Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Revolver – the best Beatles album?

I am once again going through all the Beatles albums in order on my commute. As I have mentioned before, I have a six-CD changer in my car and two of those slots have Beatles in them. I've allowed each Beatles album to stay in the rotation for two plays and then I switch it out for the next one. Today I heard what I have long considered the best Beatles album, Revolver, and I was reminded why I like it so much. It's almost all there – all the things that are great about the Beatles are present on Revolver. George Harrison has a rocker ("Taxman,") a song with Indian influence ("Love You To,") and a mid tempo song ("I Want to Tell You,") all of which are among his best Beatles era compositions. John Lennon is cryptic ("She Said She Said,") experimental ("Tomorrow Never Knows,") and produces a couple of great standard mid-era Beatles songs ("Doctor Robert," "And Your Bird Can Sing.") Paul McCartney is clearly starting to work outside the bounds of two-guitars-bass-drums with some of his songs adding strings ("Eleanor Rigby,") brass ("Got to Get You Into My Life,") and French Horn ("For No One,") while writing some of the most memorable melodies of his career ("Here, There and Everywhere.") Even Ringo's throwaway novelty tune is the iconic "Yellow Submarine." The performances are top-notch and we see that the band is starting to develop distinct individual personalities while still operating as a unit.

Revolver is sometimes overshadowed by it's successor, Sgt Pepper because it had such a huge influence on the culture when it was released. And, frankly, at the time, Revolver was "just another Beatles album." George has even said that he sees Revolver and Rubber Soul as basically parts one and two of the same album but I think he undersells this album. This is ironic, really, because this album has more of his compositions than any album before and it shows him stepping up as a composer. It also shows some of John and Paul's strongest work. This isn't to say that the albums made before and after this one were weak. It's hard to think of Rubber Soul and Sgt Pepper as anything other than unqualified successes. But time has shown that Revolver found the Beatles at the top of their game.

1 comment:

Jedediah said...

It's my favorite too. Thanks