Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"A Day in the Life" - why is it great?

Oftentimes, it seems that the greatness of The Beatles is simply taken as a given. Too seldom do we seriously explore what composes and sustains this greatness. Too seldom do we unpack a song or an album in order to locate the qualities that make them so vital and compelling.

Here's a worthwhile question then: "'A Day In The Life' Is A Weird-Ass Song. So Why Does It Work?"

And here is one noteworthy part of the answer:

“The John Lennon section, like a lot of his music: I wouldn’t call it ‘whiny,’ but there is a bit of that ‘moany,’ ‘whiny’ tone to a lot of what he sings, you know, the way he sings through his nose the way he does, and the way he holds on to single notes for multiple syllables.” [Covach sings me “I read the news today, Oh boy…” to illustrate.] “It’s so very... John.”

Then the McCartney part - what Covach calls “the happy-go-lucky Paul thing” - and the contrast it creates, brings out the best of the two Beatles. It’s all packaged in a George Martin/Geoff Emerick production that turns the collaboration into a kind of a weird drug trip or psychedelic dream. “It’s like looking at the Beatles through some sort of weird psychedelic lens,” Covach says. “You recognize each of the guys [John and Paul], but everything about is sort of … the edges are all faded and the colors are not quite right.”

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