Monday, September 7, 2009

LP Love: Revolver

As I'm out of the country until September 15, my normal song-a-day listening schedule is being put on hold. Instead, rediscover your love for the LP format by enjoying a complete Beatles album per day. Try to keep your finger away from the "shuffle" or "skip" buttons for the ultimate retro experience! See you in September to wrap up the Beatles' catalog song by song, remastered-style.


Release Date: August 5, 1966

With Revolver, the Beatles essentially solidified their status as the best rock band ever. This is the album that still gets called the #1 album of all time by no small amount of commentators (it seems to have eclipsed Sgt. Pepper in that position), the album that took not just the band but pop music itself to a level no one had ever dreamed of. The Beatles were at this point so popular that EMI let them have virtually unlimited use of the studio at Abbey Road, and the Beatles delighted in hanging out there, learning about new recording techniques and experimenting with all kinds of new timbres for their records. Revolver is thus rife with experimentation, from the string octet on "Eleanor Rigby" to the tape loops on "Tomorrow Never Knows," from the classical Indian instruments on "Love You To" to the hilarious sound effects in "Yellow Submarine."

But the play with sounds is just the beginning. Even when they're playing straight-up rock songs like "She Said She Said" and "Taxman," they're rocking harder and dirtier than ever before. And even when they've written songs that might skirt the edge of conservatism, like "Here, There, and Everywhere" and "Got to Get You into My Life," they're written so smartly and produced so sharply that they end up being genre masterpieces. And let's not forget that all of George's unprecedented three songs ("Taxman," "Love You To," and "I Want to Tell You") are as solid as any Lennon-McCartney song. Revolver isn't just a testament to the Beatles' genius, it's a celebration of their curiosity. Back in Please Please Me, there was a sense of versatility and exuberance about this four-piece combo that made them interesting. By the time they get to Revolver, it's clear that was no fluke-- with unparalleled access to recording technology and the edgiest artistic scenes, and at the heights of their creative powers, they delivered an LP of such depth and breadth that it might very well might be the best album ever.

High Points: So many. "Taxman," "Eleanor Rigby," "Yellow Submarine," "Got to Get You into My Life," "Tomorrow Never Knows"

My Secret Favorite: "She Said She Said"

The Song I'm Not Supposed to Love So Much But I Totally Do Anyway: You're supposed to love all these songs. But I'll go with "And Your Bird Can Sing."

Track listing:

"She Said She Said"

"Doctor Robert"

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