[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: The Beatles' “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
History: The Beatles are The Beatles and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Let's all just fall all over ourselves to pretend like we love it, I guess.
Atmospherics: The song sounds like The Beatles were the first crappy garage band even though I'm not sure they even had garages back then; it also sounds like an uncompelling “That Thing You Do,” with womp-womps and timid drums.
Scientific Analysis: Science is a lot of things, but one thing it is not is nostalgic. Which is why “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is invalid. There are two arguments that pseudo-Beatles fans have relied on for eternity.
“Oh, but the musicianship is amazing. They don't make music like that anymore.”
Tomfoolery. It's four guys plucking away at instruments they can barely play. You know what would've happened if you'd have sat Ringo down in front of an MPC500? His goddamn head would've exploded.
“I Want To Hold Your Hand” is basically the Bob Cousy of music. Cousy is considered one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all-time. He is revered. He's a legend. He is beyond reproach. And LeBron James would absolutely destroy him in they had the opportunity to play against each other. Competition is too big today. Cousy wouldn't crack a D League roster in 2012. LeBron James would've averaged 1,000 points a game in 1952.
50 Cent would've thrown hella slander at The Beatles if he was around back then, and 50 Cent has only ever been considered a Better Than Good musician one time in his career (Get Rich Or Die Tryin', 2003).
“Oh, but the songwriting was so subversive and brilliant.”
No it wasn't. At best, the lyrics here are cryptically sexually. (“And when I touch you, I feel happy inside” might be one of the first boner reference in pop music history, but it's likely Lennon and McCartney didn't mean it that way.) At worst, they're boring as nails, and the archetype for an untold number of brainless dillies since then.
“Message In A Bottle” by The Police to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas to Beyonce's “Single Ladies”? “I Want To Hold Your Hand” might be directly responsible. (It was the Beatles' first song to really take off in America.) I mean, they tell some sad girl that they want to hold her hand ten times in less than two minutes. They might as well have finished with line with, “so let me, maybe.” And poor Carly Rae Jepsen gets killed for that.
(I) The only people that really like The Beatles are old white guys and a small portion of writers and an even smaller portion of NPR listeners.
(II) You always get points for boner references, even if they're accidental.
(III) Bob Cousy wasn't expecting to see his name here today.
(IV) How many times a day do you think Jay-Z has to hear an “I guess you liked it then, Jay?! hahahahaha!” joke?