Sunday, October 16, 2011

Renaming "The White Album"

A favorite parlor game among Beatles fanatics is to prune and rearrange the 30 songs on "The White Album," creating a track listing that fits onto two sides instead of four. Though the double album's bloat is part of its appeal, I'm sure most would agree that not all of the songs hit their mark, and some are just downright baffling ("Wild Honey Pie" and "Revolution 9" are atop that list). Such is the case with The Beatles' ninth album: because of its size and colorful oddity, it often confounds us and prompts us to second-guess.

Other games are possible. What of the curiously plain cover art? It's iconic, to be sure, but it's not exactly a feast for the eyes. And then there's the album's name, The Beatles or "The White Album," neither of which stokes the imagination.

Finding suitable replacements for the album's cover art and name would clearly be more difficult than the first exercise because the former require that you come up with something new as opposed to just marking songs for deletion. With that in mind, I thought of an alternative: use existing concepts. As in, what album name that already exists would be fitting for "The White Album"?

Two ideas: Pet Sounds or Animals.

"The White Album" is suffused with animal imagery. There's a walrus on "Glass Onion," tigers and elephants on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill," and a lizard on "Happiness Is a Warm Gun;" "Martha My Dear" is about a dog; there are songs named "Blackbird," "Piggies," "Rocky Raccoon," and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey;" and "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" was inspired by the sight of monkeys having sex.

God bless "The White Album."

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