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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD (album) cover

SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.32 | 732 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In June of 1967, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, the album that changed all the rules of rock. From the artwork to the overall craft on composition, this album was groundbreaking. It's often hailed as the best album ever released, but in my opinion it doesn't quite come that close, in fact, I wouldn't even call it a masterpiece. Still, regardless, this is a great achievement and everyone should really listen to it at least once in their lifetimes. What makes this album different from the rest? The budding experimentation that could be heard on Rubber Soul and Revolver comes full circle on this album, with many pieces crossing into many different atmospheres and moods, and there are a lot of varying styles that go along with those pieces. The listener is taken on a journey throughout the 40 minutes of music and it's a highly enjoyable experience.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band opens up the album with some strong riffing and ripping leads from Harrison. The band introduce themselves as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and they really share some great harmonies and McCartney has some great lead vocals as well. It segues into With a Little Help From My Friends (after McCartney introduces "the one and only Billy Shears"), a somber Ringo led tune with some heart felt and sincere vocals as well as some dynamic call and response lyrics in the middle sections. It's a great piece that coupled with the intro starts the album off well. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds is a genuine psychedelic piece (some also derive the title to LSD) with some quirky lyrics from Lennon as well as some great arpeggios from Harrison. The chorus sections in which McCartney lets loose on both bass and vocal is also great. Getting Better is a fun piece with a nice droning guitar bit and some uplifting lyrics (although the verses bring up some racy subject matter) and some great music overall (and some extremely lush harmonies). Fixing a Hole is more or less a throwaway piece but it has some fun musicianship and some nice vocals from McCartney. She's Leaving Home may be the saddest Beatles song ever written. It's in the same vein as For No One and Eleanor Rigby as a strictly orchestral piece with some McCartney vocal over it. It has a genuinely sad feel and it's the most down track on the album (next to A Day in the Life).

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite is another genuine psychedelic piece, and it may be my favorite song on the album. The use of organs/calliopes and circus sound effects are complimented wonderfully by strong drumming from Ringo and some awesome majestic musical interludes. It's a fantastic piece with John Lennon as his best. Within Without You is George Harrison's sole contribution to the album, and it picks up where Love You To left off. This is another raga influenced indian piece, with some interesting tabla and sitar work from the array of backing musicians. The only problem I have with this piece is that it gets a bit boring, despite it being of a somewhat short length, especially during the interlude sections. When I'm Sixty Four is a fun number with a great reed intro and some fun lyrics and vocals from McCartney. The orchestrations are brilliant as well, with clarinets and other instruments of that sort playing a great main melody. Lovely Rita is another throwaway piece. It isn't bad, but it's unfitting when put into the context of the rest of the album. Good Morning Good Morning has the first example of the Beatles working in odd times (the main rhythm is in 5/4) and it also is one of their more psychedelic pieces on the album, with some fun sound effects and vocals from Lennon, the barn yard animal sounds also come off quite well.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) is a short interlude that acts as an introduction to the finale of the album, it has some nice harmony vocals and some great leads from Harrison. A Day in the Life is one of the greatest pieces the Beatles have ever written. It begins sadly with just piano, acoustic guitar, and a double tracked Lennon vocal. Slowly the rest of the band kicks in (along with the orchestra). Ringo is spectacular on this track, with some precise fills and great rhythmic work. The song has many psychedelic and majestic sections (with soaring violins and Lennon vocals), and it changes in tempo and mood when McCartney takes the lead, but then it reverts to the old theme from the beginning of the song. The ending note (a simple pound of an E chord on the piano and the backing orchestra) lasts around 30 seconds and really ends the song on an epic note (which it is). Finally, if you wait around long enough you'll hear a vocal experiment at the end that has more psychedelic tinges to it, and while it's creative, it's really unsettling after the masterpiece track A Day in the Life.

Overall, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a spectacular album that experiments with the more psychedelic side of music and it really explores the depths of the mind rather than the heart (like the old Beatles album did). While it's not a masterpiece, it comes with an extremely high recommendation from me and I think everyone should at least listen to this album once in their lifetime for an unforgettable experience. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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