The Byrds – Younger than Yesterday (1967)
Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
USA Artists (so far): Aimee Mann, Marty Robbins, D’Angelo, The Modern Lovers, Bruce Springsteen, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Steely Dan, Grant Lee Buffalo, 2Pac, Harry Nilsson, Linkin Park, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Randy Newman, The Monkees, Liz Phair, The Byrds
“I’m not young enough to know everything.”
– J.M. Barrie, The Admirable Crichton, Act I (1903)
This is both my conundrum & my improbable solution to appreciating The Byrds: I simply need to get younger.
Because if I were younger, I’d surely know why I don’t quite flock to these Byrds as I feel I should.
On paper, it’s a group I should really dig (look at me using hip, youthfully exuberant terms like ‘dig’) but with Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Mr. Tambourine Man, and now Younger than Yesterday, I’ve been left feeling somewhat unfulfilled each time.
Which is a strange thing to say about three records that I’d consider to be ‘good’ records overall.
I’ve started to think it’s a case of a band performing below my (potentially unreasonable) expectations.
“Is it any good?”
“It’s not all I hoped for”
The Provincial Standard
In Ontario Secondary Schools, a mark in the 70s is known as “The Provincial Standard.” Essentially, a student achieves The Provincial Standard when they complete the checklist. They do all the requirements, they do a good job, but without any ‘wow’ factor.
If a student has tremendous work ethic, asks questions, tries their hardest, and earns The Provincial Standard, awesome!
But when a student has demonstrated they can do much more & achieves the same Provincial Standard, it’s somewhat…less awesome.
So how does this apply to The Byrds?
Younger Than Yesterday feels like a Provincial Standard record.
Which would be fine, if they hadn’t recorded a song as exceptional as My Back Pages.
Unfortunately for The Byrds (and I suppose, more so, for me), the near perfection of My Back Pages sent my expectations through the roof.
As a consequence, I have never been more impressed with a single track & subsequently more disappointed when the rest of a ‘good’ album failed to reach such great heights.
It’s possible The Byrds are giving their all each time and I’m simply overestimating their abilities.
It’s possible I’m just getting old.
I don’t know.
That’s likely the biggest lesson of teaching: the more you know, the more you realize you have left to learn.
So maybe they’ll consistently go above & beyond the Provincial Standard on one of the remaining Byrds records on the 1001 (Fifth Dimension, The Notorious Byrd Brothers).
Either that, or hopefully I’ll be young enough by then to be able to fully appreciate them!
Verbalize the Positive
I appreciate that Ovidiu @ Tangledupinmusic takes the time each month to give a tip of the hat to a variety of blogs that he’s enjoyed reading.
I also like the variety of series that he has on-the-go (like ‘Play This More Often’ & ‘Stories Behind Classic Songs’), with writing that always goes miles beyond the Provincial Standard!