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One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever

One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 14, 2021 12:33PM
Maybe I'm opening up a massive can of worms, but what the hell, I'm feeling feisty today.

Reducing the White Album to a single LP -- what songs would you keep?

For me, it'd be:

SIDE ONE
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence.
Glass Onion.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Blackbird
Martha My Dear
Julia

SIDE TWO
Birthday
Everybody's Got Something to Hide
Mother Nature's Son
Long, Long, Long
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Savoy Truffle
Good Night

Just to make sure I'm pushing the right buttons, I'm not talking about your personal tape of favorites -- I'm talking about getting rid of the White Album's dross and transforming it into a consistently listenable album.
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 14, 2021 03:58PM
Those two sides would be way too long for a standard lp! You have to trim some more, Delvin.

That said, I would get rid of Obladi and Everybody's Got Something to Hide, and replace them with Revolution (nr. 1) and Happiness is a Warm Gun.
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 14, 2021 04:13PM
I added up the times; each side comes in under 25 minutes. Pushing it for an LP, but not beyond the range of possibility. At least one side of the White Album is 24 minutes and change. So are two sides of the Blue Album. (Side Two of that compilation exceeds 26 minutes.)
zoo
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 14, 2021 06:55PM
I got excited when I read the subject...but then found out it isn't a topic to which I can contribute anything worthwhile.

Looking at Delvin's list, I can say that I have no desire to hear any of those songs ever again. Just not a fan of the White album. Gimme Abbey Road any day of the week!
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 14, 2021 08:00PM
So if I had too this is what it would be. I have stuck to 12 tracks only as any more than that isn't really a single LP

SIDE ONE
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness is a warm gun
Blackbird
Julia

SIDE TWO
Birthday
Mother Nature's Son
Everybody's Got Something to Hide
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Long Long Long
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 08:32AM
I am happy to never hear The Beatles. Just saying.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 11:42AM
SIDE ONE:
Back In The U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Savoy Truffle
Cry Baby Cry
Happiness Is A Warm Gun

SIDE TWO:
Revolution 1
Birthday
Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
I'm So Tired
Blackbird
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 11:57AM
> Just not a fan of the White album. Gimme Abbey Road any day of the week!

Agree with Zoo. Abbey Road is a more enjoyable listen, although track for track, it's not as good as Revolver.

The White Album debate is one I've engaged in more than once, with some serious Beatles fans. It astonishes me to encounter people who still see it as such a musical touchstone. To me, it has a lot of really good songs, sure. ("Savoy Truffle" is probably my favorite George Harrison song.) But it doesn't flow well at all. Indeed, it seems to defy the idea of flow -- which makes it a bit like life itself, I guess. Even my single-album edit doesn't flow all that well. (I often think they tacked on "Good Night" to give it the illusion of a proper conclusion.)

And it always amuses me when I bring up the White Album's over-inflated reputation, and someone promptly responds with, "Yeah, sure, 'Revolution 9' kinda brings it down, okay, I'll grant ya that ..." To me, "Revolution 9" really isn't one of the low points on the album -- even though I don't include it in my version. Whatever else you can say about "Revolution 9," it's just a sound collage, and it doesn't pretend to be anything else.

No, what brings down the White Album are its songs. Songs like "Bungalow Bill," "Piggies," "Yer Blues," "Don't Pass Me By," "Honey Pie," "Wild Honey Pie," "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" -- songs that would've been roundly (and correctly) derided at the time of their release as worthless mangy dross, had they come from any other band. None of the album's four sides is listenable all the way through, thanks to the Beatles' insistence on letting both the cream and the scum rise to the top.

Oh, and if my edit still seems too long for a single LP, then I'll drop "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" and "Good Night."
Reply Quote
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 12:44PM
Totally agree with ya, Delvin. Some of those songs you listed wouldn’t have been worthy of b-sides earlier in the Beatles career when they still had some quality control. I’d take “Revolution #9” any day over those.

