“how would you cut down the White Album?”

while i mostly steal my ideas from random movies i’ve been watching, animals that have been harassing me and/or my car and brainstorming sessions with Smilez, i occasionally take ideas from sources on the internet, and this is going to be one of those times. so here’s the topic of discussion: how would you edit the Beatles’ “White Album” if you had to cut it down to one relatively normal-sized album? you can tell that i’m not bursting with original ideas when i think this one will serve for our weekly update, but here we go!

rules of engagement: let’s assume that a “normal-sized album” for 1968 would be an LP with two sides of no more than 26 minutes each in length (or 52 minutes total). considering that the White Album in full clocks in at about 93:08, well, as Homer Simpson would say, it’s time for the easiest part of any coach’s job: the cuts. i will try to defend my reasoning here.

disclaimer: if you don’t give a fuck about this album, i admit that we’re about to venture into some boring territory. just think of it as the unexciting calms we have to wade through to get to a violent whale attack! or something like that.


the White Album
“it’s like, how much more white could this be? and the answer is none. none more white.”

side A:
01. Back In The U.S.S.R. (2:43)
i have heard people make claims about how this song is a Beach Boys rip-off (an accurate claim) and how it can easily be dropped from the album (an audacious claim, to say the least), but seriously? no, no it cannot. it rocks and it’s a good lead-in to the album. the White Album is fairly eclectic album as it stands anyway, so it’s not like the Beatles showing Mike Love how it’s done is going to violate some theme here.

02. Dear Prudence (3:56)
03. Martha My Dear (2:28)

now, all that being said, “Dear Prudence” would otherwise be a solid way to start the record (calling it a “mid-tempo song that leaves the listener guessing as to what direction the album will take” seems about right), so we can think of “Back In The U.S.S.R.” as blowing off steam before the album gets serious. and i think these two lower-key songs flow together well, even beyond their matching “referencing-a-woman” names: they’re solid compositions, they’re underrated when compared to flashier songs on this album, and so on.

04. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (2:43)
05. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (4:45)
06. I’m So Tired (2:03)

“Happiness Is A Warm Gun” and “I’m So Tired” have some similarities in their spoken word sections that i think make them bookend “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” well; the former is much too awesome to ever be a candidate for removal from the album, and the latter is generally what i refer to as “the best song on this entire album.” seriously. meanwhile, #5 was kind-of, sort-of covered by the Wu-Tang Clan (it’s complicated, but Harrison’s son was involved), and anything that inspires Ghostface cannot be removed from an album. all in all, i would say that this is probably the strongest three-song section on the album.

07. Piggies (2:04)
it’s goofy, but i like it, and after all, the majority of Harrison’s songs (3/4) did make my cut of this album (and it’s not like the Beatles didn’t make a ton of goofy songs over the length of their career that still manage to be endearing; see also: “I Am The Walrus” or “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”). now, the Beatles themselves jammed all the songs with animals in their titles together, and that’s cute and everything, but i think it goes better here in terms of sound and, less artistically, space on this side of the album, so the animal theme is going to have to go.

08. I Will (1:46)
09. Julia (2:54)

another pair of songs i think go together well to close out this side (and this is basically what they did originally, so it’s not like i’m particular clever or anything like that). at least “Julia” isn’t yet another song McCartney wrote about Linda or Lennon wrote about Ono. those two really need to mix up their material, though at least here we have Lennon being honest about how meaningless his song content happens to be (i think his estimate is around 50%).

the Beatles
i really do enjoy how young and intoxicated McCartney appeared back in the 1960s, whereas Lennon just kind of seems like an asshole

side B:
01. Blackbird (2:18)
as far as social commentary goes, while this song might be well-meaning and sincere, i think it ALSO qualifies as ham-fisted and cheesy and all that (then again, it IS a McCartney song, so i guess we shouldn’t claim to be shocked), but it’s got a good sound with which to open up the second side of the album, especially since “Birthday” isn’t making the cut (more on that later). and people really do seem to love this song a lot more than i do, so i’ll cave to public pressure on this one.

02. Mother Nature’s Son (2:48)
03. Rocky Raccoon (3:32)

perhaps it’s clear that after breaking up the animal theme, i paired these two together because they have a vaguely Southern theme. people seem to cut them from the album because they’re not that fond of the former (i really am) or they don’t think the latter fits; i can see the argument for “Rocky Raccoon” standing out, but when they’re both left on the album, i think it works. also, if we had a Beach Boys-style song, we now have a Bob Dylan-style song as well.

04. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (2:24)
05. Helter Skelter (4:29)
06. Revolution 1 (4:15)

the “energetic” portion of the album, for obvious reasons. “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” has to stay on the album, if for no other reason than the fact that its name is so long and ridiculous; as for “Revolution 1,” it might actually pair up with “Helter Skelter” better if it was replaced with its original, rougher-sounding single form. but i suppose that’s neither here nor there; either way, the trio of songs works nicely together.

07. Long, Long, Long (3:04)
…and we abruptly calm back down with a quieter Harrison-penned song about god (and, really, a very underrated song at that); at full length, the louder songs are a little more separated from the end of the album (which i personally think is necessary given how quietly the album will end), but this will have to suffice.

08. Good Night (3:11)
yet another song that sounds intentionally cheesy, i think it’s one of the best “closing-out-the-album” songs out there.

total run time: 51:32. whew!

and now comes the easiest part of any coach’s job, the cuts:

Ringo Starr
it’s not easy being Ringo: the rest of the Beatles seem to consider your songs to be jokes and janklow cuts them from the album; sorry about that, brother

-Glass Onion (2:17)
i don’t really like this song and i don’t like all the blatant referencing of songs from previous albums. seriously, it really annoys me; it’s like a perfect example of how i find Lennon (who wrote this) too smug.

-Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (3:08)
not a terrible song – people seem to cover it constantly and it was certainly good enough for Life Goes On to run with – but i just don’t think it fits with the sound of the album. did i just say that the sound of the album was eclectic? eh, well, don’t worry about that.

-Wild Honey Pie (0:52)
short, not very good, almost cut from the album by the Beatles themselves… well, i think you see where i’m going with this. it barely deserved to be there as is, and now i have removed it for the good of the nation.

-the Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (3:14)
-Don’t Pass Me By (3:50)

here we have a couple of songs that i really like but that i simply had to cut for the purpose of time. “the Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill” has a flamenco guitar solo and mentions tigers; the latter is written by Ringo Starr, who i find adorable and whose songs i hate to cut… but they have to go if we’re going to fit under that 52 minute total. sorry, Ringo.

-Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (1:41)
ugh. i believe this was said better by someone else: “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, that song can go to hell.” seriously, it’s fucking garbage. GARBAGE. and i think McCartney really thinks he was being turbo-clever.

-Birthday (2:42)
a very catchy song, a good way to start the second LP in the original set… and another cut i’m making to save time. we could do the 1960s thing and release it as a single that’s not found on the album; that would work.

-Yer Blues (4:01)
does it bother me to cut a bluesy song that’s such a downer? yes, it really does. but i alternate between thinking it’s good and thinking i’ve heard enough of it to last me for some time, so it gets cut to save time.

-Sexy Sadie (3:15)
the title’s based on a joke that Lennon was making about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which means that this is one of those inside jokes that isn’t very clever or good, but that you include because everyone in the band is in on the joke. well, i’m not and it’s cut.

-Honey Pie (2:41)
well, i’ve already removed “Wild Honey Pie”… no, that aside, i just don’t like the way this song sounds. maybe i’m just not the fan of homages of British music-hall music that McCartney wishes i was, but i’ve shot down a couple of his experiments so far.

-Savoy Truffle (2:54)
i think this was the last cut i made for time, because i generally like it and it’s the only Harrison-penned song not to make my final cut for the album.

-Cry Baby Cry (3:01)
it doesn’t really catch my attention enough to cause me to have strong feelings about it, and that’s why it’s another non-terrible song that’s been removed for time reasons.

-Revolution 9 (8:22)
this garbage goes on for more than eight minutes? EIGHT MINUTES? absolutely the easiest cut on the album. it’s terribly indulgent of Ono (McCartney and producer George Martin wanted it cut) and, most unforgivably, it’s not good music. i might not love, say, “Sexy Sadie,” but i can at least call it a song and see how someone might like it. but THIS mess? ugh. and it’s the kind of thing that shows how bloated double albums can be.

well, okay, sorry to be so weird and boring this week, but there it is. maybe next time i’ll find some double-length rap albums to criticize?

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