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


The Beatles



4.35 | 1102 ratings

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4 stars I come at this album from the perspective of being a musical child of the early 80s. As my interest in pop and rock developed I revisited the music that my childhood, summertime babysitter used to play frequently and as a result I rediscovered the Beatles. My review is based mainly on my own knowledge and love of music and my own impressions of this album.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is an imaginative journey through moments of everyday life as well as other more bizarre and exotic places that may not be so far away. Drug influenced, as I have read, I can see that this album has a more hallucingenic influence that the perhaps pot influenced "Revolver".

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Great anthemic openning rocker with brass interlude; this song sets the stage for an album that will engage one's imagination as much as one's insights on being in the world with its meaning and meaninglessness. The album cover helps to create the fantasy of this album's journey into another way of looking at the world. The energy of this song coasts without loosing too much moment into the song which follows...

With A Little Help From My Friends - Lennon (aka Billy Shears) sings appreciatively about the difficulties of life and how he copes with them; the chorus suggests (but could now, perhaps, be understood psychologically rather than "chemically") a naive attitude (casual appreciation) toward drugs:

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends, Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends, Mmm, I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

The simple relaxed pace of this song seems to mesh with the "steady on" message of the lyrics which in turn seems to me to be deep wisdom of the most unpretentious kind.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Psychedelic lyrical imagery reportedly derived in part from experimenation with psychidelics and an abrupt switch in time-signatures mix chaos with mystical beauty in this song. From a flowering delicate sitar line to the great cosmic "Ah!" one can imagine gazing into the sky in mystical appreciation of the beauty of the world, this song is a marvelous trip!

Getting Better - This song seems like a great "in recovery" anthem; like "Eleanor Rigby" you get elegant pictures of various people who, in this case, are emerging from their anger issues. Very open and honest words coming from people who you could learn to take back into your heart.

Fixing a hole - Trippy hippy song with an introverted attitude. Less "lazy" than "I'm Only Sleeping" this song seems to be more about keeping the world's perpetual griping at bay, maintaining a positive mood by keeping the negative out. The upbeat rhythm and piano and melacholy guitar reflect the sense of a balance of the work and discipline of maintaining a positive outlook in a potentially depressing world.

She's Leaving Home - A poignant look at the mismatch of doting parents and their child who has grown and suddenly flown the coup. Strings bring in sentimentality while the lyrics gradually paint a bitter picture of the parents who would keep their grown up daughter too long.

Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite! - Set against Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds it seems that prior to psychedelics we had...the Circus! This carnival ride of a song is as hypnotic and disturbing. Not as surrealistic as Lucy in the Sky, I have to wonder whether "Lucy-in-the- sky" hasn't met Mr. Kite on one or two occasions! I detected one or two vague meglomaniacal thoughts in the lyrics helping to secure a presence of insanity. Perhaps, this is another drug-inspired song.

Within You Without You - Like "Love you to" from Revolver, this song has an authentic sounding Indian style (I'm no expert on this) from instruments to vocals. Deep mystical lyrics also provide either an exotic tone or inspiration depending on the listener's familiarity with mystical teachings. Strings come in to help build the song over a full five minutes. Great Indian style improvisation in the middle of the song as well.

When I'm Sixty-Four - Humourous, fun song with woodwinds and piano that looks forward to the bliss of old age in love. Strong contrast with previous song in mood.

Lovely Rita - Catchy melodies, sweet harmonies contrast with the veiled leudness of the lyrical content which is finally made explicit in the panting and moaning that darkly end this song. One of many examples of the Beatles ability to layer psychological complexity concisely into a short song.

Good Morning Good Morning - Slightly manic song about the emptiness of everyday busy- ness; its the Beatles prelude to Chicago's more serious "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" horns included. Ends in a moment of zoo-like chaos.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - Brief but rockin' reprise of the openning song which creates a frame around the album. The song acts as a frame in the sense of art as well making this album more recognizable as a work of art if not a well-developed concept album.

A Day in the Life - This song feels like a microcosm of the whole album that precedes it. Its lyrics reflect a profound distancing from the values of the world. The song moves from the opening melody through a brief psychedelic transition to a new melodic passage and back again giving the song the feel of a miniature symphonic suite. Three times the music approaches a cacophonous peak indicating either escape from the insanity of the world or the succombing to that same insanity. Along with "Within You Without You" this song clocks in at over 5 minutes and because of this gives you a deeper experience of the Beatles great music.

(4 stars) This album, framed as it is in its opening fanfare, defines a space that is filled with a wonderful variety of musical landscapes and psychological experiences. This album is another world which reflects our own and the songs both in their lyrics and music make that connection effectively. This is rock 'n' roll as art. For progressive rock music fans I recommend the entire album. The best songs for a progressive rock collection would IMO be "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "Within You Without You", "A Day in the Life".

sealchan | 4/5 |


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