Posts from 25th May 2006

25
May 06

THE BEATLES – “All You Need Is Love”

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#235, 22nd July 1967

On the I Love Music message board, someone just asked for a definition of “schlock”. I answered, because I wanted to be in the pub and not at work, “anything that you only like when you’re drunk”. I don’t like this song any extra when I’m sloshed but when I listened to it just now what I heard was a song that sounds drunk itself, that’s trying to be my idea of schlock. That reeling trumpet after every line on the chorus, the way the song breaks down into tunelets and shout-outs at the end, the final bleary nostalgia as “She Loves You” crashes the party?.it’s less “All You Need Is Love”, more “You’re My Best Mate, You Are”.

And why not? If you’re sold on the idea of intoxication as a way to world consciousness, you’re going to need a universal intoxicant. “All You Need Is Love” is hardly prime Beatles, or prime anybody – it’s lumbering, ripe for parody, more affable than moving – but ‘write a song for the first global TV link up’ is a big ask by any standards, and it’s not surprising their panacea is more beery shoulder-clasps than LSD ego-death. The woeful koans of the verses, though, don’t even approach the rudimentary wisdom of hop and grape.