I don’t hate the Beatles in the least bit, but for a long time I did take an unpopular position against them, mostly just as a knee jerk reaction against the mainstream. All the cheap merchandise, the overexposure, the boppy fans who just listen to what is fed to them over the radio and don’t make much effort to educate themselves about music… it can really start to weigh on a guy. Sometimes you have to lash out and loudly declare that the “Beatles suck, this record is overplayed suck,” at your girlfriend’s birthday party when she puts on “Sgt. Pepper’s,” her favorite album, and just stand there drinking bourbon straight from the bottle while her horrified girlfriends look on.
Yeah, nobody likes that guy. But sometimes, you have to shake people up, open their eyes for their own good. With the Beatles on iTunes now we can only expect them to be more ubiquitous than ever. Of course, there are good ways, and jerk off ways of calling attention to the issue. Vulture’s pointers on How to Hate the Beatles, leans safely to the former. I recommend it. Here’s excerpts from the first three:
1. Make sure you like something interesting. As soon as you’ve announced that you hate the Beatles, the first question on some people’s minds will be what the hell you think is so much better, then, big shot…..
2. Pick the right Beatles song to begrudgingly enjoy. The Beatles released many songs of many types, and you will be called upon to confess that there is at least one you enjoy. You should do this: It’s an issue of good faith. Just be sure that the one song you enjoy doesn’t explain your taste too well. For instance, if you only enjoy heavy music, don’t say that “Helter Skelter” is okay. It’ll be much more fascinating if you listen to nothing but Satan-obsessed thrash metal but enjoy the song “Piggies”…
3. Use the Beatles against themselves. The Beatles thought loads of different musicians were interesting, and sometimes it’s fun to tell Beatles fans you agree. Some of the options are obvious, like saying you enjoy the American music the Beatles were inspired by — Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, etc. But how about the highbrow stuff the band got into later on, like German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, or Yoko Ono’s Fluxus art scene? John Lennon thought Ono was really cool, and there’s nothing more pleasant than telling Beatles fans you concur. Recommend the six-CD Onobox, just so you can explain to people how childish their laughter is.
I find that one of the most effective things to do is slip some Kink’s into the rotation, and not the clear channel approved radio hits, but stuff a lot people aren’t that familiar with like “Dead End Street,” or “Victoria.” They’ll think it’s an old Beatles song they’ve never heard before and start raving and you’ll have them. Then you can admit that the Beatles are treasure, it’s just important to know why, and you can let it be. Read the full pointers list here.