I’ve pondered the White Album conundrum before, and I would cheat by not only removing the above mentioned (and most def “Obladi”!) but adding the outtake “What’s The New Mary Jane.” Great tune, why’d they leave it off and decide, nah, we need to make room for “Wild Honey Pie”?
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 04:24PM
It just feels longer!
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 15, 2021 01:11PM
> I would cheat by not only removing the above mentioned (and most def “Obladi”!)
> but adding the outtake “What’s The New Mary Jane.” Great tune, why’d they leave it
> off and decide, nah, we need to make room for “Wild Honey Pie”?

Well, since "Wild Honey Pie" clocks in under a minute, it might not have been a case of "making room" for it.
Bip
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 17, 2021 03:07PM
I would’ve never thought of ‘long, long, long’ as a keeper.... might’ve gone with “I will” which is a toss-off, but nice. After that it’s kind of a game of inches.

To me, the controversy isn’t which songs you pick but would the album be BETTER if trimmed down? Sure, the batting avg would be better... but would the album itself be better?

I vote no. I generally prefer the Beatles pre-1966, but White Album might be my favorite of their albums. The dross adds character and texture, just like with Sandinista. At that point in their career, they deserved to goof off in the studio a little. I’ve heard more unexceptional crap on (deservedly) praised records by Sonic Youth and 1/2 Japanese.

It’s not like the Beatles were concocted in a lab to be THE band that everybody points to as being the masters of the universe forever. It just ended up like that. They started out as a COVERS band, for Christ’s sake! WE created this monster, not them.
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 19, 2021 09:10AM
"The dross adds character and texture, just like with Sandinista."

FINALLY, someone has addressed the elephant in the room of "Sandinista!"

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 24, 2021 01:44AM
> Would the album be BETTER if trimmed down? Sure, the batting
> avg would be better... but would the album itself be better?
> I vote no. I generally prefer the Beatles pre-1966, but White
> Album might be my favorite of their albums. The dross adds
> character and texture, just like with Sandinista.

The key difference here is that the weirder songs on Sandinista! aren't dross. Those songs add texture and character, because they have them in their own right. And they enhance the overall flow of the full album. The low points on the White Album, by contrast, are nothing more than shitty songs.
Reply Quote
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 27, 2021 08:59AM
Delvin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The key difference here is that the weirder songs
> on Sandinista! aren't dross. Those songs
> add texture and character, because they have them
> in their own right. And they enhance the overall
> flow of the full album. The low points on the
> White Album, by contrast, are nothing more than
> shitty songs.

Agreement. Better to have retrofitted quotation marks around the word "dross" as I never took issue with what other complained about there. All the material on "Sandinista!" gives it a novelistic heft and was crucial to the gestalt of the album. The notion of a whittled down, tight one or even two disc "Sandinista!" missed the point in my opinion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2021 09:00AM by Post-Punk Monk.
Re: One of the most controversial music-nerd topics ever
April 27, 2021 11:36AM
The dub mixes, world beats, Motown stompers, reggae, rap, slinky jazz etc etc on Sandinista changed me musically forever. I think spoiled is the right word, same for London Calling but obviously the 3 discs went way further off the beaten path than London Calling. I think those two albums made my switch into more alternative leanings much easier as I went from a pre-teen in 1980 to HS age with the dawn of MTV. I started expecting artists to take a chance here and there - make it interesting! So when I got to college and was introduced to Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Felt, Brian Eno, VU, Can, Joy Division etc I was like, yeah, more of this please. I mean Mikey Dread, I had never even heard of him, I thought it was a made up name and was just Joe Strummer's voice altered. And I thought that way for several years! When I finally saw an album in a used store at first I felt stupid but then I just bought it, that would have been Dread at the Controls, great disc. My favorite of his though is a comp called Best Sellers, regular rotation. I like many songs on the white album but for me overall it can't come close to comparing to Sandinista or London Calling for the overall "best" albums. There are songs on the white album I would walk several flights of stairs to skip! But to each his own. Obviously the white album has some stone cold stunners that will live throughout history, no escaping that.
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