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Across The Universe
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23 March 2015
12.15pm
thisbirdhasflown
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Same here. "They slither wildly as they slip away." Overall, I think ATU is a very poignant and beautiful, with very descriptive lyrics. I do agree with the idea that it really is unfinished, but much of the material from that Beatles era was, unfortunately. However, I never thought of it the way Ahhh Girl thought of it under the spoiler. It just doesn't have that sense to me. But still, one of my favorite John compositions and a favorite of mine to perform acoustically. Although I can never really say my version of it does the record justice, either. But then again, neither does this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....iOF4zIjaqY

Sorry- much too electric. And Liam's voice on the "Jai Guru Deva".

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23 March 2015
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Starr Shine?
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I used to not like it much but it grew on me.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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23 March 2015
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thisbirdhasflown said
Same here. "They slither wildly as they slip away." Overall, I think ATU is a very poignant and beautiful, with very descriptive lyrics. I do agree with the idea that it really is unfinished, but much of the material from that Beatles era was, unfortunately. However, I never thought of it the way Ahhh Girl thought of it under the spoiler. It just doesn't have that sense to me. But still, one of my favorite John compositions and a favorite of mine to perform acoustically. Although I can never really say my version of it does the record justice, either. But then again, neither does this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....iOF4zIjaqY

Sorry- much too electric. And Liam's voice on the "Jai Guru Deva".

Don't like it. It's too electric, Liam's voice does not rise to the occasion. It uncovers the song's incompleteness (the lack of a middle-eight, in particular) much more than the original, in my opinion.

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23 March 2015
4.47pm
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Bongo
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I don't understand the: It feels unfinished, or missing middle-eight bit! Song sounds fine and finished to me and it's a lovely song! 

But that's just me brian-epstein

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16 October 2015
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Jolly Jimmy
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Have you ever listened to the Pink Floyd song Cirrus Minor which opens up their More album?  The bird sound effects at the beginning are very similar to those heard on the original version of Across The Universe .  It makes you wonder whether they raided the same EMI sound effect closet.

Of course, it might just mean they used the same type of bird.  You be the judge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....beSTC-aiac

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17 October 2015
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robert
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Actually I think Spector did a great job on this one (the slow down tape speed is the only negative) and I don't like most of Spector's Let It Be mix. I kn ow what you mean by "unfinished sounding" but I don't agree.

This song is beautiful - incredibly difficult to pull-off, which is why there are no decent cover versions other than the version done by Sean Lennon and Moby and Rufus Wainwright.

 

Here's a link in case you've seen or heard it (plus it's live!)

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18 October 2015
2.12am
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Shamrock Womlbs
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Jolly Jimmy said
Have you ever listened to the Pink Floyd song Cirrus Minor which opens up their More album?  

Yeah, i had the same feeling first time i listened to it. Probably they did choose the same fx as it was recorded in Abbey Road as well. It's my fav Floyd album, indeed.

i think Sean's version would sound a lot better without Sean singing... i think he has an awful voice, but the harmonies are fine.

My favourite "Across The Universe " version is the Past Master's one... Kinda psychedelic and peaceful , and the lyrics are beautifully filled with poetic imagery.  

To me it sounds very well done and finished. Yup.

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22 September 2016
7.03pm
Bullion
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I'm extremely interested to hear a songwriting expert or musicologist analyze this song

 

I seem to of grown to favor Paul McCartney over John Lennon but from my perspective on the lyrics Paul doesn't have songs that reach the magnitude of some of the ones John wrote but as far as music and arrangement Paul seems to be the more musically gifted one of the two < off topic but I'm still looking for a thread to discuss this in as well

22 September 2016
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William Shears Campbell
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@Bullion said

I seem to of grown to favor Paul McCartney over John Lennon but from my perspective on the lyrics Paul doesn't have songs that reach the magnitude of some of the ones John wrote but as far as music and arrangement Paul seems to be the more musically gifted one of the two < off topic but I'm still looking for a thread to discuss this in as well  

This was discussed somewhere else on the forum about how Paul did a lot of music then lyrics and John did a lot of lyrics then music.  That's probably why you prefer Paul for music and John for lyrics.

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22 September 2016
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sir walter raleigh
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I'm not a musicologist or anything but I am a musician and songwriter. I also love the Beatles, so I have some claim to analysis. 

The first thing that I notice about Across The Universe is that there is really no rhyme scheme. John liked to play around with his rhymes like in Norwegian Wood (A,B,B), but it is interesting that some of his most profound lyrics have no rhyme. He gets way with it with the recurring line "Across The Universe ." It is so impactful that you don't even notice its lack of rhyme. 

Another thing I like about the song is its surreal analogies such as "like endless rain into a paper cup" and "like a restless wind inside a letterbox." They reflect a very abstract form of personal expression. I don't really know what it means, but they suggest something magical about his feelings. Perhaps is the LSD from the White Album era that inspires him to write like this, but I think it's just beautiful.

