Friday, February 8, 2008

As to pop that never loses its fizzzzzzzzz

When I was in high school many of my friends were musicians, or wanted to be musicians, or just very much liked being close to musicians. A certain snobbery was natural. There were things you could not listen to. Pop radio was of course a no-no. Classic rock was our car windows open, flying down paved roads north of Toronto, anthemic joy. Zeppelin, Floyd, Black Sabbath. And, of course, the Beatles.

Snobbery had it that even within the Beatles grand oeuvre (speaking of snobbery) there were dos and don'ts. White Album, Abbey Road: good. Early Beatles: bad. Revolver: cool. Compilation cds (red and blue albums): uncool. Strict rules.

We all liked the "creative" Beatles, the older Beatles. The druggie, trippie, Beatles. The early stuff we called too "poppy", as if pop were a bad word. The early stuff was too simple. It was beneath us.

If you'd asked 17 year old me my all-time favourite band it was without hesitation Pink Floyd. Favourite Beatles album: Abbey Road. Today I almost never listen to Floyd. And Beatles:

It's a Saturday morning in January. I work Saturdays at an international school. I've worked there two years and still I haven't been able to get over the fact that it's a Saturday and that I should not be working (The Sabbath and all. I'm kidding.). My wife is driving. I'm shotgun, tired, mute, not overly enthusiastic about going to work. But this morning my wife plugs her ipod into the stereo, usurping the fascist regime that is me when it comes to car stereo (though I often try and give her choice. I do!). She puts on "All My Loving". Instantly the two of us are singing, genki, great. Best mood. Killer song. I nearly hopped out the car to go to work I felt so energized, uplifted, inspired. I said to Ai something like, "how fucking good is that song?!"

So I ask you, what was it, is it, that makes these so-called simple songs stand the test of time the way they do? A favourite question of mine, because of course it's the Red album that gets me most now. That compilation Cd of the earlier stuff. Because really, when was the last time you listened to Sgt. Pepper's?

Still to come: A SUNDAY IN JAPAN - as to why Japanese don't beat each other up after drinking, and one possible reason why they live longer than anyone else on earth

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