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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

4.34 | 1038 ratings

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R-A-N-M-A
2 stars I am always suspect of the musical opinions of Rolling Stone magazine. So when I heard that they had compiled a list of the so called "500 Greatest Albums" of all time I was cringing for the worst. All I can say is that they never fail to disappoint. I was mortified to see Sergeant Pepper's sitting in a number one. I think this is the most overrated album by the most overrated band in history. I am not saying the Beatles are a bad band or even that I dislike them. What I am saying is that the praise heaped on them is too much for any band. Hell, they even manage to get out Beatles'd (See: Oasis and Sloan).

One thing I am saying for certain though is that I dislike this album. Not all of it, but the majority of it. Maybe if I was hearing it back in 1966 I wouldn't be saying this, but what we mustn't forget is that it isn't 1966. Maybe it is an important album for the influence it had, but bigger and brighter things have since come along. Many of those things I am sure owe a debt to this album. However they improved on what they saw in this album in ways the creators never could.

To torture an analogy for you: imagine Sgt. Pepper's as a building, a special building, somewhere in Italy. This building is the first structure ever to use an arch. Amazing, what a startling mental leap right? Couldn't agree more. The only issue is that the cat is out of the bag and it's now anyone's game. After this ground breaking achievement gets shown to the people, they make their own arches. They make aqueducts and bridges; which are unable to best original it its... originality (Haha), but they carry the concept to new heights. And that's just aqueducts and bridges let's not forget those Roman Coliseums and Pantheons out there.

So that's the way I feel about Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but why do I feel that way? For starter's Sgt. Pepper's suffers from the greatest case of opener closer syndrome in history. It's built right into the album! Both the Introductory and closing versions of the title track are great. You can't argue with the hip-hop drum beat on the closer. I also really love Had a Little Help from My Friends. It is an honest contender for my favourite Beatles tune. It isn't the strongest track musically though. The fact is Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, sang a better version than the on the album. Ouch. (If you haven't seen it you really should.) Getting Better is another enjoyable fairly straightforward piece of work you can do worse (and you will).

A Day in the Life is a hard one for me. When people talk about what an influential album this is I think they are actually referring to this piece. It's challenging musically really goes out on a limb, I'm afraid I just don't like the way it sounds. Who am I to tell the GREAT BEATLES their gold isn't shiny enough? Call it personal taste. I don't care if I could write a better song than they could or not. I'm not a musician. I would be pretty pissed off if they could do corporate valuation better than I could though. That five simultaneous piano chord finale though? Priceless! The piano in general actually is superb along with some of the more esoteric lyrics too. How many holes does it take to fill the Royal Albert Hall?

So that leaves? everything else. I find the rest of the album incomparably bland.

Fixing a hole, When I'm 64, Good Morning, Lovely Rita? Are you fisting me? That's what you chose to sing about? Good Morning has this horribly grating brass and backing vocals what just kill an otherwise pretty hip tune. I'm being a bit hard on Rita, it's actually much better than any of the other tracks. It's lively, it's whimsical and a little bit psychedelic. I'm a McCartney man, not a Lennon man thank you very much.

She's leaving home? Thank God!

Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, are among the most pretentious pieces of garbage ever. EVER! And that's coming from a progressive rock fan, a breed of music fan with possibly super-naturally enhanced pretention blinders. Just totally unlistenable.

I am a fan of the sitar drone on within you without you. What I'm not a fan of is what John Lennon is doing in front of it. John McLaughlin thank you for your later work!

I'm sorry I'm unable to provide more constructive criticisms. These songs are largely uninteresting. There you have it, my mostly contrarian view of the album which allegedly redrew the lines on the musical map. The Beatles were better before (See: Rubber Soul) and were much much better later (See: Abbey Road). It isn't a total write off though, so two stars out of five rather than one.

R-A-N-M-A | 2/5 |

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