Monday, February 24, 2014

Music Review - The Beatles - Revolver

And now it's time for Revolver, the 1966 album that critics site at the start of The Beatles' "middle" period. An amazing about of growth had occurred in the three years since the band recorded their first album so to arbitratily pick an album, or even to come up with a term such as "middle period" is, well, very much something only a music critic would do. I plead guilty.

I remember also having Revolver at my disposal growing up and being intrigued by it's weird psychedelic cover. I think it warped me but in a good way. The album is also much more electric and rock than Rubber Soul as well as being much more experimental, both in terms of studio use and songwriting. What continues is the mix of world-weary songs, both musically and lyrically, with upbeat peppy numbers.

Having grown up with the U.S. version of the record I missed out on hearing three songs until I purchased the CD in 1987. And no, I wasn't one of those people waiting outside music stores until midnight... never much seen the point in that. Of these missing songs is "Doctor Robert," a song I don't care much for even today, and "I'm Only Sleeping," a solid Lennon song with typical ear candy vocal harmonies. And then there's "And Your Bird Can Sing," one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs. Whoever made the decision to leave this off the album proper should have, er, something horrible done to them.

What else is on this platter? Only the ultimate, iconic Ringo song, "Yellow Submarine," every child's gateway drug into The Beatles. "Got To Get You Into My Life" is one step away from Motown and the round, goosy bass line of "Taxman" should win some kind of award. Or at least qualify for a tax credit. "Good Day Sunshine" is pure optimism, making me feel like I was walking around jauntily on a sunny summer day with every listen. There's lots of piano on this album, adding tone colors and making it seem much bigger than four guys with guitars. "For No One" is just such an example, a seemingly simple song of love lost. Add in the yearning do-wop of "Here, There, and Everywhere" and you've got the perfect album for a love-starved twelve year old kid who is just learning phrases like "unrequited love."

No, I haven't forgotten "Eleanor Rigby", another classic Beatles song. It's a sore spot with me because I was the caller on a radio station with the right answer (it's the only Beatles song where none of the four actually played on it, those duties being carried out by a double string quartet) but the guy answering the phone dropped my call after confirming my answer and I never got my prize. Oh well. This lovely and lonely song is absolutely haunting, but you already know that. Growing up I liked the choppy stereo with the verse vocals panned hard right, only later learning that stereo was new at the time so these mixes were given throw-away priority and this hard panning was experimental. So what. I still like it. Sue me, taxman.

No comments: