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Lent and the White Album

February 14, 2008

I am a Beatles fan.  I have all of their CDs (well, I don’t have 1 or the newer boxed sets of their American releases but I prefer the British Parlophone tracklists anyway).

I’ve always had a weird relationship with the White Album.  We’re both from 1968.  It’s a fractured kind of album, almost like three solo albums mixed into a group album.  It’s long, sprawling, ambitious, experimental.  I used to think mine was warped whenever I listened to While My Guitar Gently Weeps until I figured out that it was mastered with George Martin’s thumb on the tape reel and it was supposed to sound that way.  Some days I think it’s the Beatles’ best work.  Other days I think it might be their worst.

Like many Beatle fans, I’ve always had a tendency to skip over the most troublesome track: Revolution 9.   It’s creepy.  It’s scary.  It sounds like a nightmare.  Its pastiche of random noises, backward music, its overall dreamy but druggy sound.

(of course, back in the day I had a cassette player in the car and the White Album minus Revolution 9 would fit on a 90-minute tape)

Thing is, you can’t really skip that song and get the White Album experience.   Sure, you get some of the music, but you miss the feeling of the overall work.  Sweet songs like Honey Pie and funny songs like Savoy Truffle sound almost ominous, because it’s coming!  It’s just lurking there at the end of side 4, waiting to creep you out.  You’ll want to skip it and go straight to the lullaby of Good Night so you can be done with it.

But you just can’t.  Not and truly experience the album.

As we enter into the season of Lent, the Cross is just sitting there.  Good Friday sits right at the end of side 4 – lurking, waiting.  It’s gonna creep you out.  It’s a big, bloody chaotic mess with its random shouts of “Crucify Him!”  Even the happy hymns like In the Garden and Morning Has Broken and Sweet Hour of Prayer seem creepy because you know what’s coming.  You’ll want to skip right over it and go straight to Easter.

But you just can’t.  Not and truly experience Lent.

So brace yourselves.  We’re not skipping over it.  Just grit your teeth and be ready.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    February 14, 2008 3:57 pm

    A Beatles devotion…now thats something I can get behind. Thank you friend, for your thoughts today. They are needed and welcomed.

  2. February 14, 2008 7:39 pm

    LOVE the analogy! WELL DONE…from one Beatles fan to another!

  3. February 15, 2008 2:43 am

    I have always thought that the White Album was their best. And it’s true, you can’t really skip any tracks and get the full experience.

    PS, that was a great segue.

  4. Mark permalink
    February 15, 2008 8:48 am

    This might be the devotional that I can completely identify with. Thanks for the words.

  5. February 18, 2008 3:09 pm

    HOW HOW HOW did I miss this? I haven’t even read the post yet but I can’t believe I haven’t seen it. ART, you knew this was here, why didn’t you tell me? Through ranting, going to read now. Jen

  6. February 18, 2008 3:29 pm

    Hey again. I am well read now. Loved how you used two such different things and made them relevant together. Truly inspired. I don’t have anything mind blowing to add. I love the Beatles, they are my oldest musical love. I am a Revolution 9 skipper, although I did make my kids sit through it. You have to listen to it at least once to be a Beatles fan. Also, Helter Skelter was ruined for me by Charles Manson but the version on Across the Universe gave it back to me. I am a Beatles purist – I don’t go GA GA over Sir Paul’s work. I do enjoy John Lennon occasionaly.

    As for the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, I will be at Walmart this evening buying some. I will defeat my Scum Monkies! Thanks Will – Jen

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