film blows, the MMT songs are pretty hot, including the title track, I am the Walrus, and a pleasant little video for Flying which features palette-swapped Icelandic scenery, reminiscent of both 2001's space trip and Bjork videos from around the time I stopped listening to Bjork.

That is all

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