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The Beatles – Revolver [Album Review]

April 2, 2012

Taxman / Eleanor Rigby / I’m Only Sleeping/ Love You To / Here There And Everywhere / Yellow Submarine / She Said She Said / Good Day Sunshine / And Your Bird Can Sing / For No One / Dr Robert / I Want To Tell You / Got To Get You Into My Life / Tomorrow Never Knows

Aswell as being the first overtly psychedelic album and also the first perfect album The Beatles made. You can literally poke a finger at the sleeve and pick a winner of a track every single time(in my own beatlemaniac opinion) The genius is everywhere though, from George’s fine and influential ‘Taxman’  (ahem The Jam anyone?)  right through to ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, which honestly sounds like a future dawn of tomorrow even today! We have ‘Eleanor Rigby’ with its appropriate yet dramatic string section which works to enhance the beauty of Paul’s original composition. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ follows on from the likes of ‘Girl’ and ‘The Word’ on ‘Rubber Soul’ but the production touches are a leap forwards. Misty is the word – the music really matches the feel of the lyrics down to a tea. Following the Sitar moments in ‘Norwegian Wood’ (Rubber Soul) George builds an entire song around the instrument with ‘Love You To’. Now this. This! Is One of George’s finest moments for me(compared with every other George piece) The sound of the drums with the sitar combined and the way the vocals are stretched at the end of each section – just perfectly wonderful! The whole thing is daring, brave, experimental yet comes across as perfectly natural and grin inducing. The move into the next song ‘Here There And Everywhere’ is a great transition and this is such a lovely song. The cooing of the harmonies, the beauty of the melodies and vocals, the way the bass gently beats – rising and rising ‘Pet Sounds’ style, a wonderful song. ‘Yellow Submarine’ is a children’s song but with more production tricks and effects than almost any other song here and weirdly perhaps pointing the way forwards to ‘Sgt Peppers’. Well, we get a big fat joyously happy bass line, voices and actual samples, etc and so forth. Plus the singing inducing “Innn the toooooown” gets me every time.

Two excellent guitar songs appear in the middle of ‘Revolver’ both written quickly by John. They sit either side of ‘Good Day Sunshine’ which is another song arguably pointing the way towards ‘Sgt Pepper’.  Anyway Back to John’s guitar tunes, ‘She Said She Said’ features the line ‘I know what its like to be dead’. The lyrics are great then, but the best thing apart from that and Ringo’s drumming is the guitars which almost seem combine. The interweaving duelling guitar effect here is just such a great sound and perfect, its an effect repeated on ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ which somedays is my favourite Beatles tune of them all(even though this regularly changes funnily enough) How does it sound so damn great? Its the guitars! Those guitars! That happy happy guitar sound! Have I made my point? Lets just say I love ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ and leave it at that. The final third section of the album really just continues the genius of everything that’s gone before. We have the beautifully sad ‘For No One’, another quality George song with the wonderful sounding ‘I Want To Tell You’ with the strangest piano note i have ever heard. We’ve got variety with the brass of ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ and the title shouted out in the chorus always raises a smile in me. ‘Dr Robert’ is probably the nearest ‘Revolver’ comes to a weak track but its saved by the ‘well well well, you’re feeling fine’ vocal section which is psychedelic, and pretty damn great, actually.

After all of that we have ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ with its dense wall of noise built from samples and tape loops. Nobody knew what they were doing, it was pure experimentation but John had an idea in his head and out comes this. Many groups even today try to repeat the sound and feel of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and they simply can’t do it. Even with computers and samplers it can’t be easily done. How the hell The Beatles did it is a thing we’ll never quite know, it seems almost superhuman that such a thing could exist in 1966. It closes the album in fine style, whatever the methods behind it turn out to have been. ‘Revolver’ overall then is hailed by many as The Beatles masterwork album and is likely as close to perfection as music gets. Well it does it for me and perhaps it will for you, too.

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