Friday, May 21, 2010

Best three songs in a row - Pt. 5

Parts one, two, three, and four. Below is part five.

Album: Help!
Three songs: "I've Just Seen a Face," "Yesterday," and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy"
Comments: On Help!, there are five masterpieces: the title track, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket to Ride," "I've Just Seen a Face," and "Yesterday." It's an impressive array, and it made my task difficult. This was true especially because four of the five songs are located close to one another in the track order - "Help!" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" have one song in between them, while "Yesterday" follows "I've Just Seen a Face" without any interruption. Logically, I started with these for my analysis. But trios are the name of the game, which meant that I also had to consider the merits of "The Night Before", as it is the song that bridges "Help!" and "Love Away." Then to make a threesome that incorporated the latter pair of songs, I had to choose between "Tell Me What You See" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy." Despite being a cover, "Lizzy" triumphed. Thus it came down to the opening three songs on Help! versus the closing three.

I ultimately went with the closing three based on this line of thinking: though "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is probably the finest of the lot, both "I've Just Seen a Face" and "Yesterday" are very close behind, with each of them handily outpacing "Help!," the fourth best of the six songs. And then I judged "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," which plays the role of frenetic album send-off that "Twist and Shout" and "Money" had before it, as bringing more to bear than "The Night Before." Altogether, it's a stunningly strong collection of songs, foreshadowing the historic greatness that would come with the next album, Rubber Soul, and basically keep coming until the end of The Beatles' career.

I have to say more about "I've Just Seen a Face" and "Yesterday," both of which are stirring and strikingly personal compositions. Crucially, both were written by Paul, who through this stage of The Beatles' run had been significantly outshone by John and his more formidable songwriting prowess (just look at the previous entries in this series). On their own, both "Face" and "Yesterday" would've represented artistic breakthroughs for Paul. But together, they pointed to a major shift in The Beatles' established order, whereby Paul began writing at a level that approached John's and at a rate that exceeded his (it should be noted that John did not go quietly; in fact, he absolutely dominated Rubber Soul and still was more consistent, arguably, all the way to The End). What a contrasting pair "Face" and "Yesterday" are, the former brimming with affection-drunk enthusiasm and the latter full of introspective despair. Having one follow the other was a bold and interesting move, akin to rearranging the track order of Revolver so that "Here, There and Everywhere" and "For No One" were in succession. Those, I might add, are two more classics courtesy of Paul.

Another welcome change was breaking away from the tyranny of the opening three songs. That is, with the previous three albums that I examined, it was the initial trio of tracks that took the prize for Best Three Songs in a Row. The deviation on Help! suggests that The Beatles' albums were becoming deeper and more consistent. The second half of the '60s, of course, showed this to be true.


buckruss said...

what a day,,, hot as hell.. need a dip,,npw thats too cold,, need a spam burger and a chattie da creamy cheese buster frys

buckruss said...

But, I;m gonna say,, You've got to Hide your Love Away,, this is where the rumor that he had a affair,,,Day Tripper same reason but with a younger girl,and was the insperration for Norwiegian Wood,,,,and I Should of Knowen Better,,, feeling bad for all the affairs while being married to Cyn.