Wednesday 31 January 2018

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs

Ah yes, The Beatles. Super important. Revolutionised the whole musical playing field, until it became pointless for anyone else to even try anymore. They were like The Simpsons of pop rock, everything has been done before because they already did it. You will never be as worthy as a pimple on Lennon’s buttocks, or Ringo's ingrown toenail, or Harrison's cold sore, or a little piece of forgotten rice in McCartney's beard, so you might as well put that guitar away, cut your hair into a respectable shape, and get a real job.

That said, when considering their 13 studio albums and 237 original songs spat out in a mere 10 years of activity, they were bound to occasionally get a bit sloppy, and that is where this list comes in. It’s to prove that just because The Fab Four were celestial beings forged from the breath of baby angels, this did not make them infallible, as they too had a misstep here and there. Which is why the next time you start to feel the pangs inadequacy as an artist, simply put on this playlist to remind you that the best-selling band of all time also had their bad days (even if those bad days were still better than anything else you will ever achieve in your entire pathetic life).

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 10. All Together Now

10. All Together Now (1969)

Appears on: Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

Despite the anthemic chorus which basically demands that you sing along with it, there is no avoiding the fact that All Together Now is a song written for toddlers. And considering that we are all adults now, we should not be allowed to enjoy such a simple type of fun, because life is super serious and we have to demand a certain amount of depth to our preferred artistic flavours in order to prove that we are sophisticated grown ups, and not just big fat stupid people.

Case points: this McCartney composition includes all the numbers from 1 to 10, cites the alphabetic letters from A to J, and lists nine colours. That’s kiddie stuff right there! We then receive clear instructions from John on how to work with boats, trees, and skipping ropes, which we obviously already know, duh, our lives are far more complicated than that, Mr Lennon. How about a lesson on filing tax returns or attracting a decent lover, hey? Seriously, can anyone help me with that stuff?

The most damning line, however, comes when Paul asks "can I take my friend to bed?". Such a careless question has no place in this otherwise innocent children’s song, and it is completely uncalled for. Some might even say that it’s irresponsible for our adolescents to hear a sentence like this. Reason being, is that it’s grammatically incorrect. The proper phrasing would be "may I take my friend to bed?". Terrible language skills will breed a badly spoken youth, and we should all be the change we want to see in the world.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 09. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

09. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

Appears on: Past Masters, Volume Two

Here is a song that epitomises the “so bad, it’s good” ethos, an example of where The Beatles took a break from entertaining everyone else, and focused primarily upon entertaining themselves. This is probably why said track was never released on a studio album, and has sunk into such obscurity that it's often overlooked even by the most seasoned of Beatles fans. They still needed to sell records, at the end of the day.

Picture a group of stoned Beatles, impersonating comedic voices, sticking a bunch of unfinished ideas together with duct tape, and then getting Brian Jones to lather it up with a saxophone. And there you have it, You Know My Name, simplified on paper. Reading it like that, you may speculate that this could be quite a cheerful little piece of amusing silliness—and you’d be completely correct! It's awesome! It's the most carefree piece they ever achieved as a group! However, this is also the reason why I've included it here, as the song is far beyond any serious representative of the band’s artistic intellect and their acute commercial savviness. It stands so far removed from their primary message, and if this was what The Beatles sounded like, you would not know their name. The number would have been disconnected a long time ago. Paul wouldn't be as rich as he is right now.

Speaking of Paul McCartney, he actually once went on record stating that this was “probably my favourite Beatles' track”, and that makes sense because if his midday solo albums are anything to go by, McCartney has shit taste in music.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 08. I Wanna Be Your Man

08. I Wanna Be Your Man (1964)

Appears on: With the Beatles

How many times can you say “I Wanna Be Your Man” in just under 2 minutes? 21 times, apparently. Which is why it is oh-so-easy to discard this early Lennon/McCartney arrangement as one of the most unimaginative bits of rubbish they ever conceived. That said, in the same train, it does come with an impressive backstory which provides additional bonus points fighting in this song's favour, aND iT g0es a liTTlE S0meThinG LYK DIs:

Have you heard of the band The Rolling Stones? They were pretty famous once upon a time, often considered as The Beatles’ greatest rivals, when in actual fact, they were the happiest of friends, skipping along hand in hand, trading drugs, fucking each other's girlfriends. As legend tells it, back in 1963, them Stones were desperate for a hit single, and upon expressing this predicament to John and Paul, they watched in awe as the Fab Two casually sat in the corner of a room and scribbled down this track within mere seconds. The Beatles selflessly handed it over, the Stones recorded it, and then bang, like magic it hit number 12 on the British charts, Jagger and co.’s highest scoring single up until that point.

The Beatles recorded and released their own cleaner version a few weeks later on their album With the Beatles, sung by none other than Ringo Starr. And as John Lennon so arrogantly described it: “It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it. We weren't going to give them anything great, right?”

