Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twist And Shout

Robert Bunter: The Beatles demonstrate the primal power of the rock music which animated their youth. Three chords, a beat like rolling thunder, sexualized dance instructions and the tonsil-shredding vocals of a husky young man with a chest cold who'd been recording all day and knew there would be no "take two." Wait a minute, what's that George Martin? You actually did two takes?

Okay, well, my point is still valid. The final track from the Beatles' first record pounded the whole thing home. It's difficult from the vantage point of today's ubiquitous hard rock brutality to know just how galvanizing this track was to the world on which it was unleashed. People hear this song today and they think of Ferris Bueller prancing around on a parade float. When they heard it in 1963, they started having knife fights and humping each other. You gotta realize, it was different times.

Richard Furnstein: Oh, you've heard this one a million times before? I'm so sorry. You only have a man ripping his throat out to tell you about this dance party that he's having and you can barely pay attention? Put it on again, feeble mind. Sounds slow, right? WRONG. The song isn't a simple line dance about truancy, it's a slow, violent lurch into the mind of man. Sure, they could've played it faster. They could have done a "Nothing's Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Tree)" treatment on this one, but you'd miss the point. It's the stern faced pulse of the climbing "Aaaaaaaaaaaah's" that do you in. It's the heave and pounce of the finale that finally slow your heart. Get the Hell out of my dance hall, party's over.

Robert Bunter: This is the peak to which the entire record has been building. He's yelling at the female subject with the unrestrained abandon of a drowning man screaming for help. She's shaking it up (baby); due to the constant, urgent dance motions, even the demure tailoring of her primitive hoop skirt and knee length bobby socks are unable to conceal the excruciatingly delicious motion of her recent upper developments and rear butt end. The constricting social mores of pre-1964 homogenized culture can't hold anything back anymore; the tighter they try to constrict our freedom of movement, the more stimulating the friction. A generation of tumescent/squishy youths has now learned the raw truth first-hand; the wisdom that used to be scrawled on washroom walls and speculated on in hushed locker-room tones. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. It just popped out.

The demure tailoring of her primitive hoop skirt and knee length bobby socks are unable to conceal the excruciatingly delicious motion of her recent upper developments and rear butt end.
Richard Furnstein: You know who's chaperoning this little frilly socked teen fantasy, Robert? That's right: RINGO. He's the only one keeping this whole shebang in order. It's a pungent blend of hormones in the gymnasium, but Schoolmaster Ringo is keeping it right. He's got the lights low, but not too low. It's a gentle rat-a-tat tap on your shoulder as you are drawn into the squelchy pool of fragrance behind her ear. Perhaps this occasion calls for some punch, Mr. Bunter?

Robert Bunter: It's always Ringo. No matter what The Beatles do to your mind, Ringo is always there in the background, with that look on his face. What else can I say about this song? Although the original recording (first by a forgotten group called the Top Notes, then by the Isley Brothers) was only a year old when they recorded this, the hyper-advanced Beatles seem like they're doing a knowing, ironic tribute to the quaint oldies of a bygone era. I think we've covered this analytical ground before), so I'll not expound any further. Lennon's primal vocals blaze a trail toward "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and the Plastic Ono Band album, of course. You don't need me to point that out to you. Anything else, Richard? Let's wrap this up, I'm going to go outside. It's a beautiful day.

Richard Furnstein: Fine by me. I feel like analyzing this song is like Step One in telling you about The Beatles. We should have covered this first instead of "Lovely Rita." We've grown past this analysis of the old grunt and poke rhythm while Mr. Lennon shreds his tonsils.

Oh, daft. Did we mention he was shirtless when he took this vocal take? I think the only other shirtless vocal take in the catalog was Ringo's lead on "What Goes On" (allegedly performed as a birthday gag for a sulking George). Facts!

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