14
Oct 09

The Most Important Game Ever Made #14: Georgebot Is Still A Playa

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That’s Nellie McKay’s version of ‘If I Needed Someone’, which by a strange coincidence is what the Beatlebots plough onto in their historic Shea Stadium gig.

Nellie sings it bored, amused and aloof, purring her practised response to yet another admirer, the picture of decadence. I can see a male performer getting away with a similar reading – some smirking, satanic Noel Coward figure – but not George Harrison, and certainly not George Harrison doing his Byrds impression, and absolutely definitely certainly not Georgebot the Robot Harrison, who’s been suffering lately from a breakdown in his suavity matrix. Let’s see how he handles it:

Okay, well, whatever Georgebot lost, he’s gotten back in spades – the smirk is in full evidence, the poise that seemed mechanical in the last song seems effortlessly self-assured now, the long, shaggy locks that just mark the passage of time on the other models seem like a conscious style choice, a way of playing up Georgebot’s sexy rebel appeal. He looks amused and aloof, but not bored – this is what he’s here for.

The song itself is Harrison doing the Byrds, according to the in-game factoids, and it sounds nice and plays even nicer. The guitar part is pleasantly tricky (the bass is a bit samey, but never mind) and it’s the perfect chance to show off your three mics and vocally harmonise. (According to legend, as I mentioned previously, you can play the real life drums after you’ve completed the drum parts on expert – I’d go as far as to say that if you can complete the harmonies on expert, you’re ready to form a barbershop quartet.)

As for the sound – it’s wistful, but disconnected; the whole thing feels like a white lie, a letting-down-gently, and the line that feels the most false is George’s near-emotionless ‘I’m too much in love’, sung in the voice of someone for whom love is an academic exercise at best. In love with himself, perhaps – or maybe pulling the classic “it’s not you, it’s me”. It’s the listener who’s too much in love, and George just can’t be bothered to respond. We’re back to Drimble Wedge again, another variation on the theme of inability to care. If George could love, he’d probably love you. Honest. Why don’t you carve your phone number into his wall and he’ll see what he can do – could be lucky!

I’m reminded of a book that used to be on the shelves at home called Starlust, by Fred Vermorel – a look into the fantasy lives of various starstruck music fans and the various ways they consumed, abused and worshipped the ideas of their pop idols. It was a fascinating read – there’s what seems like a whole chapter on one housewife’s obsession with Barry Manilow, another on a particularly disturbing David Bowie fetish that seems to hover on the point of homicide, and a lusty S&M fantasy involving Adam Ant’s supposed post-concert desires that apparently horrified the man himself. The idea of carving your phone number into a star’s wall – presumably the front wall of their house – fits right in with the creepy, yearning vibe of most of the book; a tiny act of vandalism charged with all the significance of a religious offering, boiling with blocked and unchanneled emotional and sexual energy – a lot more intense and less healthy than anything Adam Ant could inspire, even back when leather trousers were in.

George is revelling in it – where other Beatles songs have offered true love, George is telling it like it is. He’s offering nothing but permission – you can, if you wish, worship me. I’m so very busy, but nonetheless I will graciously allow it. Leave your phone number. Could be lucky.

He’s playing with fire  – Paulbot and Johnbot huddle nervously around the microphone, planning their escape, as the pixellated girls scream ever louder.

NEXT: ‘She Loves You’ – the opposing viewpoint.

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