Sunday, April 28, 2013

Na Na Na Na Na Na, No!

I had a revelation while I was shampooing my hair in the shower before drumming at church. (Suave Green Apple. $1. Love it.) If you scratch around your noggin enough, metaphors magically suds up!


Why's that, you ask?

Think about the first time you heard "Hey Jude." It's a lot like the emergence and excitement of having a new lover. It's amazing. You want to listen to it over and over and over can't get enough of it. It's sensitive, moving and tender, and you want to sway and cling to it, breathlessly, excited to pieces.

Hearing it regularly, you to begin to know the words by heart, which is a lot like the companionship of a longer-term relationship. You may have a favorite line or phrase, and in general, the whole shebang entertains you and makes you happy. Sometimes, it's powerful enough to move you to tears of deep emotion. You love it.

After a while, though, you may feel like "Hey Jude" is overplayed. After hearing it again and again and again, you might even find yourself fast forwarding through it or avoiding it altogether. It's alright, it's not as annoying as, like, Patti LaBelle, but it's just too familiar, kinda boring, & the magic is limp. Uh oh!

Then Sir Paul McCartney enters the picture. (No, not actually in your bedroom, thank God.)

Macca's signature live performance, uh, peaks at his inclusion of "Hey Jude" (usually in the encore, if you can stomach him that long) and has during his schtick for over 30 years. It drones on for a good 15 minutes, to the anti-climactic, unnerving coda, "Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na....Hey Jude." The original song was only around 7 minutes long. That 15 minutes would be better spent slipping out of the stadium for a Jack & Coke, and is less thrilling than achieving a succession of sneezes during ragweed season.

First, Paul wants the whole crowd to sing the "Na Na" part. Then just the people on the left. Then just the people on the right. Then just the people in the middle. Then everyone again, with him. For-fucking-ever. Old hat you've heard 20,000 times. The joy you once garnered from listening to it fades away little by little and "tedious" is too kind. 

For a committed, forever Beatles fan, listening to "Hey Jude" is purely obligatory. Some bland fans still get off on it, while others are extremely burned out by it. (The latter is more likely than the former, in my experience.) Eventually, a lot of us decide we could live without enduring it for the rest of our lives and be perfectly happy.

Hearing McCartney playing it live in concert nowadays (regardless of how young/buff his backup band is), or on any given TV show or during a musical benefit, or wherever the hell else he jacks it off, you almost want to reach through the screen or jump onstage, rip the vintage Hofner bass out of his hands and smack him with it upside the head until he keels over and shuts up.

It reinforces my firm belief that humans were not meant to have one monogamous partner for their entire adulthood into old age. It's unnatural. It's boring. It's ill-planned. I don't care if it's holy and blessed and won 14 Grammys. It's a have-to, not a want-to, in most cases. You can't be a Beatles fan if you don't like "Hey Jude." (It's still more tolerable, though, than "The Word" on Rubber Soul, though, which just SUCKS and is like having to perform when you're tired and have a headache.) 

So you put it on, because you've always put it on, looping it through in the background on those rare occasions when you feel the duty to (not desire to) reminisce. That's when you hope to God it's the length of the studio version, is over quickly and not the Macca live experience....


Rob Cheney said...

Much raucous laughter in the office this morning after reading this! Its true Paul MCartney gives people the creeps. I imagine JL and GH are kind of glad that they were checked out early to avoid the humiliation

Andrea Miklasz said...

I'd totally champion Ringo getting more credit where his credit is overdue and he's just gotten cooler with age. I'm not nearly as talented, but unwittingly use a lot of unorthodox drumming techniques in much the same way as does Ringo. I have yet to tire of any of his work and he's charming.

On the other hand, Sir Paul's fake colored hair & fake plastic and/or Botox'd face are like a *fake* orgasm, & his failing attempts to be cool are like erectile dysfunction. He might be more timeless with some sonic Viagra.

"Hey Jude" would've aged better and matured with soul if they'd have just left it in the vault to nip out on rare occasions instead of it saturating schmaltz, clamoring for a spot next to that wretched Gary Glitter tune in crowded arenas (speaking of incredibly creepy AND with colored hair...).

Lennon's shaking his fists and Harrison's hoping not to be reincarnated as Macca's NEXT wife.

Rob Cheney said...

That's one thing you will never hear in the UK now is a Gary glitter tune due to him being a raging paedophile! I love ringo he is very underrated he was my mum's favorite beatle

Andrea Miklasz said...

I am pretty sure Glitter is still played here despite his conviction as a pedophile.