Monday, June 8, 2009

The Beatles Taboo

I use some sites strictly to listen to music and usually can’t resist reading the comments that people add. Lately I’ve rediscovered the Beatles and listen to their songs every other day. Reading the comments I’ve noted a few things. One, that fan wars continue in regards to which Beatle is more talented and produced better work. I belong to the camp that viewed every Beatle as a necessary component that added to a product that was more than each of its parts’. I don’t argue any Beatle is more talented than the other. Second, repeatedly I see comments declaring the fact the Beatles “are the greatest band in the world always and forever," and more importantly lamenting that “No artists are like the Beatles today, there will never be a band as talented/inventive.” It's come to be a taboo to try and dethrone the Beatles from their royal status as the most innovative, groundbreaking band.

Back in the day I was completely obsessed with the Beatles and just drank Beatles all day. I started by getting my friends to sing the Yellow Submarine with me during recess in 6th grade, zealously focused on collecting their records, coveted their books that analyzed their songs and history, jotted down their name on one of my jeans, I was enamored. Now, at the age of 27 I’m looking at the band and I still enjoy their music immensely and have lately found them to be my default band to listen to.

But the more comments I read I realized that it couldn’t be it. The Beatles couldn’t be the best band for now and forever. We can’t just hang on to the past and believe no other band will be able to create something amazing like the Beatles did. They made many innovations and happened to make it very big. I do listen to artists today and I think a lot play safe, especially in mainstream. The unique, indie, or alternative artists don’t have the same outlet to be heard as easily as pop or rock. And American Idol well… They discover talent, but what about the talent of singing one’s own songs, writing one’s own songs.

Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in thinking about how it’s not possible to be original anymore when you write. At moments like that I try to remind myself that all stories are old stories (or formulas) rewoven and a new time frame, universe, adds a spin to it.. The Bible has some of the oldest tails, jealousy, love, hate, betrayal. If we stop to look at the Bible from only the perspective of stories, it can’t get more original than these tales. So Shakespeare didn’t write plays that left a mark on literature? Maybe another great band that will make it as big as the Beatles will take years to come. But we have to start thinking of it as when, not if. And keep experimenting.

No comments: