Tuesday, March 6, 2012
"Revolver" by The Beatles (August, 1966)
Revolver is a Beatles album that I have been pretty familiar with for quite a few years. I remember my dad burning Revolver, Abbey Road, and Rubber Soul for me one day, and out of the three, I think Abbey Road stuck with me the most. Mostly just because of "Oh Darlin'" though. That was quite a few years ago. But now, having listened to Revolver again, I think this one might win.
Every song rules. Well, with the exception of "Yellow Submarine." I could never really get into that song. But songs such as "She Said She Said," "Eleanor Rigby," and "Good Day Sunshine," how can you not love this album? Song after song after song is just gold.
I'm not sure how The Beatles did it. Just about every song on Revolver sounds so full and polished that you think every song was 5+ minutes long because of all the production and everything distracting you, but the longest song is a second or two over 3 minutes. Pairing the Beatles with producer George Martin was a match made in Heaven. I use the term "polished" lightly though. They don't play as tightly as they could have on these recordings, but with the strings, horns, percussion, and vocal harmonies mixed it, it all works perfectly.
Pet Sounds was The Beach Boys answer to The Beatles' Rubber Soul, and Revolver is The Beatles' answer to Pet Sounds. Personally, I think Revolver falls short, in comparison. But on its own, Revolver, to me, is the perfect Beatles album. Fun and catchy, with a little bit of dorkiness, and a touch of weird experimental sounds and production.
Revolver is the third disc on my list of greatest albums ever (and the rockingest of the top three), and is, on most days, my favorite Beatles record.
Of course, when I first fell in love with this record, it was the U.S. version, which omits three songs, "I'm Only Sleeping," "And Your Bird Can Sing," and "Doctor Robert." The result is a different listening experience, although nowhere as drastic a difference as the U.S. and U.K. versions of Rubber Soul, which could be counted as different albums entirely. Having those songs restored to their rightful place only makes Revolver even better.
Picking favorite songs from this album is like singling out your favorite bits in a perfect salad. The individual components are great, but when assembled into a single unit, each part is even better. There are so many classics here, from "Taxman" and "Eleanor Rigby" (reportedly the first rock and roll song to feature only classical instruments) to the Beach-Boys-Esque "Here, There, and Everywhere" and the heartbreaking "For No One," the happy, poppy "Good Day Sunshine" and "Got To Get You Into My Life," the experimental "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "I'm Only Sleeping," and even the goofy, silly oddball of the album, "Yellow Submarine." Revolver bridges all of the different Beatle stages, a true musical candy store, and opens the door for the more artistic, studio-based sound that would continue through the end of their career.
Rock and roll really doesn't get any better than this.