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Beatles miscellanized

I’m listening to Love, the Beatles mashup by George Martin and his son.

Yes, it’s part stunt. The Beatles left such a rich selection of song styles and pieces that you can create a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” without a dominant guitar. But the CD is also an act of love that makes that song—which I always found slightly embarrassingly George-ish—more lovely than the original. The Martins often reveal an essence of melody, harmony, voice, meaning or mood. (Keep in mind that I am a sentimental Beatles fool. They were our music in a way that my children have yet to find for themselves.)

The first track is a version of “Because” rendered less sentimental by highlighting the beautiful vocal work. The second track, “Get Back,” is fun. But the third track, “Glass Onion” overwhelmed me. It pulls together many pieces, most recognizable if not actually familiar. Each of the parts is so resonant that it sank me into the feelings those songs had engendered. No, not feelings. Meanings. What the songs meant to me.

This is the part of what I’ve been calling the “miscellaneous” that that word doesn’t capture. Categorization puts like next to like. The miscellaneous category consists of that which does not share likenesses beyond their shared domain—the kitchen’s miscellaneous drawer contains implements that have nothing in common beyond the fact that they all belong in a kitchen. But the digital miscellany we’re building for ourselves is an over-abundance of likenesses, across every domain. The likenesses are drawn by every link we create, each made of intention and meaning. In some ways, it is the opposite of the miscellany. It is the surfeit of connection, a potential unlike anything we’ve had before short of language itself. [Tags: ]

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