Listening to Revolver now, I’m struck by the amazing stance that the Beatles had at this particular time. The back foot was lifting off from their pop past and moptop heyday, while the front foot was just about to touch down on the strange ground they would travel on Sgt. Pepper. They were keenly aware of everyone who was expecting – in some cases demanding – that they be exactly the same as they had been since they first set foot on American shores. And for those people, you have tracks like “Here, There, and Everywhere,” “Good Day Sunshine,” and “For No One.” But the majority of the music takes forays into the strange and groundbreaking. In that, the Beatles are saying,” Look, we’re changing. We’re in the process of it. So you can either come along for the ride, or get left behind.”

“Yellow Submarine” caused me a lot of grief. Back when I was a Beatles Hater, I would say “I can’t get into a band whose most significant contribution to the world was ‘we all live in a yellow submarine.’” It was a wrong step saying that was their biggest contribution when it obviously isn’t so. Again, though, I didn’t care whether what I was saying was true, only that it distinguished me from everyone else. I still think the lyrics are silly and a little ridiculous, but the song fits right in with the fantastical and bizarre tone this album has.

Songs like “Yellow Submarine” inject some fun, whimsy, and just-plain wackiness. Granted, the lyrics to “Yellow Submarine” probably inspire more scratched heads than wide smiles, but the bouncy, sing-along rhythm is pretty infectious, and that’s really why it has endured.

That infectiousness is what made the Beatles big in the first place, and it is part of what keeps us talking about their music to this day. I would say that no living person has more of a gift for writing superglue-in your-head songs than Paul McCartney. Sometimes they’re instantaneous things, and sometimes they wear you down with their undefeatable catchiness. “Good Day Sunshine” is one such song. Paul’s blazing optimism and way-too-twee sense of the world being a wonderful place is all over this track. It almost made me gag the first time I heard it.

Let me give you an example. You know how if you eat too many Oreos all at once, your stomach rebels against you and you don’t feel like eating for the rest of the day? The first time you do that, your Oreo limit is about 6 or 7. “Good Day Sunshine” is like having a month’s worth of Oreos all at once. It’s loaded with calories and a ton of the most useless kind of fat, all in just over two minutes. But here’s the thing. For whatever reason, you do the Oreo binge a second time. And then a third, fourth and fifth time. And then a 10th. And then a 20th. Eventually, your Oreo limit is about 45. You’re sucking down the whole bag without batting an eye. “Good Day Sunshine” (and the larger part of Paul’s Beatles catalog) works the same way. You keep coming back to it, and you don’t even know why. Eventually, the sappy , sugary sweetness that Paul does so well is not only tolerable, but expected – nay, needed.

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