Were you wondering which Beatle single sits alone atop the mountain of greatness? Which wears the crown of bestness and holds the scepter of #1-itude while drinking from the goblet of kick-rumpery? You are wondering those things? WELL WONDER NO MORE, BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONE!! Congratulations, “Paperback Writer” / “Rain”! The facts: The A-side is one of their hardest-rocking songs, crunching along at a brisk pace with just a few stops for breath to let the group toss out some top-notch three-part harmonies. And then the dudes go full-on psychedelic with “Rain,” its crawling vocal performance and backwards ending giving it the most delightfully druggy feel yet on a Beatles record. Paul and Ringo really outdo themselves on both songs – those burbling, melodic bass parts are right up front; crisp, full-kit drumming powers “Rain”; and the gunshot snare-hits in “Paperback Writer” are, as the kids say, the bee’s knees (provided you like bees and their joints) (Wait! “Joints”! And this a “druggy” single! I sort of made a joke right there, didn’t I! I mean, almost!).
For a long time I believed that the more celebrated “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” was the superior record, but now, listening to this one over and over, I admit the error of my ways; this is simply stronger all around – the writing, the singing, the playing. See, people change, people get smarter. Like how just last night I realized that I actually enjoy the Beach Boys’ 15 Big Ones album. It has at least five songs on it that I, my taste now totally in the toilet, would consider “good”: “It’s OK,” “Everyone’s In Love With You,” “Palisades Park,” “Susie Cincinnati,” and “Just Once In My Life.” We’re always growing and learning, friends, and top celebrities like me are no different, despite our millions of Euros and mustachioed good looks. This is a valuable lesson for all of us, and one truly worth remembering as the year comes to an end. So be sure to join me in 2008, when we’ll really get the comments section hopping with a detailed discussion of the political/social unrest in Pakistan following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; a closer look at Harry Reid’s crafty use of pro forma sessions to prevent Bush from making recess appointments; and of course our continuing wall-to-wall coverage of Trent Lott’s retirement from the Senate. It’s gonna be another terrific year of politics here at I Think I Hate My 45s!