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 07. Revolution 9

07. Revolution 9 (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

If there ever was any tangible evidence that Yoko Ono had crawled inside of John Lennon’s ear, rearranged the furniture and set up home, you didn't have to look much further than Revolution 9.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it yet, let me politely caution you that this song isn’t so much “music” as it is an 8+ minute sound collage, featuring looped effects that fade in and out, Lennon screaming his oesophagus dry, and Yoko mumbling to us about getting naked. It is inarguably the most challenging piece of music available in the entire Beatles’ studio catalogue, and certainly the most likely Beatles track you’d skip passed (in that “once is enough” type of way). However, you’ve still got to respect John for pushing the swimming pool as far out as he did here, and when you consider the amount avant garde drivel that we have abundantly available in our modern underground experimental scenes, you can easily appreciate this as something way ahead of its time.

The true genius of this endurance test becomes even more apparent when you imagine being part of the LSD-ridden hippie culture back in ‘68. Picture all the stoner kids, huddled around their record players, listening intently to every word, deciphering the true meaning behind the number 9, playing it backwards, arguing over who understood it more, dismissing the critics as suits who just didn’t get it, maaaan. It’s hilarious.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 06. Piggies

06. Piggies (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

If you briefly glance at Piggies from the corner of one eye, it can deceive you into thinking it was a bit of clever Harrison trickery. After all, on a surface basis, it worked like a charming little nursery rhyme, providing the humour much needed to relieve in the infamously tense sessions of the bloated White Album. Plus, like, who doesn’t love a good pig story?

However, peeling away at this song's shallow skin reveals that this was not the naive pretty ditty that we initially accepted it to be, but rather an anti-authoritarian protest song which nods towards George Orwell’s Animal Farm, so desperately that its head falls off. This floundering hookless attempt at disguising some political message beneath a farmyard anthem is so blatantly obvious, that it feels like we’re watching Harrison wink at himself in the mirror until he gets bored, lazily cutting the song short with pig snorts, and then wandering off to practice his mantra.

It is morbidly curious then, that of all the unlikeliest candidates to inspire brutal murder, Piggies was right up there. For some reason, these words resonated particularly deep with Charles Manson and his family, as they wrote the words "Political Piggy", "Pig" and "Death to Pigs" on their victim's walls using their blood. All the more reason why this ghastly crime against The Beatles should have never existed in the first place.
The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 05. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

05. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

By all sales and chart positioning, this pop ska single from The White Album is way more impressive than a lot of other work The Beatles gave birth to. It hit No. 1 in Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan, all the while the less cynical of us praised this signature example of McCartney’s repulsively carefree view on life. He was unashamedly having a little fun, without taking his role in the most successful band in history all that seriously, which is rather refreshing, and honestly, I quite like the track myself.

Then again, many other listeners did not praise this offering quite so highly. On the contrary, it has been been snubbed as the worst song ever written, according to a poll of 1,000 people organised by Mars, Incorporated. In case you did not pick that up the first time round, we’re not talking about the worst Beatles song here. We’re talking about the worst, song, ever, made.

Interestingly enough, this wasn’t even the most scathing review reported. The worst response on record came from within The Beatles camp itself, as John Lennon was so appalled by the song (which he called "Paul’s granny shit"), that he stormed out of the sessions to smoke copious amounts of marijuana just to calm himself down. That’s not a joke either, he literally did that, look it up.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 04. Dig It

4. Dig It (1969)

Appears on: Let It Be

Phil Spector may have shot Lana Clarkson to death, but you’ve got to applaud the guy, he definitely had the magic touch when it came to production—better than anyone, really. Just take The Beatles’ final album Let It Be, for one pretty fucking massive example. After months of turbulent sessions, the band gave up on this project to wisely focus on the far superior Abbey Road, and promptly dumped hours upon hours of tape on Spector’s desk, as if to say “here, you deal with this”.

Good old murderous Phil did his best, and considering what he had to work with, his best was actually a damn fine job. He managed to salvage a semi-decent album from the half-assed jammy sessions, by dusting off any snippets which sounded like they might be real songs, and then hiding The Beatles deep beneath layers of orchestral arrangements (must to McCartney’s dismay). However, even Spector could not save the eight minute unfinished improvisational clutter of Dig It, and instead plucked out his favourite 51 seconds of the waffle, essentially working as an interlude, the only segment which Phil could justifiably release with a clear conscience.

Perhaps even more embarrassing, is that Dig It is one of the very few songs where each Beatle received a credit equally, potentially because none of them wanted to carry the weight of the blame alone. This sentiment was further solidified when McCartney completely omitted the track from the 2003 alternative mix of this album, titled Let It Be... Naked, a project which removed all of Spector's hard work, leaving behind a much worse product which still made a lot of money, I'm sure.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 03. Don’t Pass Me By

03. Don’t Pass Me By (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

Renowned comedian Bill Hicks once famously quipped that “The Beatles were so high they let Ringo sing a couple of tunes,” which is hilarious because, well, it's true. But wait, if you thought Ringo’s inferior vocal talent was intolerable enough, just wait until you hear him write!

