Friday, January 26, 2007


When people compare song lyrics to poetry (ex. “those lyrics are like poetry,”), I bristle at the very thought. I am firmly in the camp that lyrics are lyrics and poetry is poetry.

That being said, I have always been a fan of The Beatles. I can appreciate the songwriting abilities of John and Paul, how revolutionary their words and music were for the times. And given all of the disposable, wannabe artists out there now, the music of The Beatles still holds up today.

So I was thrilled beyond belief when Love arrived in the mail. This new album is made up of selections of Beatles favorites, digitally remastered for Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas show. The songs are stung together into long, almost orchestral movements. But this not another greatest hits album.

Imagine listening to what you think will be "The Benefit of Mr. Kite!" but it morphs into "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" into "Helter Skelter, " and before you know it you're singing along to "Help." Or, you think you hear fragments of a drum beat from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" yet you hear strings from a song vaguely familiar but you just can't place. And the lyrics. Some of my favorite tracks are where the music drops out completely and you hear just the unaccompanied vocals, in mono!

If you're a purist, then maybe this album isn't for you. I mean, mixing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with "I Am the Walrus" sounds sacrilegious. But if you're looking for something different yet familiar, music that aspires to the realm of poetry (and I've set myself up nicely for this) ... All you need is LOVE!

Check out a few audio tracks here.

(And here's something that will make you feel old. Paul McCartney will be 64 this June. I remember hearing "When I'm 64" (not featured on the Love album) as a child, thinking that's a long way off. My, how time flies!)

1 comment:

Kake said...


I agree with you -- lyrics and poetry belong in different camps. As Nietzche said, "In music, the passions enjoy themselves". Lyrics are accessories to an emotional ambience already established by sounds. But in poetry the words have to do all the work, and it requires discipline and distance from passions.

I do think that the Beatles were quite literary. The Sergeant Pepper album welds words and music together sensitively. I'm thinking particularly of the song that begins "I read the news today, oh boy...", which devolves into cacophany expressing emotional distress.


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