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Sleeping With John

The recent re-releasing of The Beatles' absolutely-fucking-everything in a gigantic box set has set off another wave of discussion as to how important the boys from Liverpool were to music in the twentieth century. Most of these reflections I've read so far amount to deification of deities. How can you go back to review something which is a classic? Pitchfork has perhaps been the most guilty (and most recently read, in my case) of this condition. Hard Day's Night? Clearly three tenths of a point worse than Abbey Road. But when you're doling out six perfect scores for their major releases, and no score lower than an 8 - barring a slap on the wrist for Yellow Submarine - you're not communicating anything special. This was almost as curious as the handing out a perfect ten for Miles.

Pitch-bitching aside, for many people my age, the Beatles were a timeless institution handed down to us from out parents. The music is great, duh, but my associations with it are so tied up in my childhood, they are almost inseparable. Having a happy childhood - my fatal flaw as a writer - means that anything I can associate with that time is more or less impossible to fault, unless you're just trying to be critical for being critical's sake. Talking Heads are one of my favorite bands ever, but I can never properly review anything they've done because every listen to Stop Making Sense just takes me back to Sunday afternoons in my living room as a kindergartner.

On this latest trip back to the womb With the Beatles, I didn't like the music any more or less. I didn't have some deeper appreciation for their three part harmonies, or the complicated chords, or the deft repackaging of Black music, but I still liked the Ringo songs way too much. I just found it way sexier. In the bluntest terms, some of my favorite moments from the Beatles now when John Lennon sounds like a sex machine.

Why Don't We Do It In The Road? is a 1:41 jam that gets straight to the point, and I adore it. I mean, maybe it was a giggler back in the day, but now I find it very hot. I Want You (She's So Heavy) uses a guitar line that follows the sultry vocals and a driving Arpeggio to simulate between the sheets time. If Yoko broke up the band, I can understand why she was really into John.

Norwegian Wood maybe has the best narrative. He even released it as a subtle hint to his then wife Cynthia that he was sleeping around.
"I was trying to write about an affair, so it was very gobbledegooky. I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences ... girls' flats, things like that."
I didn't just listen to the clean-cut, poppy, ready-for-Ed-Sullivan Beatles records when I was a kid. Abbey Road was my favorite, and still is. But I'm glad to have had an opportunity to reappraise this band as an adult so I could see how much Lennon was into passionate, hard, and casual fucking.


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