Drabble meme prompt from enchantedrose80
"Innovation," Will Schuester states quite proudly, as he writes the word in big, block letters on the board. He turns back around to face his glee clubbers with a big smile. "This week, all of you will be performing songs written or made popular by musicians who've pushed the boundaries. I figure we could study the work of some great, innovative artists and use them as inspiration for when we perform our original songs at Regionals."
Schue looks so enthusiastic over his idea that Puck doesn't have the heart to tell him that a) 'innovative' for some of these fuckers translated to whatever rapper/pop group had managed to sample a classic song and mangle it into an auto-tuned hit, and b) they only had 2 weeks until Regionals. Two fucking weeks and what is he doing? Having them work on and perform random songs that would never make it on their set list in a million years.
From his left, he hears someone snark under their breath. "You know what would be really innovative? Actually writing some songs and rehearsing them."
Puck snorts and glances to where Rachel is seated beside him. She is slightly hunched over in her seat, furiously writing on the notebook poised on her crossed leg, in between looking at Mr. Schue still going on and on in front and rolling her eyes. He stifles a laugh. Girl's a trip, he thinks as he watches her covertly from the corner of his eye, her eyes glaring daggers at their teacher for wasting time she deemed essential to perfecting their performance. He can't really blame her, either. Hell, he's heard enough of her mid-lunch rants about how they needed to annihilate their competition since it was their time now, their senior year, that he was totally on-board with whatever she had cooked up her crazy little head.
Yeah, they're friends now. Big deal. Anyone who said that it was impossible for the Puckasaurus to be friends with a woman could go fuck themselves. Rachel is probably the best friend he had, what with Finn back to his douchetastic self after breaking up with Rachel for the 4th and final time. First, he breaks Rachel's heart, then he actually gets pissed at Puck for staying her friend? Not kosher.
(He's pretty glad that Berry is a lot stronger than she looks or else Finnessa would have gotten more than just a black eye.)
So they're friends. They hang out, they talk, they spend a fuckload of time together. And if he finds himself constantly wanting to kiss his friend senseless or peel her little dresses off and just take her on the nearest flat surface…well, never let it be said that Berry's crazy wasn't contagious.
Schue's voice breaks through and disrupts his thoughts. "So, does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking of something like Genesis. They used imagery in their performances as a tool to set themselves apart—"
"Wasn't that the dude who wrote for Tarzan?" Santana interrupts with a shake of her head. "Oh no, if we're gonna be doing anything 'innovative', it's gotta be from someone this generation actually knows. Someone like my girl, Amy Winehouse. Ain't nobody sound quite like her."
One by one, the gleeks speak up and offer their opinions. Finn suggests Bruce Springsteen. Artie jumps in with Michael Jackson, before Tina offers Bjork as her suggestion. When Kurt just smiles and says Lady Gaga, the female half of glee squeal in unison and start tittering excitedly. Puck tunes everyone out because, judging by the look on Schuester's face, he's about to have this glee club meeting all about sharing, group hugs and morals of the story. So instead of listening to everyone else go on and on about their choices, he's thinking which artist he can name that would mess with Schue's head more. Maybe something fun, like Rush, Hollywood Undead or Black Sabbath.
When he hears Rachel's name, he snaps back just in time to hear Schue bring the focus on their weirdly quiet female lead. "Rachel? What do you think? Anything to add to the discussion?"
He can see her roll her eyes before slamming her notebook shut. "What do I think, Mr. Schue? I think we should be taking this time to finalize our songs and practicing them at least 5 hours every day if we want to have any hope of placing at Nationals," she replies pertly, as she smoothes out the skirt of her (sexy) little blue dress. Puck suppresses the urge to whoop at the badassness of (his) this girl. "However, if you insist on continuing with this inane exercise, the Beatles, I believe, are the most innovative artists of our time."
There is a beat of silence as the rest of the room processes the fact that Rachel Berry did not even stray anywhere near Broadway this time. Kurt finally breaks the quiet by clearing his throat. "Not to step on your toes or anything, because everyone knows I love the Fab Four as much as the next person, but how do you figure that?"
"Yeah, I mean they did stuff in, like, the Middle Ages. Now, Gaga…" Brittany butts in with a knowing look.
Puck can see Rachel's grip on her book tighten for a second and she closes her eyes like she's asking for strength. "First off," she starts softly explaining, "these were just four boys from Liverpool who became superstars based on their music. That doesn't happen out of luck. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were exceptional singers and songwriters. George Harrison wasn't the kind of guitar player who set his guitar on fire or spent 5 minutes on a guitar solo, but you can sing the melodies of nearly all of his breaks. Plus, he was a gifted songwriter in his own right. Ringo Starr had his own unique style of playing the drums that no one can imitate. Most of all, they were this cohesive unit of sheer genius and musicality."
"Look, if we were talking about album sales, the Beatles would definitely win it hands down. But we're not," Quinn replies.
Rachel frowns. "That's not the point. It's not because they've had how many number one hits or sold an average of 300,000 records a day. Anyone can stay at the top of the charts. It takes someone truly great to stay in your head forever."
He knows the exact moment when she thinks she's won the battle. The nods of agreement from the people around them, begrudging or not, has her smiling like a contented cat. He smirks to himself. Oh, it was on.
His voice is practically dripping with boredom when he startles her by asking, "Well, what the hell was so innovative about them anyway? They were just copying what happened before them. Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry…any of those ring any bells?"
Rachel's eyes flash when she whirls around to face him (and fuck if it isn't turning him on). "I'll admit, Elvis was a big influence on them but I think the fact that they surpassed their 'teacher' says a lot about them as artists. And if we're talking about copying, what about the Rolling Stones and their R&B cribsheet?"
His eyebrow ticks up dangerously. "Donchu talk 'bout the Stones like that."
"Well, unlike the Stones, the Beatles arrived sounding like nothing else," she retorts. "Sure, they had already absorbed the sounds of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and all those people who came before, but they were also writing their own songs. They made writing your own material expected, rather than exceptional."
He leans into her space further, completely forgetting about the other people in the room. "But I mean, come on. Love Me Do? She Loves You? Fuck, the only lyric they wrote to that was 'yeah-yeah-yeah'. Any old chimp can come up with that." He punctuates his point by blowing a raspberry, enjoying the way it made her cheeks flush in irritation.
A row below them, he can see Mike and Sam gesturing to him and mouthing Don't anger the Berry! The rest, including the band and Mr. Schue, are watching the back and forth like Puck and Rachel were a particularly interesting tennis match.
"Everyone has to start somewhere, Noah. And they grew up. They went from simple love lyrics to songs that told adult stories like Eleanor Rigby or A Day In The Life. They were the first band that talked about bigger ideas than you would expect to find in catchy pop lyrics. They tackled the dark, the satirical, the absurd. And even when they were just starting, even those songs… don't tell me it doesn't make your heart stutter just a little bit when you hear," her voice drops to a near whisper and she croons, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you / Tomorrow I'll miss you / Remember I'll always be true."
Almost automatically, the other gleeks on the risers take up the rest of the song in harmony like they couldn't help themselves. They sing "And then while I'm away / I'll write home ev'ry day / And I'll send all my loving to you" before dissolving into sincere laughter. Rachel flashes them a smile before turning back to Puck with narrowed eyes.
"Okay, fine. I'll admit that they were good songwriters," he concedes, throwing up his hands, and she looks victorious. Until he smirks, "But that still doesn't prove anything."
If looks could kill, Puck would have been a small, tidy little pile of ash by then. Rachel stands up, drawing herself into her full height (which really wasn't much, but still), and glares at him.
Her tone is clipped as she responds to her so-called friend's baiting. "The Beatles were pretty much the first group to mess with the aural perspective of their recordings and have it taken seriously," she states as if she is reading from a long list. "Before the Beatles, you didn't have bands experimenting with Indian instruments or ship whistles, or creating whole new ways to record vocals. They pioneered the concept of big world tours and with their concert at Shea Stadium forever changed how live music was played. With Rubber Soul, they ushered in musical change in the 60's. They were so distinct, so creative, that there's actually a word in the dictionary because of them – Beatlesque. Practically everyone has been influenced by the Beatles, from Prince to Kurt Cobain to Rufus Wainwright."
"But you know what made them so revolutionary?" she demands. When she receives no answer, she eventually continues in a softer voice. "They didn't write music for a certain sound, for a subset of popular culture or even for some teenagers who happened to live in a certain time period. They wrote them for the world. Because Beatles songs aren't just Beatles songs. They're everyone's songs."
The silence that follows her closing argument is expectant and he sees Artie and Brad holding in their cheers.
"So, is that enough proof for you?" she more or less growls at Puck. He can only stare at the fiery woman in front of him. Looking at him, Rachel huffs in exasperation before gathering her things. "I think this has been a very interesting meeting, Mr. Schue. I hope next week will be a little more productive. Good day." With that, she tilts her nose up to the air and sweeps her white cardigan around her shoulders like a cape, before regally exiting the choir room. Well, as regal as one can get while dragging a pink trolley bag.
Once Rachel has left, Mercedes suddenly bursts into giggles. "Boy, white girl owned your ass!" This sets off the rest of them as they begin laughing at his epic pwnage at the hands of Rachel Berry. In fact, Sam, Mike and Artie are making 'We're not worthy!' motions towards the direction of the choir door.
That's when Santana realizes something. "Wait a minute. Hold the fuck up." She looks at Puck with suspicious eyes. "Aren't you the guy who blew me off that weekend because you said ABC was airing all 7 kajillion parts of the Beatles Anthology?"
It takes a while for the information to sink in and soon everyone is looking at him in confusion as he begins to smirk. "Yeah," Finn says, this look of perpetual constipation on his face. "And you even wrote that English essay in 6th grade on Yellow Submarine!"
"And you always said you wanted to name your kid after George Harrison," Artie says as if he's slowly realizing something of great importance.
"You love the Beatles!" Tina shrieks, pointing at him like it's some sort of accusation.
By now, his smirk has grown into a full-fledged grin. "Well, yeah," he says, rolling his eyes at them. Slowly, he stretches for the backpack at his feet and bids goodbye with a two-fingered salute. He gets to the door before turning back around and addressing the people still gaping at him. "And you know what else? I'mma marry that girl someday."
Whistling And Your Bird Can Sing, he leaves the choir room behind and jogs briskly towards the parking lot. After all, he has a girl to catch.