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THE BEATLES

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.16 | 546 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The hangover from 1967

1967 was an amazing year for the Fab with two acid infused classics on their hands. In spring 1968 they flew to India to spend some time expanding their consciousness with the Maharishi. He made an impression on them initially but Lennon would see through the charade in time. During this vacation they amassed a fair amount of material and recorded from May through October 1968. The White Album is probably The Beatles least coherent overall, seemingly loose and occasionally sloppy. Which is probably exactly what some of them wanted. After being constrained a bit by Paul's thematic ideas for Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour, one gets the feeling that White Album was John and George saying "stay the hell out of the way." There is some serious experimentation happening throughout, both in styles and in sounds. John would comment that the album was a special treat for fans because it "has a lot of stuff on it." This is absolutely true, it is an album for fans which gives them additional insight into the personalities of the band. But judged as an album on its own accord, well, it has some issues. There are plenty of tracks here not up to the usual standards.

The great stuff here is pretty varied with John contributing the pleasant "Dear Prudence" and the fantastic "I'm so tired" where you can literally hear the weariness and anger just below the surface. "Revolution 9" is an interesting sound collage that is probably The Beatles most radical piece, but unfortunately it's not something you'll want to hear more than once per decade. Paul has plenty of great character pieces, ballads, and story-songs. "Martha My Dear" showcases Paul's love for that slightly dated feel which I find so appealing, these days such songwriting style would be so refreshing. "Blackbird" is drop dead gorgeous acoustic bliss and "Mother Nature's Son" may be the highlight. "Helter Skelter" is a fan favorite with Paul pushing his vocals to the extreme. George delivers the lovely "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which may be his finest Beatles track, along with the strange baroque-sounding "Piggies." The closer "Good Night" was a really nice touch. But perhaps more than any other Beatles album, there's some fairly disposable stuff here like Back In The USSR/Glass Onion/Wild Honey Pie/Bungalow Bill/Why don't we/Yer Blues/Everybodys/Long Long Long.

Were the White Album a single disc with only the best material it would easily be another 4 star affair. With all of the extra delicacies offered, some good and some not so, the album falls to 3 stars overall. Still, while this music is all over 40 years old now, it still blows my mind how superior it is to most modern era mainstream music.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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