Friday, August 21, 2015
The Beatles – “What Goes On” from Rubber Soul (1965 Parolophone)


No no no no no. This is not how this is supposed to go. Today is the one year anniversary of the Shuffler, where, with 96 shuffles and two mixtapes, we’re two posts shy of one hundred. Close enough for jazz, as they say — today is supposed to be a day of celebration.

And what do I get?

The Beatles.

The motherfucking Beatles.

That doesn’t seem fair.

So, speaking of anniversaries and nice round numbers and such, I’ll be brief and say this: “What Goes On” came out fifty years ago on Rubber Soul. It was their sixth album. It’s a fine example of British lads playing Americana and doing it extremely well.

As for doing things well, in the half century since this record came out, countless people have written about it, most (if not all) of them doing a much better job than I could. You should read them. I’m going to pour a drink and enjoy the milestone.

It’s been a hell of a year.

My wife was kind enough to point out a couple of things. First, that I copped out, which I fully own, because WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO IT’S THE BEATLES?! But also, and more importantly, that it sounds like maybe I don’t even like the Beatles or this song, which is actually not true in either case. Many people talk about how this is the weakest track on Rubber Soul (see link #6 below), but maybe that’s just because this sort of mountain twang is a little more country than what people have/had come to expect from the fab four, but I’d posit that a) taken on its own, this song definitely stands up, and maybe this part is crazy but b) it wouldn’t be so super far-fetched to say that this song presaged alt-country by some decades. Listen, really listen to this song, because I defy anyone to tell me that if Tweedy and co. released this song tomorrow, those same goofhead bloggers from Beatles Bible (I mean
really) wouldn’t be all over it. Well, okay, maybe they wouldn’t, being sort of myopic in their scope and all, but you know what I mean. It’s a damn good song, none of that “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” bullshit (and honestly, even that track, bonkers though it may be, sounds pretty damn good. And anyway, it’s on a different album). That clear enough? I’m going back to my celebratory beers and reflecting on the silver linings of an otherwise difficult year.

(this last one has lots of strong opinions about this particular track)


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