There’s a lot going on in The White Album. It tells the tale of a dysfunctional, supremely talented family on the verge of a breakdown. Stretched out over four sides of vinyl, its troughs are as much part of the appeal as its peaks. I say ‘stretched’ but all the songs are pretty tight, staying under four minutes for the vast majority. Only one track is significantly longer and that’s not a song it’s a sound collage, a piece of avant garde art. I say ‘tight’ when some songs wander around aimlessly during those four minutes. I’m looking at you Bungalow Bill, Rocky Racoon and Don’t Pass Me By, all of which seem longer than they are.
The Afterword loves a poll. Let’s see if we can reach consensus on which side of The Beatles is the best.
There is a scoring mechanism, so please pay attention. You are allowed four votes. First place scores five points, second three, third two and fourth one.
To keep the thread lively make sure you show your reasoning and your workings out. Otherwise, each of your votes will have a point deducted. Bonus points will be awarded if your reasoning makes me laugh or makes me consider changing my mind.
Side three is easily the most consistent. Each track is at least good to very good and there are no duffers. Long, Long, Long is bloody excellent, possibly the best song on the whole album. Mother Nature’s Son is also superb, probably Paul’s best contribution to The White Album and a template for his early solo career. Otherwise, he gets to play with the whole band on Birthday and Helter Skelter and seems to enjoy it very much. Side three can make a case for being the most energetic and lively, proper Rock side of vinyl of the sixties. Apart from the misery in Yer Blues, the sarcasm in Sexy Sadie, the aggression in Helter Skelter (they were trying to be louder than The Who) and the heartache in Long, Long, Long, it is a very happy side (!). Plus, there is the essential ingredient of a bell, possibly a cowbell, on Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey.
Side one is bookended by four excellent songs, Back In The USSR, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Happiness Is A Warm Gun but between them, it sags. Side Two drags from Blackbird onwards and despite the ethereal beauty of Julia and the charm of I Will, never properly recovers. Side Four doesn’t really get going, no matter how fond I am of Savoy Truffle and Cry, Baby, Cry.
Poll closes when I feel like totting up the score.