While creating a catalog that’s stood the test of time and is universally adored by basically everyone, it’s amusing to see just how many stupid songs The Beatles were able to get away with. I love all of them, even the ones I say are terrible, but wow, there are simply alarmingly high levels of goofiness on a lot of their songs, especially in their later, more critically adored work.
All while bands of that era delved into psychedelic strangeness, obviously, but it would usually lead to more heaviness. For The Beatles, they always found the childlike wonderment in it, and could turn such a minimal idea into a song with so much room for interpretation. It’s a great testament to their dedication to production and their natural gifts as songwriters, because they seriously turned some of the dumbest ideas into timeless songs that would have been a completely forgotten about one-off novelty hit in less capable hands.
Bless these very dumb geniuses.
Mean Mr. Mustard
Unsurprisingly, quite a few Abbey Road songs made this list. It’s incredible how detestable Mean Mr. Mustard the person is after just hearing about him within the confines of a 1 minute song. This guy comes off like a possible Roald Dahl character. My heart goes out to his sister Pam, who John Lennon then says looks like a man in the very next song like a real putzface. Who’s he to make that sort of comment about such a doting sister taking her dirtbag brother to see the Queen all the time? For shame.
This is basically a Bob Dylan parody. It’s not as good as Weird Al’s, but it was fine for the time. And there are a lot of really spot-on Dylan elements here: a bare boned acoustic guitar, intimate, non layered, vocals and more stupid harmonica than you could ever ask for.
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
John was feeling a little lazy during the recording process of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s not often talked about because the best moments from the album were heavily John related, but it happened. My favorite example of this has to be the fact that basically every word from Mr. Kite was taken off a vintage circus poster. On one hand, it speaks to Lennon’s genius as a songwriter that he can eke a psychedelic pop gem out of such an arbitrary piece of inspiration. On the other, my heart truly goes out to Paul for having to hear what must have been the most half baked and aloof pitch for a song ever.
I Am The Walrus
Anything off Magical Mystery Tour should just be accepted as silly for the sake of silly. A lot of weirdness happens on that album. But ‘I Am The Walrus’ is a special case, considering how its meaninglessly weird lyrics were inspired by the desire to spite a high school teacher who wrote to John Lennon to tell him that he taught a class that analyzed Beatles songs.
Part of me hopes that Lennon spent the rest of his life jabbing this teacher throughout the years. Like, every month or so, this working class teacher would get a letter in the mail from John Lennon, the most famous person in the world, and it would be is a booger smeared on a blank sheet of paper with the message ‘analyze this, dickhole’ written at the bottom. I’m being too mean to John Lennon right now. I’m sorry, Ghost Lennon. Let’s make fun of Ringo.
I’m limiting this list to one Ringo song because I am a merciful human being. The thing is, most of these dumb Beatles songs are able to toe the line pretty well. The lyrical content might lean towards being a goofy kids song, but the production choices are usually stellar enough for it to be a compelling listen. With Ringo at the helm, they go full Wiggles with the corniness. The guitar tuning is so so cheesy. I hate it. There’s even that stupid little guitar plucking finale that’s usually reserved for fucking hee-haw. Ugh. The worst.
And Your Bird Can Sing
The way ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ is used here makes it seem as though John thinks it’s an already well known idiom or he’s trying to turn it into one. My mom does this all the time. Whenever I’m looking for something that winds up being in a place right in front of my face, she gleefully chants “water at the beach”. Because, you know, when you go to the beach, finding water is pretty easy. Hyuck hyuck. Well, that’s basically how I feel every time I hear this song. Just a failed attempt at trying to create a cool expression.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
The cheeriest ditty you’ll ever hear about a out of control murderer. Maxwell kills a lot of people. It’s this cute, charming little character quirk of his. The most disturbing/my favorite part of this song is the little chuckle Paul McCartney has when saying the word ‘writing’ in the second verse about Maxwell’s teacher reprimanding him. Because he knows that Maxwell’s about to murder again. For Maxwell is Paul’s creation and Maxwell will do whatever is asked of him. Also, it seems as though both Paul and John have strained relationships with educators. Who knows what that’s about.
Oh, and speaking of mass murderers… Look at all these connections I’m making! I mean, you’ve gotta get at least a few dumb points for inspiring one of the most psychotic minds of the last 50 years. Especially since the song is literally just Paul discussing what happens when he rides a roller coaster. Which says everything about the 8 year old boy essence of most Beatles songs. Their most hard rocking song ever is about a fun day at Six Flags.
I’m just going to add ‘Piggies’ here at the end because watching this animated video of pigs shitting for 2 minutes and then a choir of pig shits singing at the end is mandatory viewing for everybody.