Poop-erback Farter: Five Terrible Beatles Songs

thebeatlesbannerYeah, that title’s pretty bad, huh? Well, it got your attention, didn’t it? It didn’t? Well now I’m confused. Why are you reading this? Is everything okay at home?

The amount of “scholarly work” (if such a thing can be said to exist in rock music) written about the Beatles is staggering. It’s probably more than the amount of critical theory on James Joyce’s Ulysses, and infinitely more fun to uncover.

Actually, Joyce is okay if you love Catholicism and a bunch of unnecessary details about Dublin geography.

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They’re all unnecessary.

The Beatles, simply, are the greatest rock and roll band of all time. There are other contenders, but they ultimately fall short in some way by comparison. You could choose virtually any metric or criteria that measures the quality of a music group, and the Beatles would come out on top. Even insane categories like “Ratio of Beards to Non Beards” and “Coldest band, temperature” would invariably favor the Beatles.

That being said, there are a few songs by them that are fucking terrible.

(In my opinion, which should be implied. This isn’t an encyclopedia. Nobody reads my articles for my unvarnished facts. Nobody reads my articles at all.)


A few caveats:

  1. No Ringo songs: Too easy. It’s like picking the worst Godfather movie when the third one is eligible. Sure there’s a clear answer, but we didn’t learn anything about ourselves, did we?
  2. All 4 members must be alive at the time of recording: So we can go ahead and strike the Anthology tracks. “Real Love” and “Free as a Bird” aren’t actually all that bad, but let’s get rid of ’em.

Here we go.

5. The Fool on the Hill

I’m not going to make any friends with this one, but I find this meandering McCartney composition insufferable. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the guy playing the flute (or whatever the fuck that thing is). McCartney’s usually sharp songwriting is barely visible through the haze of the most/best pot anyone’s ever smoked. Magical Mystery Tour isn’t exactly known for its amazing songs, so nobody’s too surprised here.

This is probably a good time to say that, without Lennon’s acid cynicism and irony, McCartney’s whimsical impishness sometimes makes me want to throw up.

4. Blackbird

It may seem like I’m playing a little rough with Paul McCartney, but that’s only because he’s a trash person.

No, he’s okay. In fact, “Blackbird” was a perfectly fine song until I saw a bit on the Beatles Anthology where Paul explained that it was about him trying to fuck a black woman.

It is said that Charles Manson and his followers thought this song was about a coming race war in which African Americans will rise up and kill Caucasians. In my mind, this interpretation is preferable to watching Paul McCartney try to get laid.

Also, Manson’s interpretation didn’t ruin the song for me. McCartney’s did.

3. Within You, Without You

LABEL EXECUTIVE: Hey, George. We all really loved “Norwegian Wood.” Your sitar work really gave that song the extra air of mystery and texture it needed to become an all-time classic. We’d like you do do it again on your upcoming Sgt. Pepper project, only don’t bother to write a song. John’s not going to write one this time, but you don’t need to, either. We’ll just assemble the musicians, and we’ll figure it out. Whatever you guys do is bound to be great!

It wasn’t.

2. She’s So Heavy

The frustrating thing about this song is that Abbey Road would be an absolutely perfect album without it. It’s not even that the song is so offensive, per se, it just keeps going and going and going until “Here Comes the Sun” mercifully ties it to a tree and shoots it mid-sentence. Even if this song were 3 minutes shorter, it would still be 4 and a half minutes long. Absolutely uncalled for, and a strong argument for the absence of God.

1. Hello, Goodbye

Do I need to explain why this song is shitty? There are like 8 words in the whole thing. It’s so dumb, and not in the cool way a lot of other rock music is dumb. It’s like “creative dearth” dumb.

If you ever wanted  to make a propaganda film about how vapid and ultimately meaningless Western culture is (and unfortunately, some folks do), how could you not use this weightless nothing of a song? It sounds like it was written for a morale-boosting talent show in a hostage situation. Hard pass.

Let me reiterate that the Beatles are the greatest and most important rock band of all time, and any criticism I have of them comes directly from deep, almost obsessive love. Any songs you hate? Share them here!

Photo credit: By Omroepvereniging VARA (Beeld en Geluidwiki – Gallery: The Beatles) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

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9 comments to “Poop-erback Farter: Five Terrible Beatles Songs”
  1. Revolution # 9, when you had in on vinyl, you had to get up and turn it off. On cassette you had to fast forward. Luckily on CD you can just skip. Either way what a waste of time.

  2. Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it is clearly irrelevant and pointless. The worst color of blue in the sky is…

  3. Maybe those songs are so-so but I don’t understand the comments as to why they are bad. They seem to be too subjective to the person like “I don’t like them” but then he expects everyone to understand why he doesn’t like them. For example just saying the lyrics are stupid on ‘Hello Goodbye’ doesn’t mean the song is bad. I think the beat is good, and I can hear all the instruments doing interesting things. What I don’t like is how they added the shitty strings to that one, but that’s my taste in it. It’s not my go to Beatles song, but it’s kind of funny, and upbeat.
    It’s not flute on ‘Fool on the Hill’ it’s recorder. Again, it’s not the most memorable song for me, but I remember it really expanding my mind when I heard it the first few times. Maybe it serves a purpose then you got it. One song that I don’t like is ‘Let it Be’ it’s so fake Churchy sounding, they could have done that with more soul, better Hammond Organ sound, and I especially hate the Phil Spector treatment. But I’m sure lot’s of people love it.

  4. I’m with you on “Fool on the Hill”, I would also add “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”, and I find “Run For Your Life” particularly egregious.

  5. Pingback: Song Of The Day: The Beatles — Hello Goodbye (1967) | Rocknuts

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