Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pop Culture Homework - Sgt Pepper's

Since I gave Michele an 'assignment' (look here for an explanation) I insisted that she give me one as well. Since Michele is an uber Beatles fan (such as myself) she suggested that I listen to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with headphones and without any distractions. Just sit and listen. I can't tell you how unbelievably hard it is for me to just sit and listen to music, it's always on in the background and I have to constantly be doing something. In fact I put it on and ended up working on some stuff. When a A Day in the Life came on, my favorite song, I stopped I felt really guilty that I hadn't done the 'assignment' properly. (Fail # 1)

I dropped everything I was doing and went to give it another go, and this time as Michele had intended!  I figured that I would even go one step further and listen to in on vinyl. I grabbed it from the record collection then noticed that Tim's turntable is still not set up. (Fail #2)

I looked outside and noticed that it was really beautiful out, so I grabbed my iPod and went outside to listen. Success!

As a child growing up I was in my own little world. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, the Beatles became the soundtrack to that world. My Dad was a big fan and always played it around us. Years later he said he always secretly planned for us to become Beatle fans (he's a weird guy like that). For me it clicked after seeing the Beatles Anthology documentary on TV. It began a long love affair with not only the Beatles but with music.

So I hit play while lounging in the backyard. The crowd gathered and the band began to play. One major thing I noticed on the title track, was that when four lads began singing, they sounded slightly different than their previous albums. For example Paul McCartney sounded like he was trying to be more raspy as apposed to his more sweet melodic voice. The concept of the album was to create a fictitious band and they took on alter egos not just the psychedelic marching band outfits they sported in the album art but was apparent in the music right down to the slightest detail. At least thats how it is in the first few songs as well as the Sgt. Peppers reprise towards the end of the album. In between is a nice chunk of Beatle songs that were so dramatically different than anything they had put out before on topics ranging from teen runaways, how life will be at age 64 and a trapeze artist known as Mr. Kite.

As I mentioned earlier, A Day in the Life is my favorite song. I'm not sure why I always identified with it. Has a kid listening to it really had no grasp on the concepts John Lennon was singing about. As an adult I look at it in an entirely new way. One thing I found very striking in it was the contrast between John Lennon's part and Paul McCartney's, which comes out of no where. I almost felt like he was interrupting the song. Luckily it transitions back and builds up to a great big end with the strike of the piano. An ending that it so epic I always felt it in my heart.

For a while I had been meaning to rediscover the Beatles and I am glad this pop-culture homework gave me an excuse to. If you have never listened to Sgt. Pepper's in its entirety I highly recommend it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...