Monday, February 9, 2009
Robert Christgau's "Grown Up All Wrong"
I have always maintained that people's dislike of Yoko Ono was a sexism-informed type of injustice. As if Yoko Ono would have been able to break the Beatles up when they were making great music and, most importantly, when they were putting up with one another! Not a chance. This is simply a matter of opinion.
I happen to think that the creative impulse is much greater and more powerful than any human input we get externally.
'Familiarity breeds contempt' says the old a-la-Freud phrase. At times it might not but very often it does.
Maybe John had enough of Paul, George, and the other guy.
I have always thought the latter to be a much more plausible and human nature-informed reaction than the ludicrous blaming of Yoko.
Oh, Yoko, how they hate.
Now, whether you think rock 'n roll is relevant or not, you will find Robert Christgau's book Grown Up All Wrong: 75 Great Rock and Pop Artists from Vaudeville to Techno informative, gripping, and oozing a true love for music.
One's love for music cannot be artificially acquired. Music lives in one. Like the day you decide to skip a meal and listen to a record because it feeds you more. Or the other time you drop all things of significance to hear Matt Bellame of Muse because, for some reason, his music makes more sense to you than all the things of importance you do during the day, or the time you say no to a game of Ping-Pong because you'd rather 'rock' to Verdi.
Christgau, a rock journalist par excellence broods over the socio-historical/political aspect of the genius of rock 'n roll.
Instead of pontificating over the for-lack-of-a-better-word significance of rock 'n roll, consider Christgau's explanation as to why the Beatles broke up:
"The Beatles broke up because they were idealistic enough to be convinced of their historical mission and realistic enough to know they were no longer capable of carrying it forward. The Beatles broke up because they didn't see or care that the corporate life of a rock group could endure long after its collective life was kaputt. The Beatles broke up because the couple is a more stable structure than the four-way. The Beatles broke up because three of them believed they were geniuses and only one one of them was. The Beatles broke up because they thought they were immortal. The Beatles broke up because they couldn't stand each other anymore" (125).
Do read Christgau's book. If nothing else, it will inform. Most adequately.