As a fan of Mad Men, great music cues in TV shows and movies, and every Wings album, I was more than a little disappointed when second wife and hip-things enthusiast Megan was foolish enough to suggest Don Draper, TV's least psychedelic man, start off the Beatles' Revolver by listening to "Tomorrow Never Knows," the least accessible song on the album.
Look: I know uncool, because I am uncool. I live it so deep that my favorite Beatles album is still Help! I may not be able to perform a burlesque routine in French Canadian or save the Heinz account by making myself available for women's-room-gossip (at least not since the judge refused to expunge that charge from my criminal record [come on, there was a couch in there, it's institutionalized misandry], but I do know how to make Revolver appealing to someone who is trapped permanently as the coolest human being in the year 1960. Play it to them like so, and hope they fall asleep by the time the Indian-inspired tracks come on.
Honorable Mention: I'm Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing, Doctor Robert. John Lennon's least oh-god-everything's-changing contributions to Revolver were cut out of the American version Don dismisses because they'd already appeared on the American-only Frankenstein album "Yesterday" ... and Today, which is actually pretty great.
The great "And Your Bird Can Sing" is the only real Don Draper Revolver Power Rankings contender here, though lord help them if he hears that early, janglier take where everyone's giggling like they just watched Roger Sterling drop acid and listen to Pet Sounds. The equally great "I'm Only Sleeping" is too weird and doesn't sound like a theme song for a guy who enjoys nothing but work and rough, antagonistic sex, and "Doctor Robert" sucks and is boring and it sucks. (And Band on the Run is way better than Imagine. I'm sorry if there's too much truth-telling going on for you in this blog entry.)
11. Tomorrow Never Knows Come on Megan, what's your game, here? Are the Mad Men writers paying you to accelerate Don's decline into premature middle-age-uncoolness with thematically appropriate album tracks? Spoiler alert: Don Draper will go to his grave before enjoying any song whose Wikipedia entry includes the phrase "Indian-inspired modal backing."
10. Love You To "The Song is in the key of C and emulates North Indian Khyal music. Harrison begins by twice stroking his sitar's resonating strings (a common technique before the opening alap segment of a raga). In the alap section (lasting 35 seconds) the melody is previewed, before the tabla, tamboura and percussion commence a Madhya laya (medium tempo) Bandish or gat. " - Wikipedia
9. She Said She Said I love this song, but it took me several years to get there. And I wasn't a forty-year-old ad executive who couldn't tell the Beatles from a song that sounds kind-of-a-little like the Beatles circa season one of Mad Men.
8. Yellow Submarine At this point in the show I'm convinced Sally Draper is too hardheadedly serious-adult to enjoy "Yellow Submarine," especially when it's handed to her as the pinnacle of modern art.
7. I Want To Tell You I can't see Don Draper going for the weird dissonance of that piano at the end of each verse. On the positive side of the ledger, "I'll make you maybe next time around" seems to be the guiding principle of Don Draper's relationship with every woman except Peggy Olson. 6. Got To Get You Into My Life My perception here may be colored by the inexplicable fact, revealed later, that Paul McCartney wrote this maybe-a-bit-too-peppy-for-Mad-Men song about marijuana.
5. Here, There, And Everywhere Maybe a little too slow and dragging for someone who gets deals done by sexually assaulting willing women in restaurant bathrooms, but from here on out every song on Revolver is Don Draper Approved.
4. Good Day Sunshine I have the sneaking suspicion--supported by no evidence in particular--that Don is secretly a big fan of the kind of near-easy-listening stuff Paul McCartney is doing here.
My spec script for the series finale of Mad Men ends in 1973, when Megan, by now an actor on a children's public access TV show in town, hands Don a copy of Red Rose Speedway. For the next 40 minutes we watch as Don listens to the whole thing... and he loves it. Fin.
Draper Pro: Anti-government message probably resonates with everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce; episode might end with Don admiring the Beatles for being astoundingly rich and astute marketers.
Draper Con: Crazy guitar solos, droning lead vocal, Megan's father might show up again to stare disapprovingly.
2. For No One Youth culture is not especially scary when it's a quiet, composed lament about a broken relationship that features a conspicuous French horn solo.
1. Eleanor Rigby It's Serious-Minded and sharply written, it's backed by a string-quartet, and it's somehow still a short, perfect, accessible pop song. If Megan had played this one for Don, his bout of existential culture-bewilderment would have been delayed an entire week, when she buys him a Chuck Berry greatest-hits collection and tells him to listen to "My Ding-a-Ling" first.