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The Beatles - Rubber Soul CD (album) cover

RUBBER SOUL

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.87 | 473 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In addition to being widely considered one of the best releases in their catalog (and music history in general), Rubber Soul can probably be seen as one of the most important transition albums from The Beatles. Though the fab four changed up their sound quite a bit from album to album during the second half of their lifespan, Rubber Soul is the album that brought them from their earlier 'beat' era to their later, more experimental works. This LP from 1965 shows The Beatles beginning to incorporate more experimental tendencies into their music than ever before, while still maintaining a strong foundation in the style of their first few albums. Rubber Soul is a fine marriage of stellar songwriting and musical innovation, resulting in an album that is instantly accessible and recognizable, yet still satisfying for hundreds of repeat listens. That is the definition of musical genius, and that's exactly what you'll find on Rubber Soul. While I do prefer a few later releases from The Beatles to this one, it has earned a deserving spot as one of the best rock albums from its era.

Rubber Soul has a pretty interesting history with me, and as such it's difficult to review this album without a heavy sheen of nostalgia. This was actually the first album I ever bought - an almost blind purchase on a $1 copy of beat-up vinyl. The LP was definitely beat up enough when I first bought it, but I must have listened to the album over 50 times during the short period of time afterwords. I simply couldn't get enough of the fantastic songwriting, unforgettable choruses, and lovely lyrics; words probably can't describe how immensely this album has shaped my future listening habits. Nowadays, this vinyl copy is probably unplayable, but I did purchase a CD version somewhere down the line anyway. I hadn't taken out Rubber Soul for a spin in years before I decided to write this review, so this has definitely been quite the nostalgic experience for me. And what a great one too - it's amazing how I'd nearly forgotten what a spectacular album Rubber Soul is!

Even though it had been awhile before I'd last listened to Rubber Soul, it's almost as if no time was lost at all. I can still remember every harmony, recite every lyric, and recall every bridge - a true sentiment to the fantastic songwriting talents of The Beatles. As with most albums from the fab four, the biggest focus is on blissful vocal harmonies and short pop/rock songs. As a matter of fact, only one song (the wonderful "You Won't See Me") exceeds the 3 minute mark. Rubber Soul is anything but a challenging album, but it does contain new ideas (for the time) such as a sitar in "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", fuzz bass on "Think For Yourself", and a generally more folk-influenced approach to pop/rock music. The biggest treat this album has is mainly in the form of blissful vocal harmonies from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr - while these guys weren't virtuosos when it came to musicianship, they had their craft mastered, and the clever harmony arrangements are undoubtedly a massive chunk of what makes Rubber Soul such an enjoyable listen. Though "What Goes On" is a pretty weak track, there are enough gems like (to name but a few) "Girl", "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", "Nowhere Man", "In My Life", "I'm Looking Through You", and "Wait" to keep the album from ever feeling inconsistent.

Rubber Soul is the sort of album that nearly every fan of rock music has heard somewhere down the line, and there's a good reason for that. This is one of the most infectiously fun albums out there, and I know I'm always going to be in for a great time when I decide to listen to this gem. Though this isn't my favorite album from The Beatles, it's certainly one of their best - I'd recommend Rubber Soul in a heartbeat for anyone moderately interested in their music. It's rare to hear a release with this many excellent choruses, clever vocal harmonies, and well-composed pop/rock tunes, so I'd say a big 4.5 stars are fair in this case. This is one of the best mid-sixties' rock albums.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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