Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Come Together

Robert Bunter: As I’ve said before, John Winston Ono Lennon was a terrifying nightmare of a man. So, naturally, he knocks it out of the park as Abbey Road’s leadoff hitter with this creepy groove-a-thon. We’re listening to an album that is eventually going to scale the heights of universal consciousness, human unity and cosmic equations between the love we take and the love we make, but the Beatles wisely chose to open it in the dank, steamy undergrowth of a funky hairy swampbog. “Come Together” sounds exactly like the Timothy Leary for governor of California campaign slogan that it started out as, but John’s menacing wordplay and ominous junkie strut belie such paisley sentiments.

Richard Furnstein: John gave us a lot of nightmare soundtrack pop. "Come Together" may take the creepy cake. He introduces a parade of jokers, cripples, disfigured mutants, and drug buddies in this song. "Hold you in his armchair, you can feel his disease." Thanks for the bad dreams, John!

Robert Bunter: On other contemporary Lennon scary music, the other Beatles (especially Paul) kept themselves at arm’s length. I guess they felt funny about letting weird trips like "Revolution 9" and "What’s The New Mary Jane" onto their family-friendly wax. But this time, they’re all right there with him. Everybody is providing full support, and, of course, doing it wonderfully. It’s great that the Beatles could all agree to put their freakiest foot forward onto the crosswalk of a street I like to call Abbey Road.

Richard Furnstein: The chorus doesn't even provide relief from this motley crew as the group quickly shifts from the dank grooves of the verse into a jarring and brief political statement. The chorus and smooth outro are the only safehouses here, all golden tones and spidery fumbling from all time greatest George Harrison.

Robert Bunter: You are 100% right again. Picture the vintage 1969 FabFan getting this thing home from the record store and onto the turntable for the first time. Each new Beatles album has been a revelation, a new direction. It’s impossible at this late date to overestimate the eager curiosity we all felt when the needle hit the lead-in groove. What must the reaction have been when the first thing we all heard was a whispered "SHOOT ME" and the coldest electric piano comping since Herbie Hancock fell into a subzero ice-pond.

Richard Furnstein: Ringo is the key to this song. "Come Together" would likely be just a boring Lennon absurdist list song (see "Mary Jane") without his steady and inventive beat. Ringo kicks off Abbey Road and makes it clear that this is HIS album and you are about to hear the best sounding/best played drums in the history of rock. Have a seat on behind those shimmering drums, Mr. Starkey. We put fresh calf skin heads on them yesterday. Sorry about the Paul taking the sticks on "Back In The U.S.S.R.," you were right all along. Thank you for gracing us with majestic presence and baffling talents.

Robert Bunter: I can’t argue with you about that!

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