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The Beatles - Revolver CD (album) cover

REVOLVER

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.37 | 636 ratings

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sealchan
3 stars Spoiler warning...I am not concerned with presenting this album in its historical context nor in explaining it in terms of the time in which it was released...I am responding to it from my own perspective. Released a year before I was born, I probably was first exposed to the Beatles by my summertime babysitter in the 70s and who loved the Beatles. Not until the early 80s did my own appreciation for rock and pop first develop. I eventually traced back through the work of those artists that I enjoyed and admired and rediscovered the phenomenon that is the Beatles!

This album is largely a collection of portraits of people or moments caught in music either profoundly suited to the lyrical content or not so much. Each song is never more than three minutes long so even with 14 songs you may find this album over sooner than you would expect. There is also a heavy strain of what could be interpreted as a naive attitude towards the glories of drugs and their effects that might offend those who know now all too well the profound suffering that addiction can cause.

Taxman - Tight rocker spelling out how tax collectors are right up there with lawyers and repo men...good ironic humor. Lyrics from the perspective of the evil taxman to a guitar riff that upholds the aggressive indifference of the said taxman's intentions.

Eleanor Rigby - Haunting string instruments march you through elegant portraits of people living in quiet desparation; lyrics portray them without rescuing them; "Ah! Look at all the lonely people!" one of the more evocative chorus' ever sung

I'm Only Sleeping - First of a number of songs taken from moments in the life of a drug user. Good, laid-back shuffle about being sleepy-high and not wanting to be bothered

Love You To - Strikes me as being sincerely influenced by traditional Indian music. The exotic instrumentation is hypnotic and augments the lyrics drug-induced perspective

Here, There and Everywhere - Sounds like a quiet, humble love song on a still, lazy day...could be about getting high! Hard to tell sometimes (see Dr. Roberts, he'll hook you up!). Or could it be akin to the Police's "Every Breath You Take" which is really a song about a stalker!

Yellow Submarine - Who needs drugs when you have...imagination! If you don't sing along you will feel like you are missing out. How else are you going to get to see the "Octopus' Garden"? Great song effects enhance the fun and adventure on this classic that caught my attention as a child.

She Said She Said - Referring to the same woman as in "She's So Heavy"? Upbeat tune but really a great description of getting your mind blown or your reality shattered.

Good Day Sunshine - Carefree once again...the innocence of this song and its appreciation of a good moment bring some lightness into some of the murky darkness of previous songs...like a breath of fresh air.

And Your Bird Can Sing - Listening to Lennon noodling artfully makes this song for me. Never quite got what the lyrics are about.

For No One - Another character sketch with a catchy, quiet harpsichord and horn accompaniment

Dr. Roberts - This song is about the drug dealer we should be harranging perhaps...reflectes the Taxman's strong guitar line but is less aggressive in tone

I Want To Tell You - Catchy song elegantly creates the mood of having something that you wanted to say but not being able to get it out...the music travels in circles too as if trying to find something...perhaps this is a hidden or unintended theme throughout this album

Got To Get You Into My Life - About love (or lust) or about LSD? You decide.

"I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there"

Tomorrow Never Knows - Mystical summary, perhaps, of the vague and potentially perilous moments this album has sketched. Sitar and tape loops create a "revolving" chaos that perhaps this album is meant to unfold in individual sketches like some "Pictures at an Exhibition" made by young and rebellious artists of the age. This song is the most complex by far and stands out instrumentally far above the other songs.

3 stars The songs may be a bit short to more deeply capture my attention but these are high quality pop and rock songs. "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" would make good additions to a progressive rock collection as these songs are precursors to the more fantastic or artfully constructed places that prog songs try and take us to.

sealchan | 3/5 |

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