Yesterday has a crackerjack premise: What if you, a person who knows how to play the Beatles entire catalog, woke up one day to find that nobody had ever heard of The Beatles? Instant fame and fortune, yeah? That’s most certainly the case in the vibrant trailer for Danny Boyle’s highly anticipated jukebox musical, which has caused social media to go all helter skelter imagining a world where the Fab Four never existed.
With questions of just who might emerge as modern pop’s most prominent progenitor came a number of other queries. For example, do Coldplay and Ed Sheeran also exist in a Beatles-less universe? Because they’re featured in the trailer and still famous for songs like “Fix You.” Would popular music even bear the same touchstones? After absorbing and emulating the influential acts that sprouted in Paul and John’s absence, would people even still like The Beatles?
Of course, Boyle’s movie doesn’t care. It’s a lighthearted affair, one with an soul-warming central love story and jokes about changing the name of “Hey Jude” to “Hey Dude” and buoyant covers of the songs we’ve all come to love.
And, really, were The Beatles really that perfect? Does this alternate reality allow one the freedom to acknowledge that maybe not everything the band wrote will make supermodels on talk show couches quiver at your feet? Like, “Ob La Di Ob La Da” is bad, right? We can say that here?
And also that “Wild Honey Pie” is tedious, “Martha, My Dear” is hollow, and “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” is kind of embarrassing?
The “what-ifs” rolled on, devolving from the compelling (what if Yesterday starred Oasis?) to the, well, compelling but also insane (how, pray tell, are we reckoning with Wings in this universe?).
Yesterday opens on June 28 and that dude better play “Paperback Writer.”