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Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles
September 8, 2009 7:38 PM   Subscribe

"Like most people, I was initially confused by EMI’s decision to release remastered versions of all 13 albums by the Liverpool pop group Beatles, a 1960s band so obscure that their music is not even available on iTunes." -- Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey (82 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, there are moments when this comes so close to being funny.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:51 PM on September 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


Genius! Dry, obvious genius!
posted by pkingdesign at 7:53 PM on September 8, 2009


Har, har....
posted by photoslob at 7:54 PM on September 8, 2009


I've liked a lot of Chuck Klosterman's writing. Sadly, this article is not among said writing.
posted by axiom at 7:54 PM on September 8, 2009


I liked this piss-take on Abbey Road:

The opener sucks (seems as crappy as mid-period Aerosmith), but Mr. Harrison follows with a wedding song that effortlessly proves why people who try to quantify visceral emotion should just stop trying.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:57 PM on September 8, 2009


Your favorite band.... hey, wait a minute!
posted by The White Hat at 7:57 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a fairly random note, I came across a pretty amusing piece of nostalgia a couple days ago. Back in the 90s Cartoon Network ran a hyperactive superhero series called The Powerpuff Girls, which was mainly harmless action/adventure/comedy fluff. But one episode, "Meet the Beat-Alls", was absolutely chock-full of Beatles references and visual gags, and recounted the entire history of the band in about 15 minutes of animated allegory.

Here's the first part on YouTube
Here's part 2

And here's the same episode (well, most of it) with all the actual lyrics spliced into the video and with the visual jokes marked with on-screen annotations
posted by Rhaomi at 8:01 PM on September 8, 2009 [36 favorites]


You have a problem with mid-period Aerosmith, punk?
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:02 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


It’s akin to a combination of [...] Oasis [...] and everyother rock band that’s ever existed.

Ha! That's doubly funny.
posted by djgh at 8:04 PM on September 8, 2009


I thought this was completely hilarious. Thanks for sharing!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:05 PM on September 8, 2009


“Well, she was just 17 / If you know what I mean.” If this is supposed to indicate that the female in question was born in 1946, then yes, we know exactly what you mean, Paul.

I've never really put this in that context before, but I believe my mother-in-law was born in 1946, and while I'm pretty sure she's not who Paul was singing about, that's kind of disturbing for some reason.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:10 PM on September 8, 2009


Even the most casual consumers will be overwhelmed by the level of invention and the degree of change displayed over their scant eight-year recording career, a span complicated by McCartney’s tragic 1966 death and the 1968 addition of Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono, a woman so beloved by the band that they requested her physical presence in the studio during the making of Let It Be.

If someone remastered that sentence and released it on CD, I'd consider buying it, even if I already owned a previous version of it.
posted by chrchr at 8:13 PM on September 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


I've liked a lot of Chuck Klosterman's writing. Sadly, this article is not among said writing.

Exact opposite reaction here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:18 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've never really put this in that context before, but I believe my mother-in-law was born in 1946, and while I'm pretty sure she's not who Paul was singing about, that's kind of disturbing for some reason.

I know for a fact that my mom was born in 1946. Thanks, Chuck, now I can't ever listen to that song again.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:20 PM on September 8, 2009


I guess I could slag on this, but (even as a Beatles fan) I kind of prefer this approach to the overawed adulation displayed by Joel Selvin in his article on the same topic. ("Over the years, these records have been embedded so deeply into our consciousness that even minor alterations in the relative sound values can be jarring. Did the rooster crowing in 'Good Morning' always sound so intrusive?")
posted by blucevalo at 8:20 PM on September 8, 2009


You have a problem with mid-period Aerosmith, punk?

Calling it now, mid-period Aerosmith is the new Creedence. I carefully await the Coen Brothers' or Wes Anderson if we're lucky's appropriation of "The Reason A Dog" or "Three Mile Smile" in a paranoid crime caper. I also want a word as deft as "chooglin'" to describe the act of listening to mid-period Aerosmith, perhaps "Dufaying"? "Predesmond"?
posted by neustile at 8:21 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love this. The only Beatles' article I've ever liked.
posted by kathrineg at 8:23 PM on September 8, 2009


That was very amusing.
posted by ob at 8:30 PM on September 8, 2009


Excellent. I will have to check out these plucky lads from Liverpool.
posted by yhbc at 8:30 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


You have a problem with mid-period Aerosmith, punk?

yes, yes I do. Steven Tyler is whiny enough without a dripping vagina.
posted by mannequito at 8:35 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


That there is medical-grade snark.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:37 PM on September 8, 2009


*blowing my mind out*
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 8:43 PM on September 8, 2009


Now hitting on all 16 cylinders, the Beatles bolted back to the woodshed for The Beatles, a blandly designed masterwork that could inspire any reasonable citizen of California to launch a race war.

ouch.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:48 PM on September 8, 2009


Describing Sgt Peppers as "a concept album about finding a halfway decent song for Ringo" nearly made me wet myself laughing.
posted by hippybear at 8:53 PM on September 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


This makes me think Chuck Kloserman is a bigger douche than before.

