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10 Songs: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

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1 – Cry Baby Cry – The Beatles – Lennon takes the peculiarity of Lewis Carroll (he seems to have written an ode to the Duchess’ baby in “Wonderland”) and adds it to a sinking sense of dread, while the parents tease the children and a class cruelty covers the hateful upper class English to the manor born . McCartney adds a snippet of a song I wish we’d heard more from. There has never been a song like it – A+

2 –  All I Got To Do – The Beatles – This has a similarity to “Cry Baby Cry” -they share a sense of dread. Lennon is too unhinged on the chorus, why is he so riled, why so insistent? Lennon adds a level of self doubt that goes to the heart of his artistry. It is, simply, genius – A+

3 – Dig A Pony – The Beatles – Live on the roof, Lennon’s best song of romantic devotion uses metaphors, “I wrote a story where you can imitate everyone you know…” to enhance the chorus, “all I want is you…”. He also owes the entire band a huge debt here, especially McCartney who couldn’t sing harmony better. “You can syndicate any boats you row”? He told you so – A+

4 – Good Morning Good Morning – The Beatles – The second best song on Sgt Peppers, or is it the first best? It always worked for me as a Lennon epitaph while “A Day In The Life” didn’t, because it has the dislocation of strangeness in the new, while “A Day In The Life” is a self centered show me masterpiece that saves the album but not the co-writer – A+

5 – Tell Me Why – The Beatles – I love Lennon like this, the keening vocal chorus, and a sentiment “If it’s something that I’ve said or done, tell me what I’ll apologize” is perfect, “All I do is hang my head and moan” is the blueprint for Elvis Costello’s first four albums – A-

6 – You Can’t Do That – The Beatles – Possibly Lennon’s greatest achievement, it is like whoever he is or was, the loss of his mom, his relationship with Cynthia, and Paul, and Aunt Mimi, boils right over the top with a scream midway. This is John the wifebeater, but also John the little boy lost – A+

7 – Money – The Beatles – If you don’t think this is a Lennon masterpiece, go back to the original. “I wanna be free” defines not just the  Beatles, but rock and roll as an aesthetic choice,a cultural referendum, and a way of life – A+

8 – Anna (Go To Him) – The Beatles – The Arthur Alexander heartacher is saved for us by Lennon’s deeply felt vocal – A

9 – I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party – If you wanna have a fun day, learn that opening lick. It is a blast to play – A-

10 – Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles – The most selfish song imaginable, nothing is enough to save Lennon from his insecurities – A

 

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