March 4, 2006

White Album v. Abbey Road, Round 3

This is the third portion of a three-part debate.

Click here for Round 1
Click here for Round 2
Click here for Round 3

Concluding Remarks: White Album

Colin: Some differences are irreconcilable, and unfortunately this seems to be one of them. I mean, I respect that. If that-thir’ Holy Bahble says’un tha earth’s not but a couple a’ hunnerd years old, then who’re all ‘em fancy college-boy scieeyntists to be blasphemin’ th’ good Lord?

A brief response: to claim that the White Album has no cohesion whatsoever is foolish. This is not a mixtape…this is a band recording a number of songs during a definite period of time, and so all the songs naturally bear a great deal in common. No song on the White Album bears any great resemblance to any song on Please Please Me, for example (from which I would certainly choose both “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” for this hypothetical mix-CD you speak of), yet most of the songs on the White Album share common themes and preoccupations. Note, for example, the wealth of references to guns, animals and violence in the lyrics…again, a list of which I will gladly provide should you wish to face your mistake. They certainly didn’t fixate on this aspect of the music, because they were focused on writing good songs. You seem intent on faulting the Beatles for any type of diversity in their songwriting.

My main point stands: the quality of the songs on an album determines the quality of the album. This seems to me like such a ridiculously obvious tautology that there’s really little left for me to say. Your only remaining argument, then, is that the songs on Abbey Road are better than those on the White Album, which to me seems almost as ridiculous. By your own admission, the White Album contains the greatest song of all time. And I will go pound-for-pound with you, matching any song on Abbey Road with a better one on the White Album. You claim that three bad songs (“Goodnight,” by the way, is not a bad song, I’ll only concede “Honey Pie”) somehow negate twenty-seven good or amazing songs? Well then, throw out every good album ever recorded. Your beloved Blonde On Blonde? Oh, whoops, “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.”** Baby out with the bathwater. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust? Pretty much blew the world’s collective mind…meets your high standards of cohesion…no, wait: “Hang On To Yourself.” If I could just disregard that one song, the album would be amazing…but no. Can’t do it. Ziggy sucks, I guess. And Janine D’agati is so hot…except for that one mole on her lower left…OK. Sorry. That’s below the belt.

The mole, I mean.* Not my conduct.


*AUTH. Doug D’agati is now entitled to one free “Sarah Bennett” comment of the worst nature imaginable. That one deserves it. He should nevertheless bow down before the supremacy of my Beatles argument.

**ED. Wha what??


Concluding Remarks: Abbey Road

Doug: I’d expect an outburst about my younger sister from Adam, and perhaps even Luis after a few shots of rum. But never from such an upstanding gentleman as Colin. Then I realized I couldn’t really blame him. To do so would be like blaming a small rodent—trapped in the corner of a cage and being poked with a sharp stick—for trying to claw out my eyes in one last desperate attempt at survival. I would probably do the same in his position. Thankfully, I’m the one with the sharp stick.

Colin, I am very familiar with the story behind “Her Majesty.” But I could care less if Ashley Simpson put the track at the album’s end. It works. I love it, and you love it. Now, the White Album is a great album, arguably one of the best of all time. But Abbey Road is better. Far better. the White Album, admittedly full of great songs, is also full of not-so-great songs. I count at least 7 (and I’m being quite fair, as I think “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” are atrocious, but nonetheless will concede due to irreconcilable differences). Also, many songs that pass as decent surely cannot pierce the shining armor of Abbey Road. Let’s be serious, do you really believe “Yer Blues,” “Savoy Truffle,” “I Will,” and “Glass Onion” are among the Beatles’ good songs? If so, I’m fine with your admitting that. Now let’s consider Abbey Road. There is at most one BAD song—“Because”—and that’s debatable. Then there is one mediocre song: “Sun King.” Unfortunately, this is not debatable. It’s very mediocre. However, every other song would qualify as great, particularly if Colin considers a whopping 19 songs on the White Album “absolutely phenomenal” and only 3 songs “so-so.”

Much can be said for experimentation. Experimentation is interesting, unique, and by its very nature, new. There is no doubt that without their successes and failures on the White Album, the Beatles could not have produced Abbey Road. The Beatles took what they learned from the White Album (and others) and produced their final masterpiece, Abbey Road, which solidified their position as the best band that ever lived. But, experimentation is not always great. It may be necessary, it may be interesting, but it is not always great. Take, for instance, Crystal Pepsi, a beverage that I’m sure my opponent liked.

Colin, go listen to the White Album while enjoying a refreshing glass of Crystal Pepsi. I’ll be sipping Chardonnay* while listening to Abbey Road.


*AUTH. This writer would like to note that he cannot afford Chardonnay, and will instead content himself to shotgun multiple cans of Milwaukee’s Best. But you get the point.

1 comment:

Kyrill Kunakhovich said...

jesus, gentlemen, wherever were you in grade school? pulling each other's pigtails? trading magic the gathering cards? did nobody ever tell you that in this proud country of which we are all now citizens EVERYBODY IS A WINNER? so put aside your petty disputes, for as i have learned, the only thing that really matters is your strike-protected right to work 35 hours a week and get a full pension at sixty. as for me, i'm going to forget your collective claptrap, try to ignore the homoerotic phantasmagoria inspired by jeremy's email, and go listen to my two favorite albums.