Didn't think that was possible.
posted by bardic at 9:03 PM on September 8, 2009


I'm with Chuckles. I'll take Magical Mystery Tour over Sgt. Pepper's every day of the week.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:15 PM on September 8, 2009


After reading this it seems like a perfectly logical reaction to being asked to review a set of 40 year-old CDs recorded by one of the most popular bands on the planet. I mean, are you going to play this one straight? Hell no. I mean, damn, how dull would a sincere review of this set be? What the hell are you going to say that's any mor epithy and insightful than anyone else in the last four decades?
posted by GuyZero at 9:23 PM on September 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


"Ringo was actually quite a good drummer, Paul was a better lyric writer than he was given credit for, John Lennon was barely a band-member, and George Harrison was the best songwriter of the group, and one of the best of the 20th century."
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can anyone explain to me the the joke about Paul's car accident in 1966? It's going completely over my head.
posted by clorox at 9:40 PM on September 8, 2009


Here you go, clorox.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:40 PM on September 8, 2009


I enjoyed this quite a bit, actually.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:43 PM on September 8, 2009


The AV Club is so in love with itself, sometimes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 PM on September 8, 2009


What is that quote from, Astro Zombie?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:48 PM on September 8, 2009


Hey, Dr. Ebbetts retires on these remasters! They are beautifully redone and you can definitely tell the difference. If you have a soft ear and it is not readily apparently, take the original release of Dear Prudence and listen to the bass line, probably the clearest example I've found yet and have been using it as my go-to when people look at me like I'm selling them on the value of Monster Cables.

I will note, not to detract from this, but if you want to see what's wrong with the record industry look no further than stereo and mono releases in two separate box sets bringing the total to somewhere around $500. If you're going to do a definitive boxset, at least throw in the vinyl.
posted by geoff. at 9:52 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh and a couple days ago I found this amazing studio jam between Billy Preston and John Lennon singing I Want You (She's So Heavy) ... simply amazing!
posted by geoff. at 9:53 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm more confused by EMI’s decision to block release of Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse's Dark Night of the Soul.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:54 PM on September 8, 2009


This is, I think, my favorite bit of Klosterania.

But then, watching Help! the other night, I realized that I prefer the Beatles as film stars to pop stars.
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I fucking love The Kinks.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:05 PM on September 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


And so begins the urban legend that, in two generations time, will end up conflating the Beatles with Hitler, thus misleading our future historians to believe that seven million screaming teenaged German girls were hotboxed by The Beatles, who were following the orders of Adolph Epstein, their facist manager and pimp.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Phhhhhfffffffrrrrrrb. I still prefer The Fad 3.
posted by dhammond at 10:50 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Lovely Rita” totally nails the experience of almost having sex with a city employee

As noted above, spoof was the only way to approach this review, just as "The Rutles" is probably the best documentary about the prefab four.
posted by maxwelton at 10:55 PM on September 8, 2009


Paul McCartney didn't die in a car accident: he went on to found Wings!
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:00 PM on September 8, 2009


Paul McCartney didn't die in a car accident: he went on to found Wings!

Wings? What else would an angel call his band?
posted by Sparx at 11:41 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


In defense of Wings, the first two parts of Band on the Run totally kick ass. I think the third part, the "band on the run part," sucks big time though. Despite years of effort, I have as yet been unable to successfully convince any college radio station DJ to play just the first two parts of that song, but I will not be giving up any time soon.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:45 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


If only he had died in a car accident.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:47 PM on September 8, 2009


...I believe my mother-in-law was born in 1946, and while I'm pretty sure she's not who Paul was singing about, that's kind of disturbing for some reason.

Y'all gotta get over the *literalness*, people. She's the eternal 17-year-old. She's poetry made flesh, flesh made poetic. She's the vision of blossoming youth, the promise of spring and of earthly carnal delight. She is sexual awakening. She is most certainly NOT your mother-in-law!

"Ringo was actually quite a good drummer..."

