Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: The Beatles - The White Album

The Beatles' White Album - 40 Years Later by Johnny Moon

The Beatles released their only self titled album on November 22, 1968. The Beatles was also their only double album. It became known as The White Album due to it's almost entirely white cover (except for the title "The Beatles") and the fact that it can be confusing to refer to a self titled album.

So how does it sound now that it's 40 years old? To my ears it sounds just as fresh as it did when I first heard it. I wasn't yet born in 1968 so I don't know how it sounded back then but I do know it sounded brilliant when I first heard it in 1996 and I know it still sounds brilliant today. In fact I think it sounds even better as songs like "Savoy Truffle" which I wasn't able to get into originally I now enjoy.

I think that's the thing that really sets The White Album apart: The fact that the album is still growing on me 12 years later. Most albums one gets sick of after hundreds of listens but not The White Album. The incredible variety in the styles of the songs on the album (with songs as diverse as "I Will," "Helter Skelter," & "Revolution #9") helps to keep it so fresh. But of course variety of styles wouldn't mean much if the songs weren't any good. But of course these songs are very very good.

And unlike most Beatles albums, it isn't filled with the kind of "everyone has heard them 87 million times" songs (see The Beatles 1 collection) that can sometimes actually break up the flow of an album. As excellent as songs like "Blackbird," "I'm So Tired," "Dear Prudence," and "Happiness is a Warm Gun" are, they are not really heard very often except within the context of this album and I think that adds to the enjoyment of the album.

Sure there are a few of those "everyone has heard them 87 million times" songs on the album (see "Back in the USSR" and "ObLaDi ObLaDa" for a couple of obvious examples) but they only make up a few of the 30 tracks on the album. I think that's part of what keeps the album sounding so fresh in comparison to the other Beatles albums.

Revolver is another Beatles album that benefits from the fact that while it's songs are extremely good, they aren't found on a lot of "Greatest Hits" collections (save "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yellow Submarine.) And don't get me wrong, The White Album is not The Beatles only great album, it's one of many great albums by the band (see Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, A Hard Day's Night...) but for me it is the greatest of the great.

Happy birthday to The White Album! It still sounds as good today as it did the day it was released!

CLICK HERE - November 22, 1968. Learn more about The White Album and buy related items online.

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1 comment:

  1. Great insight. As a new fellow 40 year old I can appreciate the sticky soul that went into that.

    Yours sincerely

    Justin Sheedy

    Birthdate July 21 1968