Friday, May 9, 2008

Help! (Beatles Week)

The Beatles

This is what one of the Rolling Stone record review guides said:

Theirs is the final, great consensus in popular music—not liking them is as perverse as not liking the sun.
And every word of that is true. They belonged to everyone – hipsters could get off on their raw artistry, their ambition, their ravenous appetite for the exotic; teenyboppers could focus on the catchy melodies, the glorious love songs; longhairs could marvel at their sophistication, their disregard for conventional pop structures; best of all, everybody was on board with the message – as Ringo memorably put it, "It was for love and bloody peace." Values change and fashions come and go, but if your goal is to produce an artistic catalogue that maintains a continued relevance, love and bloody peace has a good chance of staying in style for a while.

The Beatles found different ways of saying the same thing over the years, but to me this track says it best. Over Ringo's double-time skifflish beat, John sings his song of friendship while Paul and George echo the words.
When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.
That was the Beatles' gift to the world: the idea that these words were not just a hokey Hallmark sentiment, but a vital and challenging concept. This song is a lasting monument to the Beatles practising what they preached.