Monday, November 24, 2008

"Four Decades Late, Beatlemania Sweeps Vatican"... or, "L'Osservatore: 'We Want a Revolution"'

For something like this, just one header can't suffice: precisely on the 40th anniversary of John, Paul, George and Ringo's eponymous release -- usually known as the "White Album" -- no less than the Papal Paper joined in the celebrations:
"Forty years later, this album remains a type of magical musical anthology: 30 songs you can go through and listen to at will, certain of finding some pearls that even today remain unparalleled," it said.

With rock songs like "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Helter Skelter," ballads like "Julia" and "Blackbird," and dreamlike pieces like "Dear Prudence," the album represents the "creative summit" of the Beatles' career, it said.

What characterized the "White Album" and the Beatles best music in general was an inventiveness that stands in stark contrast with popular music today, the newspaper said.

"Record products today seem mostly standardized and stereotyped, far from the creativity of the Beatles," it said. The modern pop music industry is too willing to sacrifice originality and fantasy in order to satisfy the consumer models it has adopted and promoted, it said.

The newspaper also recalled that the Beatles were recording with rudimentary tools compared to those used by the high-tech recording industry today. Even so, "a listening experience like that offered by the Beatles is truly rare," it said.

As for John Lennon's famous quip in 1966 that the Beatles were more famous [sic -- the actual quote was "more popular"] than Jesus Christ, the Vatican newspaper dismissed it as youthful bragging.

"The phrase that provoked profound indignation, especially in the United States, after so many years sounds merely like the boast of a working-class English youth faced with unexpected success," it said.
For the record, what became known as Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" quote read as follows:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
(And the group that led the charge for the frontman's head, you ask? The KKK. No joke.)

For your full cultural immersion experience, though, a piece of the musical greatness, albeit live:

Now, if that doesn't blow your mind, God only knows what could.

But before any of the superfans get hopped up -- no, this isn't the slower-grade "White" version, known as "Revolution 1," but an outgrowth of it.
And a better one at that.