The Beatles Beatled: The Beatles, “Paperback Writer,” and Utopia, “Take It Home”

Utopia

Anyone doing an homage or parody of the Beatles needs to nail a known quality of existing Beatles songs, whereas the Beatles themselves, like most great artists, characteristically sound like they’re crashing into new territory. Since you can’t do something for the first time by doing it for the second time, you can’t really sound like the Beatles by sounding like the Beatles; you can only reproduce the Beatles Beatled, not the Beatles Beatling. Still, the Beatles Beatled can be a revealing and fun listen. The very fresh “Day Tripper” (January 1966) by the Beatles is the model for one of the finest Beatleoid exercises, “Take It Home” by Utopia (from Deface the Music, 1980), likewise built on a two-measure guitar figure with lots of spiky syncopation in the notes. In this unusual case, “Take It Home” does capture some Beatles magic, despite coming second, because the Beatles themselves did the same thing in “Paperback Writer” (May 1966). In imitating one great Beatles song, “Take It Home” really channels another.

—Steve Smith

The Beatles, “Day Tripper”

The Beatles, “Paperback Writer”

Utopia, “Take It Home”