Thursday, July 15, 2010

the backstory.

Alright, so. Let me start this off with the little disclaimer that I am an obsessive little person, and yet I know that the Beatles weren't God, and there are more important and enriching people and things to read and dwell upon in this world and throughout its history. Too much attention or importance placed upon anything superficial is dangerous. That said, the Beatles have been a major fascination for me for years, and there's something about music and how it surrounds you and bookmarks parts of one's life that does make it genuinely important. The Beatles were the freaking Beatles, they really did redefine music, and more than that and my personal connection to alot of their songs is the other element that furthers my fascination, that other layer that covers their work: there is a sadness and nostalgia wrapped up in their music now that makes it something it wasn't yet when it was first created. All older music has that, but the songwriting of the Beatles especially holds strong unlike anything I've heard. It was reflective of the time and the time became a reflection of the music. So I guess I have that awareness of history and significance as well as the tie to my own personal feelings and milestones.

The Beatles were the first band that I really loved and researched-- generally speaking, even when I really love an artist I do very little reading about them. I like to listen to the music and that's it. Not so with them. And I didn't come to love them until I was about 12... my mother and I had bought my dad "1" and "Abbey Road" as presents and I didn't care to listen to them because they were dad stuff, just like I grew tired of James Taylor and Cat Stevens because they were mom stuff (of course, I heard much more of those two because mom played them, and they became a part of my childhood. music was not a necessity to my dad so he never played it or pushed his old favorites at me). So anyway, dad had those to listen to in his garage and I never bothered with them until one day for some reason or another I got out "1" to play because I didn't have many cds at that point. Eleanor Rigby was the one that seized me, and after that I skipped out to the library to get Sgt. Pepper because I liked the cover. On that one I instantly gravitated to She's Leaving Home, which I still think is a gorgeous, underrated song. After that I declared that both "1" and "Abbey Road" belonged to me. I was just learning how to download music, so I downloaded "Strawberry Fields Forever" and started indoctrinating my friends with it. I didn't quite win my best friend Emily over until I played her Maxwell's Silver Hammer, which thankfully she appreciated instantly. After that it was all Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper all the time, until one night, just before we moved away, I was outside on the swing that we had inherited from my grandmother, feeling jumbled up inside and though I was really happy to be moving I was feeling all knotted up about what was going to happen and if I'd ever come back to Texas and what all that meant. That was the time that I was starting to spend alot of time on my own, just thinking and daydreaming and being sad, and that night I was out there with "1" on my clunky portable CD player and Let It Be, a song I had always kinda liked but never loved for any particular reason, came on and I really listened to it, and I remember-- for someone who cried very rarely at that time-- tears came to my eyes, and it was as though God had reached through a piece of rock music from the 60's to tell me everything was going to be alright. I remember looking up at the sky, which was cloudy, and hearing "there is still a light that shines on me" and thinking, my god. Every teenager needs to hear this. There will be an answer, let it be. We will all keep breathing, so long as hope is alive.

From then on I was definitely a fan, and I tend to go through spurts of obsession over certain songs or albums or Beatle anecdotes from time to time. Overall I suppose I like them for their lyrics and their diversity-- I have a theory that no one can really dislike the Beatles, one just has to find the Beatles phase they like (early moptop, early clean and creative, totally psychadellic and theatrical, or rough around the edges and stripped down-- though I suppose Abbey Road is a mix of theatrical and stripped down?). I really like to read about them, especially Paul and John and what inspired their songs. George is ultimately my favorite, he was definitely kind of looked over at the start and then came into his own later on. He worked with alot of other muscians and was very earthy and sincere and spiritual and about the music. He grew into his talent. However, Paul and John were pure geniuses. John had such a mind, evident from a young age. He could have been a member of Monty Python or a writer of any kind. I think his songwriting is the most skilled, his songs are either like pages from a journal or from a Dr. Seuss book. He had a way with wordplay. Only thing was, he hated himself most of the time. Paul, on the other hand, didn't, and was probably the healthier one. He was the most productive, and could have gone solo very easily (he wrote and performed Yesterday by himself). Most of the concepts that made the Beatles groundbreaking were his, and the man could play every instrument. His writing has always been genius too, and though perhaps not as clever as John's, I find that I connect more to his songwriting than to any other. Paul is sentimental and sweet and a bit meloncholy, and John was edgy and clever and his sentiment was there but disguised. Though I love many John creations, the ones of his I like the most are his depressed ones, such as I'm Only Sleeping and Nowhere Man. Though Day in the Life is definitely in the top 5. [And then you have Ringo, who's just precious.....]

ANYWAY. My stupid point was that Paul McCartney's music has long been a very defining part of my life, made even more powerful by my awareness of what his music has meant to others. I read a story about the first time he did drugs, and how he thought he had the answer to life (there are three levels-- though that's actually a misquote, apparently he later thought there were 7. whatever, point was, three levels). Later I had a strange dream in which a friend and I climbed up three levels to the rooftop of a building to see the beatles, each one glowing a different color (George was green, John was blue, Paul was pink, and I THINK Ringo was purple), standing on each edge of the building. They all had newspapers in front of them, and after we had looked at all of them and chatted a bit, my friend was rushing me to go so I made the hasty decision to take Paul's newspaper with me. Afterwards it turned into an Indiana Jones dream with the building collapsing and us narrowly getting away, but I remember hugging Paul's newpaper for dear life. And it was a nice dream.

But now that I have definition-waxed poetic, I will talk about the concert.

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