Slacktory

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sucks

Reprinted with permission from Aaron Nevins on Tumblr.

As a culture, we’ve all been inundated with buzz about The Beatles. They’re probably one of the most hyped bands since The Head and the Heart, and more power to ‘em. Clearly the dude handling their web presence is doing a bang-up job. I like to consider myself immune to these taste-making music blogs, but I finally gave in and gave the so-called “best fuckin band ever” (— Shitcakes2433, YouTube.com) a listen, and I was appalled at what I heard.

The Beatles are a band that shamelessly rips off everyone from Arcade Fire to Animal Collective to Sufjan Stevens to Vampire Weekend, and anyone in between who received higher than a 7.4 rating on Pitchfork. And believe me, the result is less than the sum of its parts.

Right from the distorted opening riffs of the title track, I groaned. “Oh, just what we need: another garage rock clone. Did Ty Segall release a fifth album this year?” Add orchestral flourishes and a hokey concept-band aesthetic and suddenly the song starts to sound more like a Polyphonic Spree B-side. Make that C-side.

Track one flows seamlessly into track two. (Yawn. Didn’t this old trick stop being cool when Red Hot Chili Peppers did it on BloodSugarSexMagik?) “With a Little Help From My Friends” sounds like a half-assed attempt at one of those upbeat Wilco numbers, but stripped of all emotion whatsoever. The lead vocals on this song are apparently handled by the drummer of the band, and an engaging frontman he does not make. Hey, they can’t all be Dave Grohl.

We move on to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a psychedelia throwback that sounds like it was written by your dad’s lame friend who tried pot once in college. It’s like, did these guys learn everything they know about trippy, drug-inspired imagery from the Harold & Kumar movies?

“She’s Leaving Home” attempts a cheesy back-and-forth role-playing effect. Think Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home,” except no ad exec in their right mind would ever use this song to sell jeans.

“Getting Better” comes and goes like an Oasis filler track from when Noel and Liam were too mad at each other to write good music. “Fixing a Hole” sounds like a bad Grizzly Bear knockoff, only with 100% more unnecessary harpsichord.

By the time we get around to “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite”, it has become clear that these Beatles are aspiring genre-hoppers, with “aspiring” being the operative word. Let’s just say they’re closer to Ween than to Yo La Tengo, but at least Ween know they’re being dumb.

I’m going to be honest, I dozed off for the next four tracks. Okay, that’s a lie. The truth is that I wish more than anything that I had slept through what turned out to be the least memorable collection of four songs since the last Broken Bells EP.

The penultimate track is called “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”, and at this point The Beatles come full circle and rip off a song from EARLIER ON THIS VERY SAME ALBUM. Unbelievable!

The album closer is a little ditty called “A Day in the Life,” a song that literally sounds like it was written by looking at the front page of a newspaper from 1967. Congratulations guys, you’re the Mort Sahl of songwriting. This one doesn’t even get an E for effort. And come on, people: Let’s get over the ’60s already. If you’re gonna rip your lyrics from the headlines, at least pick headlines from an era that’s actually interesting. Like 2009.

Originally published at AaronNevins.tumblr.com.

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