The fact that whoever wrote this feels the need to even include "actually" is merely testament to the fact that some folks wouldn't know a great drummer if he stepped right up and did paraddiddles on their face while simultaneously kicking them in the butt, in excellent time and with impeccable feel.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:51 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


...if you want to see what's wrong with the record industry look no further than stereo and mono releases in two separate box sets bringing the total to somewhere around $500.

How about a ridiculous 10,000 piece initial run of the mono boxes, guaranteed to sell out in pre-orders and irritate/disappoint tons of anxious fans? Not that I expect any less from EMI/Capitol, who have mishandled the Beatle legacy since seemingly moments after the rooftop concert, but this really has a "SEE WE TOLD YOU THE INDUSTRY WAS OK LOOKIT ALL THIS SCRAMBLING WHEEEEEEE!" feel to it and it's gross.

That said, I still can't freaking wait to pick up my mono box later today.

(Also, the US "Magical Mystery Tour" LP is a fantastic listen. Good call, CK.)
posted by mintcake! at 12:01 AM on September 9, 2009


flapjax, people who pull that Ringo crap here at Mintcake Towers usually spend an afternoon with the Strawberry Fields session tapes followed by a few go-rounds of Flying. Shuts 'em right up.
posted by mintcake! at 12:07 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have as yet been unable to successfully convince any college radio station DJ to play just the first two parts of that song, but I will not be giving up any time soon.

If I was still doing it, I'd be happy to oblige ... but you'd have to let me play the big fat brass section break (or whatever the hell it is) that kicks off the third part.

bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-BUM!-BUM!-BUM!
(repeated twice)

Then I'd hit the power switch on the turntable (has to be vinyl) and let the rest of the song die a quick death - - maybe cross-fade into Yer Blues or something.
posted by philip-random at 12:15 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I still can't freaking wait to pick up my mono box later today.

Amazon.com delivered ours this afternoon. My wife and I have been listening in utter delight. The White Album in mono is a revelation. It sounds SO FREAKING GOOD. The vocals are incredible. Some sound so different as to almost seem like different takes. The thing sounds so live. All sorts of detail comes through in an utterly different way, and we're talking about material that I know inside and out, that I've been listening to all my life. Stunning.

Right now John's Yer Blues is giving me chillbumps. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Oh, and the drums sound SOOOO much better.

I'm heading over to the mono box FPP I made the other day, to reprint this comment...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:10 AM on September 9, 2009


"Paul McCartney didn't die in a car accident: he went on to found Wings!"

For some reason, I read that as:

"Paul McCartney didn't just die in a car accident: he went on to found Wings!"

To me, that somehow makes more sense.
posted by potch at 2:18 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I said that, solipsophistocracy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:24 AM on September 9, 2009


YOU said that, Astro? So, come clean, man, did you say "actually" cause after proper consideration you'd changed some earlier opinion of your own, and come to the conclusion that Ringo is a good drummer? Or was that "actually" for those folks out there who are always repeating the received wisdom that Ringo is not a good drummer?

Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:32 AM on September 9, 2009


Chuck Klosterman + Beatles = Awesome.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:57 AM on September 9, 2009


That was pretty funny and a probably the only interesting way that you could write a review of a set of music that everyone on the planet has heard a thousand times.

Rumpole, your mother-in-law was totally hot in 1964.
posted by octothorpe at 6:39 AM on September 9, 2009


What the hell are you going to say that's any more pithy and insightful than anyone else in the last four decades?

Anything's possible.
posted by rory at 6:40 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, I just misuse the term actually, actually.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:15 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know people love/hate this Closterman character - this is my first dabbling in his style. Gotta say it's pretty goddamn funny. Loving the Peter Criss nod!
posted by electricsandwich138 at 7:28 AM on September 9, 2009


I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for sharing!
posted by ericbop at 7:35 AM on September 9, 2009


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking album no one actually likes.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. It's funny 'cause it's true.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:38 AM on September 9, 2009


Klosterman's at his best making jokes. When he tries to have sincere opinions he usually gets it wildly wrong. But even then he's entertaining. Like PJ O'Rourke with Iron Maiden instead of Reagan clouding all his judgments.

In other news, when did the AV Club get so much fantastic online content? It's like the anti-pitchfork these days--Informative, funny, straight-forward, tasteful and diverse. Kudos to youdos Onion!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:46 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cranberry sauce... cranberry sauce...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:16 AM on September 9, 2009


Things get more interesting on With The Beatles, particularly for audiences who feel the hi-hat should be the dominant musical instrument on all musical recordings

Coffee-geyser-through-the-nose material, there.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:24 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ringo is the greatest drummer ever in the history of the Beatles.
The Beatles are the greatest band ever in the history of everything.
Jaki Liebezeit's a better drummer than Ringo.

