The Beatles 100 Best Songs, according to me (1-10)

2 09 2010

I readily admit that “best of” lists are incredibly cliche, almost to the point of being completely boring.  They’re easy.  Making lists is creative laziness.  I guess that means I’m copping to taking the easy way out.

For whatever reason, this topic has been calling to me the last few days.  I was somewhat displeased with some what Rolling Stone did with its current special edition issue that lists the Beatles’ 100 greatest songs.

Beatles songs, for me, can’t be ranked best to worst or favorite to least favorite.  I like nearly every single one of them and love most of them.  I don’t have a favorite, and I wouldn’t pretend that something this subject could be ranked with any kind of accuracy.

But I can tell you what I think are their best songs.  The order is not an accurate 1-100.  The no. 40 song might not be “better” than the no. 73 song.  Surely, though, the favorites of my favorites will tend to be in the lower numbers.  I assume the ones that will first come to mind are those that mean the most to me.

Without further ado, here’s my top 100 Beatles songs, nos. 1-10.

1.   A Day In the Life — There just aren’t too many pop songs that are also mind-blowing artistic statements of this caliber.  Everything about it is brilliant!

2.  Tomorrow Never Knows — Why don’t the Beatles get credit for pioneering house or even trip hop?  TNK is 20-some years ahead of its time.  I still think there hasn’t been much that even comes close to matching the rhythm section of this song.  I get shivers just about every time I hear it.

3.  Hey Jude — 20 years ago, this was the vogue song to put at the tops of greatest rock songs ever countdowns that all the classic rock stations would do on holiday weekends.  Invariably, Hey Jude and Stairway to Heaven would be sitting right at the top, maybe with Satisfaction hanging around at no. 3.  Many Beatles fans might not even put that as their favorite Beatles song anymore, let alone as the best song in rock history.  For my money, it’s an amazing song.  It just does everything you want a bright, positive pop song to do.  And, despite the fact that it’s a piano song, it’s got balls.

4.  Girl — This might be the most underrated song in the Beatles’ catalog.  How cool are John’s teethy inhales?

5.  In My Life — No one — no one! — has better expressed the emotions you go through looking back on your life than John did in this song.  Oh, people have told more detailed stories, painted more clear pictures with words.  But this song is straight to the gut.

6.  Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) — John absolute owned Rubber Soul.  Macca was solid on that album, but John simply dominated.  NW is one of the best pop songs of all time George’s sitar make it a groundbreaker.  Paul and John’s vocals are top notch and the subject matter is quite funny.

7. Dear Prudence — Rolling Stone’s list described this as something like a child’s song.  Rubbish!  DP is a wonderful example of less being more.  The melody is simple but beautiful.  The lyrics are straightforward, not artsy at all.  But they work because they convey some kind of feeling.  I find this lovingly haunting.  There’s just no other song like it.

8.  Lady Madonna — This is a great example of Paul borrowing from other genres.  He took sounds that were…well…something else…jazzy perhaps…and made them rock and roll.  He also made a hard driving song with mass appeal and interesting lyrics.  This is one of my favorite Beatles songs from a guitar standpoint.

9.  I’ll Be Back —This song didn’t even crack RS’s top 100, but I think it’s one of their best early songs.  The vocal work is great.  Somehow the boys found a way to make all those minor chords and heartache sound upbeat.

10.  I’ve Got A Feeling — There’s little going on with Macca’s lyrics.  They’re about as simple as you can get.  The song is big and full and fat and flowing.  The bass just hums; you can make it shake your whole house.  I like John’s “everybody had a hard year” bit worked into it.  It has nothing to do with what Paul’s talking about, bit it is a good use of a song fragment.  IGAF is really the last Lennon-McCartney collaboration of that kind.