For some reason I have a bunch of nonsense in my feeds about old people music today, a phenomenon whose majestic inertia continues to appall.
People, look: the Beatles are not the greatest band of all time. Some people think so, but those people tend to have a couple of things in common, notably that they’re very old, very wrong, and stink of a nostalgic desperation that gets worse every year. I know, I know, your demographic wants very badly for the bestest band ever to be some icon of your dimly-remembered youth, as opposed to that noise those kids on your lawn are listening to these days, but every generation wants that. And I know that the lurching demographic hunchback of the most self-absorbed generation in history has got the Beatles’ aging backs, sure. But in music criticism as in all things there is nothing good on this earth that baby boomers can’t collectively screw up for the rest of us. But there’s just so many good choices now, why stay hung up on this one?
Furthermore, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is not the greatest album ever, mainly because it’s not even the best album by the Beatles, a title that belongs to either Revolver or the White Album depending on your mood. Have you really listened to it recently? In the last ten years, at a time when you’ve got a clear head and good speakers and not when you’re not drunk or high on Aleve or racked out with crippling maudlin nostalgia? Yeah, I didn’t think so, but you should try it. In the cold light of a modern morning a good two thirds of that album is children’s music, “Peter, Paul and Mary” for people scared of encroaching middle age instead of the dark. And anyone willing to go on about the Beatles’ brilliant harmonies should put the title track and Mr. Kite on repeat and call me in an hour.
Honestly, I don’t know what the answer to the “greatest band” question is; I’m not even willing concede that it’s a meaningful question. Most popular? Most successful? Most influential? The Beatles, and Sgt. Pepper, are none of those, but: I encourage you to broaden your horizons, old people. It’s never too late.
But really, I’d just like you all to shut up about the Beatles for once.