Friday, June 17, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Magical Mystery Tour is the Best Beatles Album (and How Anyone Who Says Otherwise is Wrong)

1) Listen to that first song. This isn’t just some random number or a silly little introduction to the concert you’re about to see. This is a DECLARATION! COME ONE! COME ALL! STEP RIGHT THIS WAY! ROLL UP FOR THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR! This is easily their greatest album opener ever. It’s so declarative. It makes you go, “Whatever they’re selling, I want it.” It pulls you in from the beginning, which is exactly what an album opener should do. All Revolver’s got is a song about taxes. What exactly is so appealing about taxes? See? You’ve lost me already.

2) There are no bad songs on this album. Not a one. Now I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Oh, come on! The White Album and Abbey Road have better songs!” Maybe. But you know what else they have? Bad songs. Think about it. Everyone has at least one song they always skip on the White Album. Same goes for Abbey Road, only in that case it’s either “Oh! Darling” or “Octopus’s Garden.” Magical Mystery Tour has none of those. You will listen to this album straight through every single time and enjoy every minute of it.

3) When it comes to drummers, Ringo is pretty much as average as they come. He could keep a steady beat, sure, but he’s the only famous drummer I can think of that actually REGRESSED over time. But this album? I wouldn’t dare call his drumming bad on this album. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty good. He gets some nice jazz beats going and keeps it all interesting throughout. However, “Tomorrow Never Knows” remains his best drum beat, like, ever.

4) “Blue Jay Way” is George Harrison’s best song. There. I said it. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps?” “Something?” Too bluesy. Too melodramatic. But “Blue Jay Way?” That song is ahead of its time. He used experimental effects that you still barely ever see in modern music. Just listen to that echoing chorus played in reverse in the background, or how about that constant changing of the pitch of the drums toward the end? Psychedelic, man.

5) I buried Paul. Rotate the picture in the booklet 90 degrees, and you’ll see the skull. Call 537-1438 to get closer to the truth.

6) To me, this album symbolizes when the Beatles were most “together.” I dunno about you, but I typically remember each album post-Sgt. Pepper as having some kind of problem internally in the group, like the controversy over whether or not Paul rerecorded Ringo’s parts himself or George’s bitterness on the Let It Be album over his playing being almost completely controlled by the rest of the band (mainly Paul). This album was an afterthought soundtrack for their pet project of a movie. They collaborated and worked together evenly because they legitimately wanted to make something great together. Incidentally, the track “Flying” is pretty much the only track of theirs to give equal singing time to each member.

7) My grandma (my GRANDMA) absolutely loves “Your Mother Should Know.” It’s a callback to the songs of old that she’s always held dear. Do you know what song comes right after “Your Mother Should Know?” It’s “I Am Walrus.” I don’t think my grandmother knows this, but I find it hilarious that one of the most recognizably bizarre songs ever written that “totally made sense” to every hippy at Woodstock is preceded by a song that appeals to the previous, older generation of people complaining about and yelling at those very same hippies at Woodstock.

8) It’s said that Paul and John had very distinct lyrical styles, probably best exemplified by the band’s previous album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. On “Getting Better,” as Paul chants the optimistic, life-affirming chorus of admitting that everything is getting better, John manages to sneak in with his much more pessimistic viewpoint of “It can’t get no worse.” It’s such a small, subtle line, but it can completely change the meaning of the song depending on how you look at it. Or how about “A Day in the Life?” The whole thing is this sad, loathing piece written by John, but right in the middle Paul manages to inject this short piano ditty that one can’t help but bounce right along to. Anyway, getting to the point, I believe this is a very large reason as to why the Beatles were/are so huge. So on this album, when we start side B (which begins with "Hello Goodbye") we're given a catchy upbeat song by Paul. That in turn switches to the more mellow "Strawberry Fields" number by John. Then back to another upbeat Paul song with "Penny Lane," and back to a bitter track about losing money on "Baby You're A Rich Man" before the final song. It’s those opposing viewpoints that always manage to come together so beautifully time and time again that makes for some of the most memorable music ever.

9) The final track, “All You Need is Love,” encapsulates the entirety of the band’s philosophy of life, the universe, and everything and compresses it into a catchy three minutes and forty-seven seconds. What more could you ask for?

10) I don’t actually have a tenth reason, but I think you’ll agree that 10 sounds much more appealing than the number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9…

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