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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour (US Version) CD (album) cover

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (US VERSION)

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.13 | 490 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the wake of their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles decided to make another film and album is support of it. The film was a 60 minute made for TV movie that was a blunder more than anything else. It wasn't awful in my opinion, but it lacked the magic of the first two films they made. The music side of the film, though, was out of this world with quirky experimental pieces that really showed the fun side of the Beatles. The film songs make up the first side, and the second side is made up of their single that included Hello Goodbye, Baby You're a Rich Man and All You Need Is Love. Overall, I'd rank it at the same level as Sgt. Pepper and I really think, like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper, it deserves at least one listen in your lifetime.

The album opens with Magical Mystery Tour, a fun song with some great call and respond vocals between John and George (who provide the backing vocal) and Paul who provides the lead. Ringo's drumming is also great on this track (he really seemed to improve vastly over the past few albums). The Fool On the Hill is another McCartney piano led piece that has some nice flute interludes as well as some inventive chord progressions from McCartney, it's a playful piece that has a lot of merit to it. Flying is the first song on record from the Beatles that credits all the members as writers. What it is is a segment of a very long jam that they had and put on record. It's the only thing keeping this album from being a masterpiece, in my opinion, because it lasts too short and it would have been awesome to hear more of it played out. Blue Jay Way is George Harrison's piece of the album and it treads on near ambient territories. It also has this terrifying, forbidding feel complimented with a nice section that tilts the atmosphere a bit. It also utilizes some odd times as well (5/4 and 7/4 are both used, as well as 6/4) and the vocals are just spectacular.

Your Mother Should Know is a waltzy throwback to 50s pieces, and it has some nice harmony vocals and lead vocals from McCartney as well as some truly majestic sections that really make it a danceable and fun song. I Am the Walrus ends the film songs with an introspective and off the wall Lennon lyrics and vocals augmented by some stellar rhythmic work from Paul and Ringo as well as some awesome orchestrations and sound effects (the end of which is from a BBC broadcast of King Leer). Hello Goodbye is a fun track with some nice backing vocals from John and George and nice leading vocals from Paul. The guitar work on this track is also really good as well. Strawberry Fields Forever has the Beatles dabbling with the mellotron and the acid washed piece has some great lyrics from Lennon (about his childhood) and some fun vocals as well as a nice overall melody. Penny Lane is another Paul led piece with some nice piano work and some cool horn arrangements as well. Baby You're a Rich Man has some cool falsettos from the group (the song is supposed to be a tribute to the late Brian Epstein) and a nice underlying bass beat from McCartney during the pre-verses and the choruses. The album ends with the eponymous All You Need is Love, the heavily orchestrated introduction and the searing George Harrison lead. The song also has some great sections of 7/4 and the outro chorus is brillinat (with Paul McCartney going on a tangent and even reprising the She Loves You chorus).

In the end, Magical Mystery Tour is a magical album that really captivates me. It has some many great songs and so few faults, but I just can't bring myself to rate this a masterpiece, as it's so close from being one. This is easily my second favorite Beatles album behind the masterpiece of Abbey Road. If you're a fan of psychedelic rock and the roots of early progressive rock, then this is your album (still, though, not really 100% progressive). 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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