The Beatles Creative Assignment

The Beatles Creative Assignment

Music 109

The Beatle were an amazing group of artist with talent and sense of music that was so unique at that time that contributed to their uprising and world domination in a music sense, from 1960 to 1970. During the groups unstoppable domination, they produced so many songs and albums and one of the albums they recorded, is still regarded as the best album of all time, which is the “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Beatles as a group have made so many songs that it is hard for casual listeners or a student learning about the Beatles, like myself, to really learn them all, with some songs having multiple versions, demo tracks and unreleased songs. Due to this fact, we did not get to learn a lot of the Beatles songs, especially the lesser known ones. I believe, by getting this chance to write a creative paper on 3 songs that we didn’t learn, would let me to learn in-depth at least 3 more of this iconic group’s songs.

The first song that I would like that I would like to analyze is the often mistaken and often criticized song, “Yellow Submarine.” This song was release on the album “Yellow Submarine” and the album “Revolver.” The Beatles are known to compose songs that have deep meaning and are very reflective to their era and address the controversies of the time. Such as songs like “Elenor Rigby,” which remains one of the songs, in my opinion, to has the deepest meaning and is able to struck many lonely hearts with its powerful message, thus becoming an instant classic Beatle song. However, “Yellow Submarine” was not one of these type of songs. Rather it was the opposite type of song as “Elenor Rigby.” It was very confusing to most lyric analyst at the time as they couldn’t understand the meaning behind this song.

Before I move on actually analyzing the lyrics of this song, I would like to share my train of thought when deciding to write about this interesting song. This song was written by Paul McCartney and sang by Ringo Starr and recorded in 1966 and released for the first time in the album “Revolver.” Oddly enough that this song was released as a double a-side with “Eleanor Rigby,” which I would consider a polar opposite to “Yellow Submarine.” Shortly after this song was released, Paul McCartney explained that “Yellow Submarine” was intended to be different. It was supposed to be just a song about kids going on a yellow submarine just to have fun. He said the idea to write this song came while he was lying on the bed, before going to sleep, thinking about if they had a children’s song about being with friends in a yellow submarine. He claimed that he purposely used short words in the lyrics of this song because he wanted kids to pick it up early and sing along.

The words that was used in the lyrics of this song is short and simple. Kids would have easier time singing along as Paul McCartney intended. By just reading and listening to the lyrics I would say that this song was about having fun in a yellow submarine with friends. There is no other way to interpret this song. One of the part that I like the most from the lyric is how it starts off. It felt as if an old grandfather wants to tell his stories when he was young to his grandchildren and the tone how they started off also solidify this feeling. The instrument used for this song was the guitar, bass, tambourine and bass drum. The other thing I found that this song has a lot of repetition in their chorus. For example, “We all live in a yellow submarine, Yellow submarine, yellow submarine, We all live in a yellow submarine, Yellow submarine, yellow submarine.” This chorus was repeated three time in the duration of this song. I feel that this repetition, is the attraction factor of this song as it gives off this catchy feeling and appealing for their young audience. It makes me remember a song used in a show I used to watch as a kid, which was called “Bear in the Big Blue House” (1997-2009). The pace of the beat and the melody was perfect for a children’s song as it wasn’t too fast and the melody was easy to hum to. This song uses a 4/4 as the meter. One thing about the melody that stood out for me was Ringo’s ponding on the bass drum on every even quarter note was the key to create the feeling that a story is being told.

The next song I would like to analyze is “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” This was the last song for “Abbey Road” and was the last song all four members of the Beatles worked on together before their disbandment in 1970. This song was written by John Lennon. I would say that this song may have an effect and meaning as deep as “Elenor Rigby.” The lyrics to this song is very simple and composed of only 14 different words that is repeated over and over again. Lyrics like, “I want you so bad, It’s driving me mad,” was repeated over and over. By hearing this, most people would assume that it would be a very boring and lazy song. However, when listened, the emotions of John Lennon were so apparent, to the point that it was so powerful. The meaning of this song is so simple, it’s about a man who loves a woman so bad that it was hurting him so much, almost to a point of obsession. Seeing that John Lennon had written this song about his newly wedded wife at the time, Yuki Ono, we couldn’t help but feel how much he loves her. From my point of view, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is a great song and the powerful message would leave a strong impression on anyone who listens to it.

