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The Beatles - Rubber Soul CD (album) cover

RUBBER SOUL

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.94 | 724 ratings

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jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Rubber Soul" is a great album, certainly the best of the Beatles until 1965. It represents a great leap forward in the evolution of the music of the Fab4, because the pop of the Beatles here finds various arrangement solutions and it is expressed with great variety of styles . The Beatles with "Rubber Soul" invent a refined art-pop, allowing you to touch many musical styles and to start experimenting with refined sounds in the studio.

The first side in my rating has an exceptional average quality (7.86), making it one of the best in the Beatles discography. In this side, both McCartney and Lennon write 3 songs, plus a Harrison song. Start Macca with a great track rock (Drive My Car, vote 8), nice guitar riff and in the background piano chorus; "Drive my Car" goes alongside the single of Lennon "Day Tripper", just released: they are both songs based on a similar guitar riff. In Drive My Car there is also a very good ironic text, with a chorus "Beep beep yeh". Lennon responds with the dylanian "Norwegian Wood" (vote 8), excellent acoustic melancholy ballad embellished with an ironic text full of double meanings and Harrison's sitar, which for the first time appears on a Beatles album; follows a song of Beatlesian pop of McCartney, "You Wont See Me" (vote 7,5), with time to dance, accompanied by piano, good the melody of the bride: nice song, although it does not constitute anything new, it is comparable to "The Night Before" of the previous album (Help). He resumes Lennon with another folk acoustic ballad, "Nowhere Man" (vote 7,5/8), with many vocal harmonies and an excellent electric interlude. So far there are 3 Beatles classics on 4 songs. In the album the vocal harmonies touch apices never touched so far (which will be almost absent in "Revolver"), which will culminate in the single "Paperback Writer", anticipator of "Revolver".

"Think for Yourself" (vote 7,5) is a lively Harrison song characterized by the distorted bass of McCartney that gives a threatening sense to the whole piece, well structured, with interesting melodic turns, gritty, and again full of vocal harmonies - Macca could have written it. "The Word" (vote 8) is a soulful and choral soul song, a hymn to universal love, which is difficult to consider a minor piece for the energy and the charge it instills. In fact it would have been considered a pearl, as it actually is, if it had not appeared on an album full of classics. It's a contagious song, arrembante, cured a lot in the arrangement, with an excellent organ interlude played by George Martin, who from this album will be more and more present as the fifth musician. The first side closes with the fourth classic, the melodic masterpiece "Michelle" (vote 8+), with text in part French, song of love that has made epoch, bass in evidence and George's guitar solo. It's a song that cites the lenses of the vocal groups of the '50s but that does so with great inspiration and arrangement. Macca had already touched a French atmosphere with the accordion of the single "We Can Work It Out", side A along with "Day Tripper", released simultaneously with "Rubber Soul" and he will return to writing romantic songs with a French atmosphere in "Revolver" and "Magical Mystery Tour".

The second side opens with a country song sung by Ringo (What Goes On, vote 6,5), written by the new trio Lennon-McCartney- Starkey; Harrison, excluded, compensates with an excellent work on the rhythm guitar. The song is carefree, nice, Ringo style, and follows "Act Naturally" of "Help": in both discs the second side opens with a country sung by Ringo, but here are the Beatles to write it, in this case. It is one of the lightest songs on the album, in fact the least significant. Follows "Girl" (vote 8,5), the masterpiece of the album. Lennon writes a melancholy folk song with an acoustic solo of oriental guitar, which resembles the sound of the sitar; the melody, the singing and the guitar solo are beautiful.

Another acoustic folk ballad follows, "I'm Lookin Through You" (vote 6,5), which appears to be as simple as an arrangement, as happened with some of Help's songs, giving the impression of not having completed the instrumental accompaniment. The song is resumed with the insertion of the electric guitar at the end of the verses, which tries to bring it on rock themes. Follows the sixth Beatles classic, "In My Life" (vote 7,5/8), another Lennon ballad, this time with a more structured rhythm, which leaves less space for the expressiveness of the voice, also because it almost always doubled with the choirs. The song is an almost masterpiece, which reaches the climax in George Martin's baroque piano solo. We return to choral acoustics with "Wait, a song sung by both John (who prevails in the verses) and Paul (who sings alone in the bridge), with a synchronous singing in the refrain. The song brings the mood back to enthusiasm, and returns to propose vocal harmonies: the voices compensate for the poor instrumental arrangement. Probably it was written by both, with prevalence of Paul.

Harrison returns with "If I Needed Someone" (vote 7,5), which begins with Byrds-style electric guitars, an explicit country-rock quote; the song is a fine electric ballad, with choirs in the verses and a more beautiful melancholic bridge. Lennon closes the second side (where he writes 3 songs, against Paul's two songs) with another song with acoustic base (Run for Your Life, vote 7,5) but at a good pace, which shows off a rock guitar solo. Also this song gives the impression that it could have been more accurate in the arrangement. Overall the second side is more qualitatively alternate than the first, and it does not close in crescendo, however it holds very well, the whole album is marked by songs that, despite being mostly mid-tempo ballads, are very flowing, and alternate exuberance and extroversion to melancholy.

Rubber Soul is the album of the Beatles masterpiece ballads, all signed Lennon (four by Lennon plus "The Word" by both John and Paul), while McCartney contributes with a rock masterpiece ("Drive My Car") and a romantic melodic masterpiece in French style ("Michelle"). Harrison writes two very respectable songs, much better than those of "Help", which keep the average quality of the album high. It is a great album, with only two weak songs, both on the second side (What Goes On, I'm Looking Through You), which manages to revive the enthusiastic pop of the Beatles embellishing it with rock, folk, country, soul arrangement (often melancholy and acoustic) and introspective lyrics.

Medium Quality of the Songs: 7,625. Vote: 8,5. Rating: Four Stars.

jamesbaldwin | 4/5 |

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