Let’s all imagine the phone call to Jack Fallon, who was the hired gun as this song’s contributing violinist. “Hey Jack, guess what? You’re going to be on a Beatles album! It’s the messiest Beatles album ever made! Oh, and it’s a Ringo song! That’s right, a Ringo song! No, he doesn't just sing on it, he wrote the damn thing! It’s the first composition he’s ever written! Isn't that great?” I can almost feel Fallon’s enthusiasm deflating per every word passing, but then again, the paycheque probably helped him forget any apprehension quite quickly, and also, the dude is on The White Album, I'm talking shit, that's pretty much the best thing that could happen to a musician ever.

Maximum respect to Jack anyway though, as he really fiddles the fuck of this country composition, and he must have done something right, because the song hit No. 1 in Denmark and stayed in their Top 10 for a month. Not to mention, Don’t Pass Me By was also considered somewhat of a golden nugget for conspiracy theorists who believed Paul McCartney had died in a motorcar accident and was replaced with a lookalike. “You were in a car crash, and you lost your hair”. You hear that? Did you actually fucking hear that?? Ringo practically admitted it!

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 02. Only a Northern Song

02. Only a Northern Song (1969)

Appears on: Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

We have to bow to Harrison: when he wrote a terrible song, it was purely intentional. Only a Northern Song was a result of Georgie’s intense frustration with the Beatles’ publishing company, who he felt were unfairly favouring the Lennon-McCartney partnership as if they were the most successful duo of musical geniuses in history or something.

In protest, he wrote this little number, in which he assured us that “you may think the chords are going wrong, but they're not, he just wrote it like that”, and “if you think the harmony is a little dark and out of key, you're correct”. It was a cry for help, comparable to intentionally stabbing your hand in class with scissors for attention, which is definitely not something I ever did.

He offered the track as his contribution to the Sgt Pepper sessions, to which the band politely declined, with producer George Martin later deeming this as his least favourite song of Harrison's ever. However, the meta mess did eventually find a home on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack as one of only four new original songs included, slapped together to merely fulfil contractual obligations. And surprisingly enough, this wasn’t even the worst song on that album...

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 01. Yellow Submarine

01. Yellow Submarine (1966)

Appears on: Revolver/Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

Hands up all of you who are not completely sick of this song! Except you, Ringo, put your hands down.

Revolver may be considered as one of the greatest albums ever recorded (because it is), and this song may also be one of Ringo’s most recognisable vocal achievements (it's that too), but the simplistic childlike charm of Yellow Submarine was such an obviously accessible choice for a single that it’s genuinely embarrassing. Look, I am as happy as anyone that The Beatles found some colourful cartoonesque hallucinations in their newfound adoration for LSD, but when the world is forced to endure the sickeningly sweetness of this pop novelty for over 50 years, we have to start taking a stand! Enough is enough!

The song eventually outgrew even itself, inspiring the animated musical comedy film of the same name, leading to the soundtrack which has been openly belittled as the biggest hiccup from the whole Beatles’ catalogue. But hey... the film itself was fantastic. Silver linings and all that.

Saturday 20 January 2018


Rejoin Tinder. Swipe left on everyone because I realise how emotionally unavailable I am right now. I see my future unfold with each of them as their pictures glide by, the best photos they have, specifically chosen to represent their personality in some visual manner. How quickly it would take for those eyebrows to repulse me. Look at how that one’s smile creases her face all wrong. Another unrecognisable human form hiding beneath a bunny Snapchat filter. A group photo, meaning I don’t know which one you are, so I assume you’re the ugly friend. I land on a girl who looks perfect, just the type of lady who would make my ex jealous, and my thumb hesitates, hovering, waiting for further instructions from my brain. My brain responds, explaining that a girl like this would never match with a guy like myself, because she is beautiful, and my profile picture is of me wearing a tutu, the best photo I have, specifically chosen to represent my personality in some visual manner. It’s better we don’t match anyway. I would have to Google the Top 10 Best Tinder Openers again, because God only knows how the game has changed over the last year. And truth be told, even if I had the perfect line, the bulletproof phrase which would initiate a response punctuated by the ideal emoji (probably the purple devil, although I am a big fan of the comedic grimace myself), I would never use it. Because I don’t know this person nor do I want to know this person. Because people smell real bad if you don’t wash them after a while and everyone is only waiting for their turn to talk about themselves. So I swipe left again, and this next girl is way too skinny for me, which I prefer, because at least I don’t have to contemplate my next move.