I hope you had a nice long weekend! It doesn’t exactly feel like summer here, but the pools are open now, so I guess that’s progress?
A couple of weeks ago my world changed for the better when this happened…
I pretty much haven’t changed the channel in my car since May 18th. I also think my mood has improved significantly in the past two weeks. As I’ve been getting reacquainted with all of my favorites (yep, still know all of the words…very nearly all of them, except for a few on the Yellow Submarine album), I’ve begun to notice the nuances in their music – especially their earlier (say, pre-Sgt. Pepper) songs. To me, The Beatles are perfect. But actually, they weren’t…and this was no doubt by design. Hang with me!
George Martin, legendary producer of The Beatles, came with a rich musical background, but his record production experience had been primarily with comedy acts. It is said that he signed the group in part because they were genuinely funny and quick-witted. But after years of toiling in the clubs of Hamburg, day-in and day-out, The Beatles had gradually become a really great band. They quickly began to make magic in the studio, with Martin utilizing innovative recording and mixing techniques with the limited technology available at that time. Even given the technical limitations, it would have been possible, with patience and a lot of retakes, to create ‘perfect’ recordings. Many of their British ‘Merseybeat’ contemporaries were doing just this, because they could.
George Martin, on the other hand, seemed to almost harness those little moments of imperfection. He cultivated their humanity. That time when Paul’s voice cracked in the second verse of “If I Fell.” When George sang slightly flat on “Because.” When Ringo’s beat was just slightly off/behind (many songs!). When George missed a couple of picks on his guitar in “Day Tripper.” When the harmonies are just a little out of sync. Could they have been edited out, or ironed out in another take? Certainly. But I think it is these little flubs and imperfections that humanized The Beatles and made them such a force in music and popular culture. They were larger than life, but at the same time, they were relatable and funny.
So what is my point about all of this? Basically, I think I need to stop fussing so so much over whether every color matches (or coordinates) perfectly. Because I’ve found that when I relax, trust my gut and lighten up about it all a little bit, the results can be even better.
My most recent One Room Challenge project is a good example of this. Indeed, there is a lot of this that is very carefully considered and composed. But did you notice that the color of the bed is nowhere to be found in the rug or wallpaper? It’s just different enough that I think it wakes up the room a little bit, and makes it more interesting than it would have otherwise been (and relatable, too). How did I balance out this slight dissonance?
I was sure to repeat the turquoise bed color on the other side of the room in this beautiful piece by Stephanie Henderson. This holds it all together and gives the bedroom a cohesive and harmonious feeling. Harmonious – it’s even a musical term! And harmony is what The Beatles are probably best known for. I think you sense and appreciate the harmony even more when it is not quite perfect.
From now on, I’m going to try to be more like George Martin and The Beatles. Embracing imperfection and dissonance, while harmonizing like no one else can. Maybe without the screaming teenage girls and that whole LSD-fueled transcendental phase. 🙂