Hmmm?
posted by philip-random at 8:30 AM on September 9, 2009


Pete Best is widely acknowledged to have been a better technical drummer than Ringo, but didn't have Richard Starkey's winning personality.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:40 AM on September 9, 2009


The Globe and Mail on the Stereo vs. Mono box sets. Of course, the Mono box set is already sold out as far as I can tell. Son of a bitch.
posted by chunking express at 8:51 AM on September 9, 2009


Pete Best is widely acknowledged to have been a better technical drummer than Ringo...

By whom? Mickey Dolenz?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:08 AM on September 9, 2009


Pitchfork also compares the Mono and Stereo Box sets, and looks at whether engineers went overboard with compression and other stupidness that dominates today.
posted by chunking express at 9:23 AM on September 9, 2009


Mono v Stereo:

I put my Beatles mp3 collection together the "old-fashioned" way by recording my original vinyl records with GOLDWAVE, which has a nice feature that allows you to sum two stereo tracks to mono (as simple as a couple of mouse-clicks). This allowed me to choose track-by-track which ones works best in stereo, and which in mono ... and in one or two cases (I Am The Walrus comes to mind), to actually bounce from one to the other throughout the cut. Now that was a Sunday afternoon well-wasted.
posted by philip-random at 9:31 AM on September 9, 2009


By whom? Mickey Dolenz?

Hm, I had thought it was the Beatles themselves, but, reading more, it sounds like they were actually jealous of Best's popularity in the band, and that he wasn't much of a team player. Paul McCartney denies they fired Best because they were jealous of how handsome he was, saying that they were impressed by Ringo's drumming.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:56 AM on September 9, 2009


further to philip-random's comments...

I realize that the mono and stereo remasters have been done at different sessions, so the balance and other choices are bound to differ... but for those who find the setero remix of the earlier stuff to be to 'separated' and jarring, I wonder if they've tried listing to the same tracks by converting them to mono, either with an app like GoldWave, or simply by hitting that MONO button that some amplifiers still have?

I own some Beatles on vinyl, and a few CDs, but I suspect I may fork out for the stereo boxed set, after the reassurance on Pitchfork that the dynamics haven't been wrung out of them.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:06 AM on September 9, 2009


Single-channel reduction of a stereo source != mono engineering of a track.
posted by hippybear at 10:21 AM on September 9, 2009


As both articles I linked to point out, the mono mixes aren't simply the stereo channels flattened. (For starters, they mixed the mono tracks first, and did the stereo tracks second.) It'll be a shame if the mono box set is some sort of weird collectors item.
posted by chunking express at 11:16 AM on September 9, 2009


As both articles I linked to point out, the mono mixes aren't simply the stereo channels flattened. (For starters, they mixed the mono tracks first, and did the stereo tracks second.)

This is true and I meant to point this out in my original comment. I would certainly hope that these new OLD mono mixes are a level or two (or nine) beyond my rough home-made versions. And yet, I'll take my home-made mono version of a song like "Nowhere Man" over the stereo version that we've had to suffer with over the past 4.5 decades any day.
posted by philip-random at 11:46 AM on September 9, 2009


Another review of the box sets.
posted by chunking express at 12:14 PM on September 9, 2009


Chuck: vaguely amusing, but he's no Lester Bangs.
posted by ovvl at 5:15 PM on September 9, 2009


> Single-channel reduction of a stereo source != mono engineering of a track.

No shit. Kind of no point in a separate mono reissue then, otherwise.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:52 PM on September 9, 2009


In other news, when did the AV Club get so much fantastic online content? It's like the anti-pitchfork these days--Informative, funny, straight-forward, tasteful and diverse. Kudos to youdos Onion!

Just don't read the comments below the articles. Actually, that could apply to a lot of sites.
posted by kersplunk at 10:36 PM on September 9, 2009


Really? I think the AVClub commenters are hilarious. The comment quality is as high as metafilter for the most part; it's just they're focused on being funny.
posted by jcruelty at 9:03 AM on September 10, 2009


So Klosterman basically ripped off Something Awful's "TruthMedia Reviews" concept, huh? Good for him, I guess.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:10 PM on September 23, 2009


Yes, I'm sure that the concept is SA's whole invention. Lord knows, no one ever thought of it before the internets existed.

[rolls eyes]
posted by five fresh fish at 4:36 PM on September 23, 2009


Yeah, but he pretty much apes the tone, too, not just the concept. Thanks for the sarcasm, though. I really enjoyed it!
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:46 PM on September 23, 2009


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