haha ! No need for re-listening this time, all of them seem familiar. So more time to comment.
There are two obstacles to doing justice to all of them. Firstly, I’m tending to have sportsmanlike sympathy with the underdog, which is everything but BW or the BB, which is the Beatles (!), which is the minimal choice you have, retrieving them on Youtube. Second, I’m happy to have given at least one useful proposal throughout all these years which made it to the finals. So that song grows one me even more, if this is possible at all. Here’s a bit of arguing.
If I Fell (Beatles), 1964, from the Hard Day’s Night movie
Funny movie (why b/w ??), great soundtrack, good album. The album’s best sequence, however, is over after listening to the first five seconds. I mean that world-famous big fat Rickenbacker 12string chord right at the beginning. The rest, imo, can’t keep up with their incomparable streak of masterpieces by length, which started later that year with “I Feel Fine”. If somebody had been able to exchange the letters a little bit, and to find this one on Youtube, it would have been top 3 for me. But this way, not my piece of cake.
This Whole World, BB, 1970
not one of my favourites, although I’m remembering some music analyzer in a BW TV documentation hailing its chord progressions very much. Maybe it’s because they’re a bit too hard for me, playing the piano, maybe it’s because of preferring Add Some Music among their work of that style and that time (easier to plonk, easier to sing).
Help Me Rhonda, BB, 1965
a very nice song, though it might have sounded a bit retro already in 1965, when people were able to do California Girls and Rubber Soul, and when a few people even had that revolutionary green sleeve production inside their heads which nowadays is being compared to Shakespeare turning up to read us Hamlet. Al Al Cool J. at his very best, it’s a gas to have it performed on BW+Friends shows today.
The Ballad of John And Yoko, Beatles, 1969
Here we get to their real masterpieces. I remember there was an EP realease in 1969 with 4 very ambitioned songs that didn’t make it to any of their contemporary albums (White A., Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, Abbey Road), for whatever reasons. 3 of these 4 songs are among my Top 10 Beatles songs, with only one falling back a tiny little bit … this ballad. But that’s complaining on a very high level.
You Still Believe In Me, BW+the Background Boys, 1966
Though I still don’t buy the refined lyrics because of all his downs that followed, I think it’s an amazing song by the most gifted babyface of that time. No need here for praising the production and the vocals – that’s why we all are here. Great idea to find a sequel to the famous bicycle horn in 2015 on NPP … “if you drive your car to the county fair, or ride your bicycle anywhere ...”. That BW moment makes a tear roll down for me. It’s from the godfather of symbolism, saying “hey, it’s me again, but this time you really can believe”.
Oxygen To The Brain, BW and Scary Scotty, 2008
Oh that great album, oh that great autobiographic song, oh that great lyricist and collaborator, in a row with VDP and TA. Oh that latent idiotism sleeping in people’s brains and pants and pussies (sorry, I’m getting political again...). Back in my week, there was that fantastic “Heffalumps And Woozles” song (I’m immediately tapping the march and whistling, writing this). A Brian song like OTTB was needed to beat it for me.
Surf’s up, BW and the Wrecking Crew, 1967/2011
The big challenge of this week will be, not to make it the song of the year without reflecting. So no further laudatio, that would be distorting competition. Stop … only one thing … I like the Jewish symbol in the piano video. Intended or not, this is a statement. All the best to Marilyn and her familiy, on this occasion.
Cabin Essence, Brian and Carl and Mike (with question marks in his eyes), 1966/67
One of BWPS’s live show peaks in 2004. Scotty’s “hey mister ...” and Brian’s hand gestures nail it for me. The Jolly Fiddling Swedes, beautiful Taylor Mills in her breathtaking Pet Sounds coloured robe, Darian and Scott in their sorcerer’s apprentice t-shirts, swaying up and down behind their mikes. WHAT A GREAT BAND. The old track stands back behind all this quite a bit, sorry.
Don’t Talk (BW and the Weird Wall Of Strings), 1966
Is this song really back from that year ? Sorry, people (including me) have written so much about this track, but is it really from 1966, only one year past “Help Me Rhonda” ? A pity Brian is no longer able so sing this in an appropriate way, and no other band member even dares to try. Once more, I’m regretting Taylor’s absence.
Lay Down Burden (BW, 1998)
The real “Brian Is Back” track for me, announcing what was about to come in the 21st century – one of the greatest “elder rock star” comebacks of all time (only maybe second to Tina Turner or Peter Gabriel), and much more than anyone could have expected. The Imagination album, on the whole, seems to represent the moment when the time capsule opens and H. G. Wells steps out of it, saying “I just wasn’t made for those times”. The song, however, is not among Brian’s greatest work for me, sorry. But what we hear for the very first time, is Brian’s aged voice which doesn’t need to hide behind the past. It’s different, not worse.
What results for me, is this ranking:
1. Don’t Talk
2. Surf’s Up
3. John + Yoko
5. You Still Believe In Me
6. Cabin Essence
7. Help Me Rhonda
8. This Whole World
9. Lay Down Burden
10. If I Fell
Thank you Darren, again, for conducting this game for another year. Everybody keep your heads up, I feel like having another 4 rounds of it – that’ll help me to give a sh*t on all brain blondes in the meantime.
"The Wall Builders"
"here's why encapsulating makes no sense !"
"Metallzeitung", members' issue Feb 2017, metal workers union "IG Metall"