Beloved

I’m always intrigued when an opinion is presented as fact. A sign of iconic status for any artist is when you’re so beloved that your work is universally regarded at great without question or debate. The work in question is presented as this is what good is. It’s a rare occurrence and every genre has at most only one of these iconic artists. But do they really deserve their titles as the best? No one seems to every question it.
This all started when I heard a debate where a woman was trying to convince people that the Beatles were not a good band. For now I’ll put the Beatles aside and continue with another example because from what I’ve seen, questioning the Beatles’ talent instantly make people’s eyes bug out in confusion. It’s as if you told them the sky wasn’t blue. Instead I’ll use Meryl Streep as an example. Even if you’ve never seen one of her movies you already know that she’s the best actress alive. No one even comes close. She basically gets an Oscar nod every year by default. There’s never been a debate or even a question to her status as the best. It’s just true. It’s fact! Or is it? Have you ever actually formed your own opinion of her performances? I suspect there are a lot of people who just taken on everyone else’s opinion as their own. Could it be possible that Meryl has us all fooled and she’s really just a mediocre actress with a great publicist?
Back to the Beatles. I don’t have a strong opinion of the Beatles either way. I also don’t have any of the emotional connections to the Beatles that so many other people do. I’m totally neutral. The argument knocking their talent was that they were a boy band with only 12 good songs. The rest of their songs are either silliness or just plain bad. Also she made a point to say that most of their music sounds like children’s music. This led me to the question, Do the Beatles suck?
As always I prefer to make my own opinion so I knew it was time to do my homework. I decided to listen to Abbey Road, The White Album, and Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. I chose those three because they were the three albums I knew of. After listening to all three albums in full I can finally answer my earlier question: No the Beatles do not suck. Did I fall in love with their music? No. For some reason I expected to have a strong reaction either for or against because the music is so iconic. The weird thing is that after listening to hours worth of Beatles tunes I was left feeling much the same as I did when I started. I still really don’t have a strong opinion of them. The music wasn’t really my personal taste but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It was beige. One point I will totally agree with is that their music sounds like children’s music. Rather then having song about emotions there seemed to be a tendency toward telling a specific story. As if all of their music was a picture book being sung aloud for story time. I can imagine every song on a kiddie album or cartoon. As an example these area few lines from A Day in the Life:

The picture book practically writes itself. I guess kiddie music isn’t a bad thing just not what I expected. Although maybe that’s why it is so universally loved. It is simple and accessible for all.

It’s been pointed out to that much of the Beatles’ genius was their innovation and groundbreaking sound for the time. Their music must be listened to with a historical perspective. Up to that point no one in music had done what they did. I don’t dispute their mark on history. Regardless of my personal opinion they obviously touched on something that resonated with everyone. It was also easy to see their influence when I asked this same question on Facebook and got a barrage of comments in support of the fab 4. I’ve always believed the better the art the more passionate the response. People still care about this music which is a point that shouldn’t be ignored.
To close, I want to make two points clear. First, no I don’t think the Beatles suck. Maybe just a bit overrated, but who wouldn’t be when held to the expectation of best band of all time. My second and more important point is that you should make your own decisions. Ask the questions no one asks. Use other people’s opinions as a guide but in the end look and listen for yourself.
P.S.
Before the angry comments start flooding in, no I don’t hate Meryl Streep either. I just used her as an example because no one seems to question her label as the best. Is she the best? Yes. She kicks ass even more then she is given credit for. I would totally support the Oscar’s decision to give her an award every year just for being her bad ass self. Don’t take my word for it though. If you missed them, watch The Iron Lady, Doubt, Julie and Julia, and Death Becomes Her. Is that range or what?! #Merylforever
Also the point about listening to the Beatles with a historic perspective bothers me a little bit. If your music is supposed to be the ultimate best, it should be good on it’s own regardless of the listeners time and place. When you listen to the Supremes and you don’t need a shred of history to like their songs. #justsayin
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