Top Five Favorite Beatles Albums

This is a ranked list, meaning each album I mention, I liked better than the previous album on the list. Or, in the case of the first album on the list, I liked it better than all the other Beatles albums that do not appear on the list. Speaking of the first album on the list,

#5. The Beatles (The White Album) (1968). This is a weird one. But taken as a whole, it’s a goddamn experience, and I love it. A couple non sequiturs, but mostly really good Beatles music. This came out after the excesses of 1967, and in many ways it was a counterpoint to Sgt. Pepper’s. The production was a little more subdued on the White Album, and it’s a nice contrast.

#4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Balls to the wall psychedelia. This was the album where they really stepped out into it. Or maybe not stepped. More like a jump. The kind of jump where you land stomping on both feet. Preferably in some kind of puddle. In the case of Sgt. Pepper’s, the puddle was a puddle of cultural inevitability. So how’s come it’s only #4? Well, I’ll tell you.

#3. Revolver (1966). Revolver is a dynamite album. They were taking their first forays into psychedelia and hard-core experimentation that was the hallmark of Sgt. Pepper’s. I’m guessing (this is pure speculation on my part) that Revolver was the first album after they got turned on to LSD. I know the song “Doctor Robert” is about a guy who sold LSD, so they were definitely doing it when this album was being written and recorded. I guess the timing doesn’t really matter.

#2. Abbey Road (1969). Abbey Road is the best Beatles album. It is the crowning jewel of their catalog. So why is it only #2? Because this is a favorites list, not a qualitative list.

Honorable Mention. Rubber Soul (1965). Wanted to stick this in here before I reveal the #1. This was the first album after the Fab Four were turned on to weed. As such, it serves as a bridge between the two phases of the Beatles. The first phase was the poppy stuff (but still good), and the second phase, which commenced with Rubber Soul, was the good stuff (but still poppy).

And finally,

#1. Magical Mystery Tour (1967). But that’s not a real album, I hear you saying. Maybe not. But it has the most iconic songs in their catalog. Let’s list a few of the heavy hitters that appear on this album. “I Am the Walrus”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane”, “All You Need Is Love”. Those are the Beatles songs, man. They fill it out with the likes of “Flying”, “Blue Jay Way”, “The Fool on the Hill”, “Hello, Goodbye”, “Magical Mystery Tour”. Are you fucking kidding me? This album is astonishing! I also like that they put out Sgt. Pepper’s, and then they did Magical Mystery Tour which is in every way a continuation and a culmination of that earlier project.

I love it when bands do this. U2 is another example. They came out with Joshua Tree, and everybody flipped their shit. So they came out with Rattle and Hum, which is my favorite U2 album, and which is a continuation and culmination of Joshua Tree. Along with some live tracks which are greatly appreciated. Man, I like Rattle and Hum.

But we’re not talking about U2 here. We’re talking about the Beatles, which is a different thing, though the two are not entirely dissimilar. So that’s my top five ranked list of Beatles albums. How about that.

Top Five F-bombs in Popular Music

Let’s be clear: there are a lot of F-bombs in popular music. But not so many that they become meaningless. Just so there’s no confusion, an F-bomb is a use of the word “fuck”. I’m not a subject matter expert by any means, but I do love a good F-bomb. Here are my five favorites (that I’ve encountered thus far).

There is also an honorable mention, a song that came so close to making the list that I felt it should be included for reference purposes. It’s not in the top five, but it’s sooo close, and it’s a classic.

Incidentally, I’ve listened through all these clips to make sure that the F-bombs aren’t censored. In some cases, I had to hunt around a bit to find an unsullied presentation.

“Cover Me” by Candlebox

“One Night In Copenhagen” by the Tragically Hip

“Nugget” by Cake

“Kitty” by the Presidents of the United States of America

“N.F.A.” by the Special Goodness

Honorable mention: “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

Top 5 Snare Hit Songs

A well-recorded snare hit is a special thing. Cha! It’s dramatic and exciting. I love a good snare hit. I always pay attention to the snare drum in any song I hear. Is it well-recorded? What kind of shit did they do to the sound during production? Does it pop out of the mix enough, but not too much? What kind of statement does the artist’s choices for the snare drum make? That was a terrible sentence. I know I can do better than that. I’m really tired right now, is all. It’s like 1:17am. Anyway, the choices you make for instrumentation and recording obviously have an impact on the overall piece. Each choice made in production is a statement, right? So what kind of statement does the snare make? Hm. I don’t know that my second attempt was much better. I’ll leave it.

I like snare hits that are big but not too big. I like distinctive snare sounds you don’t hear everywhere, but they don’t always have to be distinctive. I like when it’s got some complexity, but it doesn’t always have to be a complex sound. Enough yapping. Here are my top five snare hit songs.

“It’s All Understood” by Jack Johnson

“Magical Mystery Tour” by the Beatles

“Low” by Cracker

“Heart and Soul” by T’Pau

“Bubble Toes” by Jack Johnson

Top Five Uses of the Harmonica

I’m doing a Top Five harmonica solos list. I’ve got six candidates. I’m sitting there for minutes trying to decide what to strip, and then it hit me: this isn’t any fucking fun at all. That might be it for my Top Five series. It had one post. Top Five songs about cats. That was a case where I sat down and made a list of the first five “good enough” songs about cats that I could come up with off the top of my head. So I was building a list, rather than stripping one down. I’ve been working on this harmonica solos list for at least a month now. (I mean, not constantly. Here and there.) But that’s exactly the wrong approach, it seems. The problem creeped in when I Googled it yesterday, or whenever it was. Gave me too many candidates. If I can just strip out the one I found on Google, that gives me five. A list which is my top five. Not Google’s. I’m not saying these are the five best. I’m saying these are the first five that come to mind. Maybe I should change the category to First Five? Nah, Top Five sounds better. Besides, in a very real way, the first five are the top five.

So here they are.

What Would You Say – Dave Matthews Band –
Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness) – Donovan –
Bring It On Home – Led Zeppelin –
Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Led Zeppelin –
Times Of Trouble – Temple Of The Dog –

Top Five Songs About Cats

Top five songs about cats.

“My Cat’s Name is Maceo” by Jane’s Addiction.
“Cleopatra’s Cat” by Spin Doctors.
“Stray Cat Strut” by Stray Cats.
“Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat” from Disney’s The Aristocats.
“Kitty” by The Presidents of the United States of America.

Thoughts? What are your favorite songs about cats?