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The Beatles - Revolver CD (album) cover

REVOLVER

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.37 | 900 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
5 stars In my opinion, Revolver is The Beatles' most consistently good album, and that's including Yellow Submarine. None of the songs are longer than 3 minutes, and there's hardly a time signature change to be seen, yet this may be the most 'progressive' album they released. The word 'progressive' is always hard to define, but usually you will find a mention of a group trying to 'push back the boundaries of rock and pop' and listening to this album, you will find that this is exactly what the Beatles are doing. Gone are the likes of songs such as 'She Loves You' and 'From Me To You'. The Beatles, now satisfied with being one of the most popular groups of all time, decided to try and become more experimental and different with their music, rather than just release pop record after pop record, which is perhaps what makes them one of the most highly regarded bands of all time. What we find on this record are a collection of very mature, well thought out songs. This album was the only one they released in 1966, along with the single 'Paperback Writer/Rain' which implies that they spent more time writing the songs. The idea of pushing the boundaries of rock as far back as 1966 is why I believe the Beatles were one of the earliest 'progressive' groups.

Taxman There are not one, but three Harrison tracks on Revolver. Taxman is a haunting song about a greedy tax collector. While I'm not a fan of the main riff, which repeats for the entire duration of the song, I very much like the way the backing vocals are arranged, and also the guitar solo in the middle and end is very cool.

Eleanor Rigby This is one of the better known songs from the album. Paul is joined by a string quartet for this very melancholic song about 'lonely people'. The lyrics are very memorable, and very mature, for a man who was singing 'For I have got Another Girl' just the year before. This song is great, but personally I'm not a huge fan of the string quartet, and I prefer when the band play their instruments.

I'm Only Sleeping The atmosphere changes completely once again for this very relaxing song. I love the lyrics; how many people haven't thought at one point 'Please don't wake me, I'm only sleeping.'? The highlight for me is when the instruments all cut out, but suddenly come back in for the 'Keeping an eye...' lyric. A very psychedelic song, and easy to get confused with 'I'm So Tired'.

Love You To Harrison's second outing on this album, is extremely influenced by Indian music. I've never been a fan of the Indian side to Harrison's music, as I felt the songs we're sometimes a bit dull and sounded very out of place on the Beatles' albums. While I'm not a great fan of this song, I think it is a lot better than 'Within You Without You' from the Sgt Pepper's album, as it is far shorter (and therefore has a less dominating presence on the album) and also more energised.

Here, There And Everywhere Paul's contributions to this album far outweigh the others in my opinion. This is one of the loveliest songs ever written, such a beautiful melody, and so relaxing. The 'ooh's in the background are exquisite. The perfect love song, wholly original, and in no way cringey.

Yellow Submarine You knew it was coming, they had to let old Ringo have a song to himself. In an album full of mature compositions, one wonders what a childrens' song is doing on here. You'll listen to it, sing along to it, laugh at it on occasions, but in reality it's one of those songs that you'd rather skip when listening to the album. Further boosting Ringo's reputation as the comic relief of the Beatles, this is another song to put in the Beatles bad songs bin. Quite ironic really that it's become one of the most famous songs by the band.

She Said She Said After the childrens nightmare song, we are faced with another truly bizarre song. The lyrics are very incomprehensible, and there is a good chance the Beatles were quite high when they wrote and recorded this. However, it has some very positive qualities as well. Ringo really lets himself go on the drums, performing a different drum fill every 4 bars or so. There is also a time signature change from 4/4 to 3/4 in the bridge section. I personally like this one, but I can imagine it annoying others.

Good Day Sunshine Side 2 opens with the best sounding track on the album. The rich piano sound on this song is very appealing indeed, and the melody played on the piano during the verse is positively fantastic. The instrumental consists of a very short but effective piano solo. Also interesting is Ringo's use of polyrhythms during the chorus. With great lyrics on top, this a brilliant little track, and one of my favourites from the album.

And Your Bird Can Sing While the preceding track is geared towards piano, this one makes a large use of the guitars, with the guitar solo being unforgettable. The lyrics don't make that much sense, but this is still a really good song.

FOR NO ONE At a mere two minutes long, the shortest song on the album is also the best in my opinion. The use of a clavichord, is a truly inspired move on Paul's part, but it suits the song perfectly. Go to Wikipedia and you'll see it describes the song as being Baroque Pop, a funny prospect. The lyrics are mind-blowing, every time I listen to them, I am always moved by their meaning. You can listen again and again, and the emotion is never lost. The French horn solo is also absolutely perfect in this song, and fits perfectly. The best song on the album for me.

Doctor Robert This song has a very similar feel to Taxman. The song has a drug theme, but the lyrics really don't go anywhere and just confuse the listener. Musically, there isn't anything that interesting about this song, and it is very repetitive.

I Want To Tell You Harrison's last contribution to this album is his best. The lyrics are good, but the melody is fantastic. The highlights are Ringo's loud drum fills after the bridges.

Got To Get You Into My Life You have to love the energised feel that the brass section gives this song. This song is a lot of fun to listen to, with the only downside being that the 'chorus' is ridiculously short. The brass section compliment Paul's bass guitar very well, and there is even a spot for some lead guitar in there. This song is another good reason to listen to Revolver.

Tomorrow Never Knows This song shows John's successful experimenting with tape loops. Although brief, the song sucks you into into its world, where you become mesmerised. The drone continues for the entire song, and only one note is played on the bass guitar. Ringo's drumming is also fantastic here, and the repetitive nature adds to the drone. A very cool song to finish the album.

There is truly something for everyone on this album. I particularly enjoy the album cover, which shows how album art was becoming more than just showing a picture of the band, and actually being taken seriously. The fact that the Beatles had the guts to try new things, rather than sticking to the same formula, and also getting it right, is what made them so successful.

baz91 | 5/5 |

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