From the musical aspect, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” can be categorized as hard rock with a hint of bluesy feeling to it. The instruments used for this song are the guitar, organ, bass, drums and congas. This song has a meter of 6/8 alternating with 4/4. The main focus in this song would be the powerful guitar that gave this song heavy, bluesy feeling. The guitar plays the same chords over and over again for the duration of the song, which is close to eight minutes long. However, the same phrases that are being sung over and over again in a number of different rhythmic, tempo and time signature. Listening to this song I could hear the usage of massively overdubbed guitar, and towards the end, George Harrison’s new moog synthesizer and also white noise. If you listen carefully you could hear a wind-like sound in the background which was caused by George Harrison’s new moog synthesizer. We can also hear John Lennon let out a primal scream towards the end of the song which reinforce the feeling of basic human emotion being laid bare. One part that I particularly liked was dramatic outro. The outro was unique as it felt like the tape was cut-off abruptly. Overall the melody and tone of the music really suits the lyrics well as you could feel the burden, pain and heavy feeling of loving someone too much, almost to the point of obsessive.

The last song that I am going to analyze is a song regarded by many the best Beatles song and ranked 1st by Rolling Stones Magazine in their, 100 Greatest Beatles Song ranking which is “A Day in the Life.” This historic song was the best Lennon-McCartney collaborations and was released on 1967 in the best album ever, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” For the lyrical analysis, I would say that the overall song is about a gloomy first-person view on the world when witnessing cruelties and absurdities of the everyday boring world and observing them as if the person was emotionally detached. For a more detailed, analysis I will be dividing them in to verses. The first verse is about the death of an heir who happens to be a friend of the Beatles, Tara Browne, who was killed in a car crash. The second verse is about is about the film “How I Won the War”, in which John Lennon had acted. The third verse of this song implies that it was just a dream as the first-person narrator was abruptly, woken up and has to rush to catch the bus. Then the last verse implies that the person returns to his dreams and reads about the poor road conditions in Blackburn, Lancashire with a lot of small holes and yet they had to count them all. The first and second verse implies that the first-person narrator was in a dream world where the world is always cruel and unpleasant but still more interesting than the real world. Then in the third verse the first-person narrator was woken up by the sound of his alarm and had fallen out of bed. This verse indicates how the real world is, which is dull and boring, where you have to rush to catch the bus so you won’t be late. The first-person narrator returns to his dream world as he fell asleep on the bus in the final verse and again starts to dream unpleasant dreams again just to escape the dull real world.

For the musical analysis, I would say that this song has a ternary structure (A-B-A1) just as we learned in lesson 10. The outer sections were written by John Lennon are in G major but the middle section was written by Paul McCartney is in E major. The difference between scale gives the illusion of two different realities, one was the dream world and the other the reality world which was being separate by the different scale. There is also an orchestra playing dissonant orchestral crescendo that is simultaneously nightmarish and exhilarating, which separates the first and the second verse and the fourth verse with the third verse. These aspects would give the listener the ability to feel being sucked into the dream world that the first-person narrator wants to withdraw to or out to the real world that the first-person narrator wants to escape from. This song shows that the world could be so dull, that we as human being are hungry for some excitement. The dull world would make us to want to retreat to our dream world and dream of something interesting would happen even that something is a sad thing. This song would relate to many of us who are bored with doing the same activity over and over again every day.

Reference

· http://www.songfacts.com/facts-the_beatles.php

· http://www.beatlesbible.com

· http://www.allmusic.com/song/a-day-in-the-life-mt0010100290

· http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-beatles-songs-20110919/a-day-in-the-life-19691231

· http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/iwyssh.shtml

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