The riff at the beginning is simply an outpour of the creativity Lennon had during the White Album . I have no way of putting my finger on how he came up with it.

Lastly, and maybe the most intriguing aspect of the song is the lack of subject. he isn't singing to anybody, but when you listen, it sounds like a love song. He references love one time ("Limitless undying love") but never actually addresses a girl or a love interest. The beauty of Lennon's imagery seems to only compare to one thing: Love. 

But who knows? Jai guru deva om is a reference to the elevated consciousness, so maybe it isn't a love song at all, but an ode to meditation and peace of mind. It's hard to be sure.

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"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

22 September 2016
8.37pm
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Starr Shine?
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This song sounds like Bob Dylan Tambourine Man.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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23 September 2016
1.51am
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sir walter raleigh said
I'm not a musicologist or anything but I am a musician and songwriter. I also love the Beatles, so I have some claim to analysis. 

The first thing that I notice about Across The Universe is that there is really no rhyme scheme. John liked to play around with his rhymes like in Norwegian Wood (A,B,B), but it is interesting that some of his most profound lyrics have no rhyme. He gets way with it with the recurring line "Across The Universe ." It is so impactful that you don't even notice its lack of rhyme. 

Another thing I like about the song is its surreal analogies such as "like endless rain into a paper cup" and "like a restless wind inside a letterbox." They reflect a very abstract form of personal expression. I don't really know what it means, but they suggest something magical about his feelings. Perhaps is the LSD from the White Album era that inspires him to write like this, but I think it's just beautiful.

The riff at the beginning is simply an outpour of the creativity Lennon had during the White Album . I have no way of putting my finger on how he came up with it.

Lastly, and maybe the most intriguing aspect of the song is the lack of subject. he isn't singing to anybody, but when you listen, it sounds like a love song. He references love one time ("Limitless undying love") but never actually addresses a girl or a love interest. The beauty of Lennon's imagery seems to only compare to one thing: Love. 

But who knows? Jai guru deva om is a reference to the elevated consciousness, so maybe it isn't a love song at all, but an ode to meditation and peace of mind. It's hard to be sure.  

This is what I was looking for. Do you see it as one of his top 5 songs?

23 September 2016
7.38am
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sir walter raleigh
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Yes I do. The earliest versions of the song I've heard are from The Magical Mystery Tour period. It amazes me that it never made it onto an album until Let It Be . That is why John's work on Let It Be is so uneven. He couldn't write as well as he used to because of his heroin habit, but he had saved one of the all time great songs and recorded it beautifully. 

Not to say John's Let It Be work isn't good, I love Dig A Pony and Don't Let Me Down , but don't kid yourself. Compared to Sexy Sadie , I'm So Tired , Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Across The Universe ? No contest.

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"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

23 September 2016
9.33am
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ewe2
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Well Fiona Apple's version is nicely done but it is a bit ploddy with the ukbeat behind it. Not so bad sped up to 1.25, which gives you an idea of the kind of problems this song poses for cover artists. You need a great singer to sing this song well, but the backing is equally perilous. It sounds too manufactured to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....XE1C--WezU

Personally I think Rufus Wainright gets it about right. His version floats and builds well, which gives the song some dynamics without a middle-eight. I love the video which tells an alternative story to the song and gets to the niggle about that chorus, the words which seem oddly out of connection with the rest.

I'm one of those who disagree its an incomplete song. It was always meant to use the drone motif, and good drone songs don't have to "go" anywhere. It's a difficult one to explore the harmonic possibilities of without overdoing it. Some, like Apple, like those little harmonic melodies in the background a la the WWF version, I like them, but not too much, as in the Wainright version. Imagine if the song had managed to get onto the White Album , what might it have become.

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23 September 2016
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Beatlebug
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I always hear 'They slither wildly as they slip away'. 

And I don't think it sounds unfinished. It sounds monumentally perfect, and I'd call it my favourite Lennon song. 

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24 September 2016
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John said in 1970 "It's one of the best lyrics I've written. In fact, it could be the best. It's good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin' it."

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25 September 2016
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sir walter raleigh
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In My Life , Norwegian Wood , an Eleanor Rigby are other great examples on songs that would read well as poems. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

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"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

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25 September 2016
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georgiewood
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I don't like either Fiona or Rufus' versions.  They illustrate @ewe2's point about how difficult it is to do justice to the song. That Lennon could sing, couldn't he?

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25 September 2016
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sir walter raleigh
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I agree. I recorded a cover at school, and I never felt right about the way it sounded, and I didn't know why. I posted it to the Beatles covers thread a while back. 

Its very difficult to capture the tone of the lyrics in a vocal perormance. 

I think Stevie Wonder could do it justice. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

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Too bad they botched the first line.

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