How the fuck did a Beatles cover album enrapture me?
There isn’t a more dried up concept than a Beatles cover album. The shit’s as unoriginal as a diorama of the solar system for a science project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good fucking album. Solid listen. But, collectively, we can stop buying this album now. It doesn’t need us anymore.
Once, on a strange exotic trip of mine, I was able to venture through ancient ruins. Seriously, this actually happened. The only other company I had was some lustful, erratic, and irate monkey staring me down like I was a strip of ass thong in a ’90s rap video (I really wanted monkeys to be nice, but they’re cunts), and a guide that protected me from the wild wilderness of simian ramrods. Suddenly, I heard an echo of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” from far off. “It’s the heat,” I thought to myself. But the song became louder the deeper I went into the jungle. Eventually, I came face to face with a beggar at the entrance of a cave mouth. His boombox was blaring out The Beatles greatest hits. There’s nowhere to hide from this shit. It’s fucking everywhere. It’s like the serial killer in a horror film. As soon as you think that it’s all over, BLAM! “Fixing a Hole” has an axe in your skull. This album has sold over 32 million copies, birthed an orphanage of tribute albums, and become both a Broadway musical and a film. If Sgt. Pepper was an udder, this tit would be drier than a popped water balloon from the summer of ’83. Shit has been milked to death.
Yet, after the bodies have been buried, the undertaker’s grandson has died of amnesia and old age, and when the only reference left to something is a misspelled word in a coloured-over history book, that’s when jazz throws on its most hypnotic and nefarious smile.
Jazz has been painting dried-up turds since its inception. It’s part of what the genre does. Each song on this album is a slim slice of the engrossing world of the artist. It features: Antonio Sanchez, Makaya McCraven, Onyx Collective, Bradley Younger, Mary Halvorson, Shabaka and the Ancestors, and a fuckton more forward-thinking jazz artists.
One day, I hope to be on a submarine painted yellow, in a strawberry field, or turning 64 without anyone making a fucking joke. It’ll never happen. The Beatles are too powerful and ubiquitous. So, instead, I acquiesce to fucking with that shit. How did a Beatles cover album grab my attention? Because this isn’t a cover album. It’s a collection of jazz artists fucking shit up proper. You might recognize the core of the songs, but that’s all that’s left. They’re growing new skin off the bones of what was. They’re birthing recycled Ringos, zombied McCartneys, regifted Georges, and frankensteined Lennons. This album isn’t regurgitating the past and selling it off as new. It’s honouring what was and moving the fuck forward. Because there’s enough stupid fucks wacking off to the greatness of what was. Hell, some of them like to wear these silly red hats while watching the newest lightsaber battle. But it’s time to move on. There’s better stuff out there. All you have to do is keep an ear open and listen for it.
3 thoughts on “Various Artists – A Day in the Life: Impressions of Pepper”
Nothing is more hackneyed and boring than leaving a comment about your experience with The Beatles (and nothing’s more fun than discussing it with friends IRL), so I’ll skip that. Instead, I’ll reaffirm how solid this comp is, but I’ll quibble only with the second-last sentence, “There’s better stuff out there.” Sure, there’s *as good* stuff out there. And sure as fuck there’s stuff that hasn’t had the flesh burnt off by the endless exposure of 50+ years of boomer adoration. But I talked with a mate just today about how many of their songs function as singalongs; the fact that the music still lasts just proves, really, that I don’t think there is *better* stuff out there.
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That said, Kill Yr Idols and all.
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