…I love Magical Mystery Tour. Love love LOVE it.
Maybe it was seeing the movie as an impressionable 12-year-old at the Tivoli Theater in St. Louis, wreathed in pot smoke and surrounded by kids from Wash U.; or maybe it’s the fact that most of the LP is singalong singles; or maybe it’s the shimmery quality of the production (Elliot Smith was trying to recreate the MMT sound in his home studio when he died); or maybe it’s the fact that the group still seems to have the “free from touring but still interested in being Beatles” vibe going… For whatever reason(s), it’s the Beatles album that I listen to the most.
Magical Mystery Tour Best Beatles Album? Maybe.
In a related heresy, I always cringe a bit when people call the White Album their favorite. They’re free to, of course, but it’s a bit alienating because I wonder what they’re hearing. I hear all the great raw material of India filtered through a brutal six months of international bloodshed, heroin paranoia, rockstar hubris and internal discord. I suppose what I hear is the conditions that allowed The Beatles to arise—in the Buddhist sense of this phrase—beginning to dissipate. White has some superb tracks and I enjoy those, but it’s one long bad vibe for me. I hear the group starting to sicken and die, and it’s the group that I love most about The Beatles.
MMT’s the anti-White Album, short instead of long, happy instead of tense, pot and LSD-infused instead of sodden with smack. MMT always makes me feel good—to me, it’s Pepper with better songs. If that makes me lesser as a listener, so be it. In my not-so-humble, White is pop music consciously attempting to be art, while MMT is pop music so good it is art. Perhaps that’s why critics love White and dis MMT; MMT resists cultural critique, while White demands it (especially Lennon’s work).
Whew. Felt good to get that off my chest. Anybody else got any shocking divergences of Beatle taste they’d like to share? While you’re thinking, here are some home movies taken from the filming of the movie.