Every once in a while I run into someone who claims not to like the Beatles.
This is absolute horseshit. The only possible reason not to like the Beatles is because you are a misanthropic malcontent, or a generally crappy person.
The Beatles weren’t around for long, compared to other bands (Rolling Stones, I am looking in your direction) but they produced such a prolific and varied body of work, that even if you don’t enjoy, say, their early pop period you can still be a fan of their later experimental psychedelic stuff.
Or the White Album. I once knew someone who argued that the White Album sucked. But this person had, admittedly, never really taken the time to listen to it. The main thrust of their argument was that they didn’t like the Beatles because they are “too popular”. Shitting on a band because they’re “too mainstream” or “too popular” or whatever is the same thing to me as liking a band for those very same reasons. If you like a certain type of music just because everyone else does, you’re a lemming. By the same token, if you don’t like music simply because everyone else does, you may think that you’re being subversive, but isn’t it really just the flip side of the same coin?
There may be parts of the White Album that you can take or leave, depending on your tastes. But you can’t argue that it contains some absolute gems. ‘Back in the USSR’ was the Beatles doing the Beach Boys, only better. ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ is a delightful, happy little tune. ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is just gorgeous. ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ is a slightly aggressive, oddly sexual song, while ‘I’m So Tired’ is a tribute to sleep-deprived obsession. ‘Rocky Raccoon’ is probably my favorite tune on the entire album, just for the absurd pleasure of singing along with such lines as “Rocky burst in and grinning a grin / He said Danny boy this is a showdown!” It sounds like a little kid’s song, but the content is anything but.
And that’s just the first side of this double album. I’m also partial to ‘Sexy Sadie’, ‘Helter Skelter’, and ‘Honey Pie’: “Honey Pie, you are making me crazy / I’m in love but I’m lazy / So won’t you please come home”.
Whichever way you slice it, the White Album has something for everyone.
And so, to those people out there who claim not to like the Beatles simply because they are “too popular”, this tune from Rubber Soul is one for you:
Think for yourself. Don’t embrace something just because everyone else is, and by the same token don’t reject it simply to be a contrarian. Figure out what you genuinely like and dislike, and then proclaim it and defend it to your heart’s content.
I know what you may be thinking: “But Spencer, if you’re telling me that I suck if I don’t like the Beatles, isn’t that the same narrow-minded attitude you’re asking me to rise above?” Sure, fair point. And hey, don’t take my word for it. If you dislike the Beatles for a legit reason, hit me up in the comments and tell me why I’m full of it.
But it better be a good one.