It’s a scary world — there are people out there, everyday folks who walk among us, who confidently espouse a dislike for The Beatles. While this is a stance that has been taken by the likes of Lou Reed, Julian Casablancas, Frank Zappa and various other contrarian iconoclasts back in the day, it is somewhat more alarming when it comes from the proletariat outside of the art world. Not because the ‘Fab Four’ have to be everyone’s favourite band, but because what they have given to music and also society in general should be unmistakable.
This contribution is typified by how truly transcendent their songs prove to be. The melodies and the words that the four humble lads from Liverpool crafted are inexorably interwoven into our yesterdays, todays and likely our tomorrows too. Rather than being some sort of inescapable Groundhog Day dystopia, this influence connects generations, extolls beauty and keeps the prelapsarian dream of the 1960s alive in some small but inviolable sense.
In its own sweet way, no album asserts this transcendent message quiet like the honeyed belle of Bedtime with The Beatles. Whilst folks from the ‘Revolution 9’ end of the spectrum might scoff at this meek offering, there are no doubt scores of new parents nodding in firm agreement or perhaps mere fellows who have nursed their way through the depths of a harrowing hangover with the soothing balm of The Beatles turned lullaby.
Sometimes familiarity can erode the wonder of music, other times it can elevate it with a sense of everyday awe; Bedtime with The Beatles falls firmly in the latter category. There is something quite beautiful about generations of children floating into slumber with the sweet sound of the sixties scoring their dreams while a parent proudly watches on, embalmed in the same sanguine sound.
The album was pieced together by Jason Falkner (released under Sony Wonder) who first emerged into the music world from the West Coast neo-psychedelic scene with The Three O’Clock back in the 1980s. Thereafter the classically trained musician rubbed shoulders with everyone from Chris Cornell to Susanna Hoffs and Air, establishing himself as the sort of name echoed around music’s lauded inner circles but never heard quite as much outside.
On the liner notes for the record, Falkner lays out his intention behind it, writing: “I had to serve several muses while recording this record. The Beatles themselves were first in my mind. Would they approve? I’ll probably never know — but I hope they feel the love that I have for their music in every note of this album.” Fortunately for him, not only did the remaining Beatles approve it, but that adoration of their work soars in every pillow-propped note.
Aside from the musicology behind his dreamy instrumental reimagining’s and how much they bring the beauty of the melodies crafted back to life, the triumph of the record is in the tableau that it creates of how we experience modern music that The Beatles first helped to bring to fruition. This album might never see the light of the radio or any sort of grand acclaim, but the dog-eared copies stashed away in baby boxes forevermore is the greatest prize of all.
With Bedtime with The Beatles, simple lullabies are transfigured with something deeply ethereal when you place them in the context of how art forms a comforting part of our daily lives. Whether you were coaxed to sleep by this record as a child or you’re a parent thankful for its enchanted lull and the memories it awakens of the real thing, Bedtime with The Beatles is an album that joyously reaffirms the connective potential of music, and it does it with such delicately considered affection that it brings a touch contentment wherever it alchemy graces the air with a hue of revelling nostalgia.
Anymore fragile and you perhaps couldn’t press it onto something as bulky as vinyl, but its weightless wonder acts like a sort of comfort blanket to the world whether you’re listening by golden lamplight with heavy eyes or looking back with a smile. Very few albums harness this primary potential that The Beatles helped to bring to light in the first place.