Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let's Talk About The Beatles

Everyone likes The Beatles. You have to. It’s almost an obligation. But this thread on shed some light on what I’ve been feeling a bit lately and that is: Holy shit I am sick of The Beatles.

I originally started listening to The Beatles in high school and fell for them. Hard. My friends and I would play the double disc blue greatest hits front to back when we would be partaking in things high school kids partake in on weekend nights. We’d usually end up standing in a circle singing loudly and enthusiastically to every single lyric, holding our fists to our chests or waving our hands in the air when the feeling called for it. We felt those songs, man.

These evenings led me to check out the rest of their catalogue and I soon had my CD shelf filled with every album The Beatles ever made, including special greatest hits and those anthology albums. I. Loved. Them. I secretly wished they were a new band existing in my time so I could see them and swoon after a young John Lennon or George Harrison for real. 

Post-high school, my obsession faded and they just became a band I liked. I would listen to them when they came on the radio. Occasionally I’d toss a song onto a mix CD. And every once in a while, I might throw a whole album on and listen. But those days became fewer and further between.

Fast forward to these last few years and if someone were to ask me if I was a fan of The Beatles, I’d probably scowl. I don’t know what happened or when or why, but something in me switched and it’s almost to the point that hearing a song by The Beatles makes me want to scream. I start to twitch. My shoulders hunch up and grow tense. If my iPod dares play them, I want to run and switch the song as quickly as possible.

So, why?

Is it the overkill? Did I just listen to them too much at one point? Does the world just force them down everyone’s throat a little too much to the point that they make me want to gag?

Okay, so I really shouldn’t generalize so much. There are still a select few of their songs that I really don’t mind listening to still and that I might even enjoy. “Long, Long, Long” could be considered one of my favorite songs of the moment, but come on, it’s basically a solo George Harrison song on a Beatles’ album. “Strawberry Fields Forever” is still fabulous, though it’s not something I would just throw on anymore. And some of the super oldies like “Love Me Do” and “Ticket to Ride” are still good for the occasional sing along. And, I do believe I found myself singing along to “Come Together” in the car the other day.

But that’s about all that’s coming to me at the moment.

I still enjoy a lot of their post-Beatles’ work and was crazy thrilled to get to run across Abbey Road last spring when I went to London.

But that’s about where The Beatles and I draw the line these days.

I’ve heard this from other people, too – that they just can’t quite stomach The Beatles anymore. I wonder if this is something that comes with age, or if it’s just a fluke. The Beatles were, originally, a teen pop band. A boy band sensation in the likes of New Kids on the Block or N’Sync. Except they played their own instruments and wrote (most of) their own songs. It seems natural that they would have that certain something that would draw a teenage girl in. They grew out of that and into a much more mature, adult sound that grew with me in my teens as I found myself experimenting and deep in thoughts  of where do I fit that most teenagers find themselves thinking. And then, I guess, that went away.

Which is kind of sad.


Music is still a ridiculously huge part of my life, which is obvious if you read this blog. I would call myself obsessed. It is the driving force of everything I do. It gets me up in the morning.

So, it’s not like I still don’t try to find meaning in things and that I don’t turn to music for some sort of guidance.

But, it almost feels like, with The Beatles, that since they were one of the first, there is a particular naiveté to their words that is somewhat hard to stomach as an adult and that now they have become, to me, purely nostalgic. A reminder of some really good times and well, music I know all the words to, which makes for a good sing along when the mood strikes me.

And I understand their place in history, their importance. I know they were part of a musical revolution that changed the way a lot of things were done. I know they used inventive recording techniques that had never been done before. I know their cultural impact. And I appreciate it.

I just don’t know if The Beatles and I are friends anymore.

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