Friday, July 4, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: The Beatles - Revolver

Track by Track - Revolver by the Beatles (1966) by Johnny Moon

1966's Revolver was perhaps The Beatles first fully realized album. While you could make an argument that A Hard Day's Night or Rubber Soul deserves that title, to me it seems like Revolver is their first album to be completely artistic statement. Rubber Soul had duds like "Wait" and "Run For Your Life" on it after all. This is a track by track look at Revolver.

1. "Taxman"

"Taxman" was one of three songs on the album written by George Harrison. Revolver was really Harrison's "coming out party" as a serious songwriter. Harrison was the lead guitarist for The Beatles but he actually did not play lead guitar on this song. Paul McCartney played lead guitar on this track. McCartney's frenetic lead part was inspired by new guitarist that was just hitting the scene at the time, Jimi Hendrix.

2. "Eleanor Rigby"

One of The Beatles most timeless classics. This is mostly a Paul McCartney solo song really as he's the only Beatle to be heard on the track. McCartney sang along with a double string quartet arrangement. There are no guitars, bass, or drums on the track. McCartney wrote the song largely on his own although John Lennon did contribute somewhat to the lyrics.

3. "I'm Only Sleeping"

A dreamy song that's either about taking acid or just sleeping in, or perhaps it is about both? The song features some very cool backwards guitar parts.

4. "Love You To"

This is a George Harrison written song and almost everything heard in the song was played by Harrison. Ringo Starr was the only other Beatle to be heard on the track, he played the tambourine. It was the first Beatles song to incorporate classical Indian style music.

5. "Here, There, & Everywhere"

A timeless Paul McCartney ballad. McCartney has said in interviews that this is one of his favorite songs he has ever written.

6. "Yellow Submarine"

In my opinion this is the one fault with Revolver. While I like "Yellow Submarine" well enough on it's own, it doesn't fit that well into the flow of the album. That being said, in some ways it's one of The Beatles more memorable songs. It features Ringo Starr on lead vocals, McCartney was the song's main songwriter. It was of course also the title for The Beatles animated movie released in 1968.

7. "She Said She Said"

One of the earliest "acid rock" songs. The lyrics were inspired by an LSD trip John Lennon had. He was on LSD at a party when the actor Peter Fonda (who was also on LSD) apparently kept saying that he "knows what it's like to be dead."

8. "Good Day Sunshine"

Written by Paul McCartney who said he was inspired by The Lovin' Spoonful's "good time music."

9. "And Your Bird Can Sing"

Features one of The Beatles most memorable guitar lines which is actually a dual guitar riff played by both Harrison & Lennon. The song was written by Lennon, but of course as with all Lennon and/or McCartney songs was credited as Lennon/McCartney.

10. "For No One"

Another stunning classic from McCartney who was perhaps at his peak during this time. The Beatles were always looking for an original approach and in this song it was the unusual french horn solo that set it apart arrangement wise.

11. "Doctor Robert"

Another "acid rock" song by John Lennon to go along with "She Said She Said." Who "Dr. Robert" is exactly is open to debate, Lennon said that he was actually "Dr. Robert," as he was the one who "carried around all of the pills." The song's lyrics include some of the Beatles most overt drug references.

12. "I Want To Tell You"

Harrison's 3rd song on the album. It has an interesting "dissonant" sound to it that. The song is built mostly around a "drone" which shows Harrison's huge Indian music influence of the time.

13. "Got To Get You Into My Life"

Paul McCartney's "ode to marijuana" was heavily influenced by the Motown sound, in particular songs released by the Stax label.

14. "Tomorrow Never Knows"

One of The Beatles most experimental tracks. Incredibly, given how incredibly futuristic it sounds, the song was actually the first one recorded for the album. The song is based on a C drone (another sign of Indian music influence) and everything about the recording was revolutionary at the time. It makes use of backwards guitar, heavily compressed drums, and cut up tape. The lyrics were inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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