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The Beatles - The Beatles [Aka: The White Album] CD (album) cover


The Beatles



4.18 | 765 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Let me try to be fair here in my assessment of the White Album, properly titled THE BEATLES. First and foremost, I wasn't around in 1968 back when it was first released, so I don't necessarily understand how revolutionary this claims to be. Second, I wasn't really a Beatles fan growing up, so no childhood memories to latch onto here. However, I'm giving two stars to an iconic album of the 1960's, so I'd better have a good explanation.

Actually, I think I do. What the White Album lacks is a good dose of consistency. The album seems to cover a barrage of styles with poor transitions between style changes. This is not like say Queen's A NIGHT AT THE OPERA where many diverse styles were covered, but the fluidity was better and such style changes seem natural to Queen. Going back to THE BEATLES, it goes almost haphazardly from good ol' rock n' roll (''USSR'') to silly kids TV themes (''Bungalow Bill'') to prog rock (''Happiness'') to country (''Rocky Raccoon'') to blues (''Yer Blues'') to avant-garde (''Revolution 9'') get the idea. Any good defense of this album would be the number of styles covered, but in my definition of good music, a great flow trumps multiple genre nods any day.

Keep in mind that the White Album is a double album; this means that there's guaranteed to be quite a few filler tracks. Yes, I use the ''politically incorrect'' term ''filler'' here, but in my mind it makes perfect sense. If you don't believe me, try to defend ''Wild Honey Pie'', easily the worst song I've ever heard out of this group, a song that needn't belong on any album. Why, might you ask? It's a minute of the worst guitar noises and yodeling there is. Thankfully, no other song is this dreadful although ''Bungalow Bill'' comes close thanks to Yoko Ono's vocals.

However, most filler are songs that just don't sound like they ''have it''. Take songs like ''Glass Onion'', ''Yer Blues'', ''Blackbird'' and ''Me and My Monkey''; all of those songs mentioned sound very average to my ears without being of any importance. Others like ''Piggies'', ''Ob-La-Di,Ob-La-Da'' and ''Revolution 9'' are just weird experiments coming from the Beatles, all of them sounding like messes. Then again, double albums and filler tracks go together like peanut butter and jelly. Heck, I'm willing to admit that some double albums I like (TAGO MAGO, CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, FREAK OUT! to name a few) have filler tracks or padded lengths. As pessimistic as it sounds, I should have expected a numerous amount of filler.

However, not all is average here. Even with ''Wild Honey Pie'', Side 1 is clearly the strongest side carrying four of the albums strongest tracks; ''Back in the USSR'', ''Dear Prudence'', ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps'' and ''Happiness is a Warm Gun''. Of particular interest to progsters should be the ethereal ''Dear Prudence'' and its bass jumps and the metre shifting mini-suite of ''Happiness''. I guess everyone has their favourite cuts on this album, but after the first side, only ''Julia'', ''Helter Skelter'', ''Savoy Truffle'' and ''Revolution 1'' are of any interest to me.

It's a well-known album, so this ought to be one that you might want to check out. Just keep in mind that just because the Beatles made this album doesn't mean it's a masterpiece. I say that if THE BEATLES was kept to a single album, it might have been less controversial. Definitely should come with a warning tag.

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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