Thursday, October 6, 2011

If I Needed Someone

Robert Bunter: A somewhat pedestrian Harrison effort is elevated to greatness by the vocal harmonies from ace vocalists John L. and Paul McC., as well as the groovy arrangement. Lucky for George, the chiming Byrds 12-string, funky tambourine and inventive, strutting basswork are there to transform his dopey lyrics, lumbering chord progression and thick, phlegmy voice into a gem that almost manages to hold its own against such immortal divine masterpieces as “Nowhere Man,” “You Won’t See Me” and the eternally charming Ringoshuffler “What Goes On.”

Richard Furnstein: I love this one. (Singing) "Oh who killed the miner? Say the grim bells of Blaina." Woops, wrong song, but you get the idea. George was in frantic "who am I?" mode at this point. He was way into Indian music after hearing some extras play a raga on the set of help. Then he got way into David Crosby and went out to San Francisco to hang out with the diseased masses. Hey man, pick a lane. You are making us all nervous.

To be fair, George wouldn't be fully comfortable in his skin until 1973's Living In The Material World LP, where he decided to just focus on his talent at writing miserable dirges with unnecessarily complicated chords.

Robert Bunter: Yeah. What I'd say to George is, "Hey, the Beatles set the trends, not follow them. We don't need any more Byrds songs. Why don't you stick with your strengths, which include clumsy lyrics and thick, phlegmy vocals?" But we should cut him some slack. As he pointed out, John and Paul had a head start. They'd already written all their dumb songs before the group got famous. George had to write his dumb songs and have them appear on immortal masterpieces like Rubber Soul. Oh, life!

"Hey, the Beatles set the trends, not follow them. We don't need any more Byrds songs."

Richard Furnstein: Let's stop right there, Robert. I can't let this go any further. I think it's important for you to remember that this song is in the top 75% of Rubber Soul, perhaps the greatest album by The Beatles. It's a chimer, sure, but don't let that diminish its beauty. George plucks out the melody in primo McGuinn fashion and carries the "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah's" in the solo by himself. The Beatles had to write songs like this so that The Monkees had a better idea how to mature. Chime and whine, let's get it on.

Robert Bunter: Oh, wait, I made a mistake. I forgot about the part about how I love this crucial Rubber Soul gem. It's got that perfect mid-period Beatles sound that I enjoy listening to so much. You've got to look at everything in context. Good job, Dark Horse. It's nice to hear your music.

Richard Furnstein: If there was a Beatle that was better at writing the soundtrack to The Beatles Saturday morning cartoons than George Harrison, I haven't met him!

Robert Bunter: You've never met a Beatle, Richard. The closest you came was shaking hands with Joe English from Wings at Beatlefest 1994. 

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