Thursday, June 30, 2011

Soundtracks For Summer: Octopus's Garden

Part 21 in my ongoing "Soundtracks For Summer" series.

Once again, I apologize with the lack of entries as of late. I've been kinda depressed as of late, hit a rough patch with my life. But while I was on a drive yesterday, I saw the following next to me on the highway:

-A 50s era car, don't know the exact model, but it looked old.
-It was colored baby-blue, so shiny that it looked like it just rolled off the assembly line.
-There was no cover, so it looked like Ricky Ricardo's car from those I Love Lucy episodes where the gang drove to Hollywood.

I thought the backdrop was the studio set. Turned out it's supposed to be the Golden Gate Bridge...
-Old man driving the car.
-He was wearing a straw fedora, which he was holding onto with one hand while he drove.

If THAT doesn't define "summer," then I don't know what will. So this sounds like a fine opportunity to start up Year Four of my Soundtracks For Summer series.

For those of you not familiar with this, it's a series of blog entries where I write about songs that define "summer" to me. So with that little bit of exposition out of the way, why don't we play a tune by the Beatles?

Sure, "Octopus's Garden" is about the 867th thing that your mind would go to if someone mentioned the word "Beatles", but what's a better mouthpiece for this song than some podunk blog that updates once a month?

So why is this a great summer song? Is it because this is one of only two Beatles songs that Ringo got to write? No, but I can imagine months of Ringo repeating "Can I have a song now?" before the band finally relented. I'm pretty sure that's how Ringo gets lots of things: Food, clothes, the job as Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station.

No, this song, with lyrics as strange as they are, just seems mellow enough to relax me. What is the song REALLY about? Hell if I know, but what I do know is that this underwater fantasy is genuinely more mellow than the folks who think they're mellow like Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz, and, ugh, Dave Matthews. Just rich white guys (and whatever Bruno Mars is) without problems strumming acoustic guitars like those annoying douchebags at your college who only do it to pick up chicks.

But for the rest of us who do have problems, we just wanna listen to this song and have a few beers at the pool and not be bothered with anything else in life. And think about what Spongebob's doing right now.

And, hey, you really know that this is a great song when the Muppets do a cover of it!

Out of all the sketches the Muppet Show had done in its 5 years of existence, this one was one of the few that broke my suspension of disbelief. The show was supposed to be a stage show that was filmed, live audience and everything. But for this sketch to work, the entire building would have to been flooded to support the characters swimming and breathing. Or maybe I'm just overthinking it and it's all just elaborate puppeteering.

What? Puppetry on The Muppet Show? It's a thought so crazy that it just works!

By the way, Sesame Street did a version, too:

I'm gonna assume they did this version before the Muppet Show's. It's easy to see why the Green Anything Muppet got replaced by Kermit and company: Marketability. The Muppets of today wouldn't dare let Generic Muppet #53 star in a Beatles cover in favor of, well, Kermit or maybe even Pepe.

That's it for this entry, see you in July! Have a good 4th of July Weekend, everyone!

To my dear readers: I'm also taking reader submissions for future "Soundtracks For Summer" entries. If you've got an idea, pop me an email at OR comment on this entry OR at the Facebook Fan Page OR at my Twitter with the name of the song, and a reason or two why it defines "Summer" for you. You'll be glad you did.

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