Friday, February 25, 2011

Lady Madonna

Richard Furnstein: This is a charming shuffle that has Paul squeezing as much soul as possible out of his frail vegetarian body. "Lady Madonna" was an important sign post for the Fabs. The psychedelic trail slowly vanished, leaving our heroes in a rustic farmyard. "Back to basics," their psyches exclaimed. They stay close to the spirit of the unwashed hipness from America here, all piano and two tracks of critical Ringo drumming. The only remaining vestige of their journey into the lysergic abyss is the muffled mouth horn instrumental break. Outside of this cutesy studio trickery, it's all about (T)he Band playing together.

Robert Bunter: Yeah, the Beatles were really something! I mean, dig: they've scaled the absolute peaks of heavy artistic achievement, completely re-defining the way the rest of us mortals think about songs, albums, bands, music, art, human endeavors in general, the universe, and God. What's next? How about this: a percolating, sassy boogie, served up steaming hot on a plate of tight, greasy funk with a side of arch social commentary on single motherhood and contemporary sexual mores. Then, they throw in a touch of the gorgeous George/John/Paul vocal harmony magic (processed through some nice plate reverb by studio ace George Martin) on "See how they run" -- just to make sure none of us forget that we were dealing with the best four men who ever lived. They were four men who I like to call: The Beatles.

Richard Furnstein: Simple and clean, a fresh start. "We'll pass on the windowpane segments, love, just pass the merry spliff." No wonder noted pothead Brett Butler insisted on using "Madonna" as the theme to her show about starting her life over after divorce. Brett, much like the Beatles, had separated from a destructive path and faced renewal and domestic bliss. It wouldn't last for either (Beatles started to hate each other and Brett was fired from her own show due in part to her weed addiction*), but I'll be damned if it wasn't gritty and glorious there for a bit.


*First, "weed addiction." Second, what was the deal with ABC building sitcoms (GUF, Roseanne, Home Improvement) around addict comics in the early 1990s? This may warrant its own blog one day.

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