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The Beatles - Revolver CD (album) cover

REVOLVER

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.38 | 841 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

marktheshark
5 stars What I consider their best album with Rubber Soul close behind. The Beatles assaulted the senses from all directions with this one. While Pepper may be their most flamboyant and copied production, there were still some weak songs on that album. The pure genious that lies here is in the strength of the songs themselves. Not a single dud in the bunch. Everyone of them to this day still perks your ears up with or without the indulgence of studio technology. Even Tomorrow Never Knows would sound good unplugged. Ok, maybe that's stretching things a bit, but you "never know"!

We start off with George's Taxman. Now how's that for something different? George with the opening cut?! Not only that, he has 3 cuts instead of his usual 2. Watch out John and Paul, "something" is coming! This is probably The Beatles first anti- government protest song with odes to Brit politicians Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath. Did you ever hear Dylan mention Kennedy or LBJ? George decided to give the lead guitar slot to Paul on this one and to correct Chopper's review, this was not used backwards for TNK. TNK was recorded and dubbed on April 6th, where Taxman was recorded 2 weeks later as per Mark Lewisohn's book Beatles Abby Road Recording Sessions. Sorry Chopper!

Paul got back on the strings binge after the success of Yesterday with Eleanor Rigby, a beautiful ballad about a lonely spinster. This is one of only two songs that John and Paul disagreed on who wrote what (the other being Rubber Soul's "In My Life"). Paul claims he wrote the whole song, where John claimed he helped with about half the lyrics. No big deal though, Paul was later quoted "Hey, we wrote about 80 songs together and to only disagree on 2 is pretty good!"

I'm Only Sleeping is probably the closest touch to jazz The Beatles ever came to. John was singing about the exhaustive toll Beatlemania was taking on him and how he would just sleep for days at a time. The song just wisps you away into a dreamy state with it's backward guitars. This was the first song of theirs to actually catch Miles Davis' ears.

Love To You is George's first full blown Indian influenced song and probably his best (with 68's The Inner Light about neck and neck). Hiring professoinal Indian musicians to create an Eastern sound, the song runs through exotic and complex tempos complimenting George's double-tracked vocals. No other Beatles performed.

Here, There and Everywhere is one of Paul's best love ballads. John always considered this one of his favorite Macca compositions. The three-part harmony vocals are nothing short of perfection.

Now we come to one of The Beatles' most novelty of songs. Basically a children's song with Ringo being the perfect choice for the vocal spotlight. Pretty much the whole recording crew got involved on this one, blowing bubbles through a straw, swishing rags in bucketful of water and rattling chains to creat the effect of actually being on a submarine. Little did we and the Beatles themselves knew at the time that 2 years later it would be the subject of an animated feature film.

She Said, She Said was one of John's first LSD inspired songs. Kicking off with George's rock-hard guitar playing and Ringo's most bombastic and inventive drumming, John throws an of the cuff line he earlier laid on Peter Fonda while tripping on acid that he knew what it was like to be dead.

Good Day Sunshine is a probably the most minor of songs on this album but still a gem. Pretty leisurely played with George Martin's barrell-house piano accompanient. Basically a walk in the park song with a great double-tracked vocal ending.

And Your Bird Can Sing is a song John always thought was just crap but everybody else loves. George claims it was either him and John or him and Paul doing the double lead guitar playing.

For No One is another Macca favorite of John's. Paul wrote it one night and recorded it next day in one take and later dubbed in Alan Civil's French Horn. A very haunting and beautiful melody.

Dr Robert is another drug induced song giving reference to Dr Charles Roberts of New York who gave unorthodox perscriptions to New York elites like Andy Warhol and the Beatles themselves as per Lennon close friend Pete Shotton. Sorry again Chopper, it's not about the infamous dentist that served the sugar cubes to John and George. Great use of Hammond organ here.

George's 3rd and final cut on the album I Want To Tell You features some George's best guitar work. George said it's about the avalanche of thoughts you sometimes get that are hard to transmit.

Go To Get You Into My Life is Paul's ode to the Motown sound that was so prominent on the airwaves at the time. Using beefy horns, this is about the most soulful song the Beatles have done to date with a blistering vocal by Paul.

The closing track, Tomorrow Never Knows (a title John picked up from Ringo to lighten up the mood) is considered by many the first psychedelic acid-rock song. With lyrics taken from the Tibetan Book Of The Dead John initially wanted a thousand Tibetan monks chanting during this which of course resulted in George Martin shaking his head saying "Forget it!" more or less. John also wanted his voice to sound like it was coming from a distant hilltop so to achieve this, his voice was fed into a rotating Leslie speaker to give a more strangled sound. This effect was later used by Jethro Tull on the title cut of Aqualung. After the basic track was laid down, each of the Beatles went home and created tape loops of anything that sounded strange. Paul's contribution was of himself laughing played backwards. Once done, Paul took the task of editing the tapes together into a collage of sounds against Ringo's thunderous drumming and George's droning Sitar. The result is absolute mayhem. A real head feast!

In closing, this album has more than stood the test of time. It is still considered by many the staple of rock's progress into experimentation. The fact that they've been able to achieve these results with just 4 track machines is amazing enough. The Beatles had embarked into a new realm at this point and this album gives you good peek of things to come.

marktheshark | 5/5 |

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