Saturday, June 23, 2018

Yellow Submarine

We live in strange times. I'm not talking about current events, where seemingly nothing is real. What I'm talking about is that we are currently in an epoch where the young people consider The Beatles to be over-rated.

I just wasn't made for these times.

I was going to list some of the achievements of The Beatles. Between 1964 and 1970, they released 11 Number One albums, 20 Number One singles, held the Top Five positions in the Billboard Charts, appeared in five feature films, and has the most covered song in history with "Yesterday". The list goes on and on, and it's staggering. So I decided against it.

From Wikipedia: Writing for AllMusic, music critic Richie Unterberger recognises the Beatles as both "the greatest and most influential act of the rock era" and a group that "introduced more innovations into popular music than any other rock band of the 20th century". In Rolling Stone magazine's Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (2001), the editors define the band's influence as follows: The impact of the Beatles – not only on rock & roll but on all of Western culture – is simply incalculable … [A]s personalities, they defined and incarnated '60s style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic, group has so radically transformed the sound and significance of rock & roll. ... [they] proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. Four of their albums are in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time's Top Ten.

Someone might cynically claim that that's "being over-rated", and I would just as cynically recommend that person learn a little musical history further back than last week.

Surreal, hallucinatory, and Dadaesque, Yellow Submarine is filled with zany, nonsensical adventures, as The Beatles travel in their eponymous vehicle to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. Cheeky wordplay, double entendres, and sight-gags abound.

Strangely enough, this sinister, terrifying, kaleidoscopic, and joyful film was for children. Could have fooled me. But then there's this:

Referential and self-referential, with snippets from the French National Anthem, Glenn Miller, Greensleeves, and Bach, only a world-conquering creative force such as the Beatles would have the guts to reference themselves, not just once, but twice. Let me remind you this is a pop tune. And how can one not collapse into ugly-faced weeping at the beauty of the harpsichord, the brass, the strings? Impossible. 

And don't get me started on this clip. Gorgeous and revelatory.

*Eleanor Rigby Youtube Video From Yellow Submarine*

Whoops, sorry. Looks like I'm unable to embed or link to a 40-second clip of Eleanor Rigby because I suppose a 40-second clip will keep you from purchasing either the remastered Blu-Ray of Yellow Submarine, or adding another to the 5 million copies of Revolver sold as of 2014. Just imagine the tune. Hum along if you'd like. Relax, and float downstream.

Here's a link to the trailer, as the film is hitting UK theaters for a 50-year anniversary run.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you, regarding the Beatles' indelible impact on culture. Fun review, as always. Extra points for using "Dadaesque."