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The Beatles - Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD (album) cover

YELLOW SUBMARINE SONGTRACK

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.36 | 36 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
4 stars For those proto-proggers out there who prefer their Beatles psychedelic side up with a generous slice of ham this should smell like breakfast to you. The ground-breaking animation of the phantasmagoric "Yellow Submarine" movie required the use of some of the Fab Four's most eclectic recordings to accompany the trippy story line and this soundtrack, therefore, does a good job of displaying their more experimental and whimsical side. It's also just a nice alternative grouping of their songs to listen to any time.

The boys from Liverpool had a healthy sense of humor about them and the title track is a great example. Producer George Martin's experiences from recording zany British comedians years before gave him the ability to see the bigger picture and he probably encouraged them to throw in quirky voices and sound effects when called for. The claustrophobic daily life they were leading brought on by their immense fame likely inspired the basic idea of all of them existing in a submerged U-boat. Symbolism abounds aplenty for it's not just a song for kids, you know. The bold "Hey Bulldog" not only has a cool heavy piano/guitar riff and an unusual chord progression, Lennon's off-the-wall but vaguely surrealistic lyrics are intriguing in more ways than one. "Some kind of innocence is measured out in years/you don't know what it's like to listen to your fears" he sings. It also proves that at that point in their career they still were having fun in the studio as evidenced by their enthusiastic kennel imitations at the end. The dark but truly poetic "Eleanor Rigby" with its aggressive string quartet backbone, unforgettable melodies and brilliant counterpoint still has the ability to send a shiver up your spine.

There's a fair amount of the Dark Horse included here, starting with Harrison's landmark "Love You To" in which the previously obscure sitar and its accompanying Indian percussion was foisted upon the unsuspecting western world. It's definitely a song that neither John or Paul would have ever written, that's for sure. "All Together Now" is another gleeful romp that contains a sense of levity that seems to be missing and presumed lost in 21st century music. Don't be judgmental about its sing-along corniness. It's a refreshing thing to simply enjoy a light-hearted tune for exactly what it is. Lennon's miraculously inspired "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" needs no dissection as it is a masterpiece in its own right. George's "Think for Yourself," while not the best song he ever contributed to the cause, still stands out for making it clear to musicians the world over that anything, even a bass guitar, could be fed through a fuzz box. The other-worldly aura of the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from my Friends" medley sustains the slightly hallucinogenic feel of the proceedings and the exclamatory exuberance of "Baby You're a Rich Man" has enough incidental noises cropping up here and there to keep you wondering what you just heard.

The somewhat rare "Only a Northern Song" by Mr. Harrison is a welcome addition and his spaced-out but wry, tongue-in-cheek sarcasm is worth a chuckle or two. "If you think the harmony/is a little dark and out of key/you're correct/there's nobody there" he sings as disjointed, backwards horns swim through the track. The bombastic but eternally relevant "All You Need is Love" entrances next, followed by Paul's comical "When I'm Sixty Four" with its dry clarinet and charming, old-world atmosphere. The beautifully tight harmonies of "Nowhere Man" demonstrate what excellent vocalists and arrangers they were and that striking, double-tracked electric 12-string guitar lead creates a sound that will probably never be duplicated. But the most astoundingly psychedelic track comes is saved for last with George's wonderful, carnival-like "It's All Too Much." There are so many wildly progressive ideas flying around during this number that they defy description and I would be more than willing to put it up against anything in the acid rock vein that Pink Floyd ever created. It is, in two words, a trip.

In addition, not only is it a fine congregation of Beatle classics and lesser-known cuts, the audio is consistently pristine. If you have a pretty decent collection of their material but don't have "It's All Too Much" or "Hey Bulldog" then this is a must have for the true fan. 3.8 stars.

Chicapah | 4/5 |

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