With as acerbic a title as ‘The Turd in the Caviar,’ The Onion’s A.V. Club list this week runs down 24(!) tracks on great albums that are so misplaced they threaten to ruin a given album’s overall worth.
So is there any surprise that the Beatles top this list as well? “Revolution 9” from the sprawling double album The Beatles (AKA: The White Album) is decided as the most drastically misplaced song, particularly grating for its placement between the ‘lullaby-esque’ “Cry Baby Cry” and “Good Night.”
Also on this list: Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35,” from Blonde on Blonde, “Meeting Across the River” from Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Elvis Presley’s “Old Shep.”
I won’t touch on “Rainy Day Women,” because it is a perfect opener to such an expansive album, and especially coming from an artist like Dylan. And I agree that “Meeting Across the River” is a little schmaltzy in light of the epics that surround it. But I am tired of critics and fans alike pointing to “Revolution 9” as a misstep for the Beatles. While it is very self-indulgent, dragging, and yes, very weird (as far as we know; the Beatles’ first avant-garde experiment “Carnival of Light” has yet to be released to the public), no other track on the White Album embodies the album of which it is part better. In one track, the same ambition, dissonance, and freedom that critics praise the album for is present in this sound collage, and just because it also embodies the rift among the band members (reportedly, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney were not involved in any way with the track) it is quickly forgotten that the Beatles were known for playing with conventions and shattering them completely. Suddenly, the Beatles, praised for being so radically different and experimental than other bands of the era, they are panned for trying to break one last frontier in pop/rock music.
You can check out the full list over at the A.V. Club Website.