Some tired Beatles song was playing on the television. I think it was a program on the local public television station. Carol let out a pointedly critical remark to the effect that she could not understand why anyone would want to hear that tired old Beatles song for the sixty-fifth thousandth time.* I agreed with her. The first time I heard that recording of the Beatles chanting about some sergeant named “Pepper” I thought the song was a mildly entertaining song; not one of their best, but good enough. The one thousandth time I heard that same recording of that same song (it was probably in a shopping center, for the Beatles have become the soundtrack of consumerism) I still thought the song wasn’t bad, but I was tired of hearing that same performance over and over and over again. Too much repetition will make anything seem dreadful, and by the sixty-fifth thousandth time I had heard that same recording of that same damned song, I hated it. With jazz and classical and folk music, it is considered a virtue to re-interpret a song or a musical composition in a new and fresh way; but with rock and rap and pop music, we are supposed to make the song sound exactly like the hit recording of it. Thus when you have to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in a Sunday service, all the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are trying to sing like John Lennon’s hit recording of that song. It’s really boring.
* This is an indirect quote because Carol told me I am no longer permitted to quote her directly, adding, “You always misquote me.”