It's winter and instead of bike-riding I'm walking. Which means I can listen to music and podcasts and audiobooks while getting my daily exercise. And since my daily walk takes me near Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and near the spot where John Lennon died, I end up thinking about the Beatles a lot. And I've been listening to them too.
Another thing makes a big difference, having Wikipedia pages about almost every Beatles song. For example, I didn't fully understand how the Beatles were breaking up while doing the White Album. I didn't understand how separate McCartney and Lennon were, how bitter George Harrison was, and how frustrated Ringo Starr was that they all couldn't just get along.
I think it's spooky that one of Lennon's last Beatles songs was Happiness is a Warm Gun, considering how he died.
But the thing that I'm left with is rather mundane, but I wanted to say it anyway. Paul McCartney was, of all the Beatles, the pure songman. He wrote music because he loved music. He really didn't want to do anything else. For him, being a Beatle was the best deal in the world.
Now that probably still is a gross approximation of who McCartney is. But without the net, without Wikipedia, I didn't even have that much to go on. Music is a story, like every other human art. It's the story of one person laid out in a way that others can understand it. A song is saying here I am and this is what I say. Reading the story of the story gives me more to think, and imagine about.
I guess I just wanted to say that all along we had the idea that Lennon was the deep Beatle, and McCartney was somehow the silly one. But I think we got it wrong. As he sang later, there's nothing wrong with a silly love song. Popular music is popular for a reason, because it engages us in a playful way that makes us feel good. Yes we feel a little silly when this point is touched. But that's kind of nice too.