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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD (album) cover


The Beatles



4.33 | 968 ratings

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5 stars Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is quite possibly the most important album in rock history. Overnight, it changed musicians perceptions of what could be done with rock music. Inspired by the pressures of fame (a recurring muse for the constantly hounded Beatles), Paul McCartney created the concept of the Beatles hiding from the public using Sgt. Pepper's as a disguise. A silly theme, yes, especially when you see the Day-Glo uniforms the band wore for it (they are so atrociously bright Stevie Wonder could see them coming from a mile away). The writing was aided by LSD, which isn't hard to believe if you glance at the artwork or listen to the songs (yes, I know Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is not about the drug, but that's not what I'm talking about).

From the bombastic opening title track we are led into "With A Little Help From My Friends," which has thinly-veiled pro-drug sentiments, but it works much better at face value as a tune about, well, friends. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "Getting Better," and "Fixing a Hole" all have the standard Beatles optimism, but there is a hint of cynicism borne out of the twisted state of the world at the time, not to mention their growing hatred on one another. "She's Leaving Home" is where the melancholy really hits, and it's even more depressing than "Eleanor Rigby," which is impressive in its own sad way. "Within You Without You" is where the influence of Ravi Shankar on George Harrison is most evident. The best track on the album, however, is without a doubt "A Day in the Life," which I believe is the band's best song. John Lennon's cynicism clashes with Paul's optimism (life would later imitate art), with Paul asking us to "see the show" and John lamenting about the news. George Martin's orchestral buildup is masterful, and it's teh first bit of music to ever terrify and thrill me at the same time. That, coupled with Jon and Paul's best lyrics (a feat to say the least) make this an all time classic.

The impact of Sgt. Pepper's on the music world cannot be understated. It showed that rock was more than merely a variation of blues, and it pushed the envelope of experimentation in music. Rolling Stone called this the best album of all time for it's lasting impact. That is one of three times RS has ever been right about music (another naming Hendrix best guitarist I'll leave the third open in case they say something intelligent in the future). To some it's sounds dated, but I think the opposite, that it's the best preserved save Abbey Road. You are not a fan of music without this album. It's devoid of filler, and it truly defines masterpiece.

Grade: A+

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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