In August 1966 The Beatles released their seventh studio album Revolver. Often cited as the bands best LP and also widely considered as the best album of all time.
Before this project of going through all The Beatles studio albums, if asked, I would suggest Revolver is the groups best album also. That may change as I had not heard a lot of the earlier albums and indeed the later albums too. Maybe I’ll try to order the albums when I’ve finished.
Anyway. Revolver moves on the rich sound of Rubber Soul and is a deeper all-round experience. Still sticking to 7 songs a side, the format may be the same but the material is continually progressing.
Incredibly all the songs are around or under the 3 minute mark. They pack so much into them that I did think quite a few of the songs were actually longer.
Taxman (Harrison) will probably make listeners of my age think instantly of The Jam. Quirky, sharp and very catchy. Lyrically it attacks taxes without being in any way sneering. It is spot on observation. When Wilson and Heath are name checked the strength of the song makes the references timeless. Can you imagine Oasis circa 1997 refernceing Tony Blair and it working like this? Thought not.
Eleanor Rigby (Lennon / McCartney) and we are back to a song so rich that it transcends pop. I can remember studying the song in a double music lessson at school with Streets Of London by Ralph McTell. The song (Eleanor Rigby) is so familiar that this could actually be its only real flaw. A song that reads like a classic book.
I’m Only Sleeping (Lennon / McCartney) is not a favourite of mine largely due to it first being brought to my attention in the late 90’s by a poor Suggs cover version. That said, it has great looping backtracks that Husker Du would use to very similar, yet widely unacknowledged effect on the latter part of their Flip Your Wig album (do check that album out).
Love You To (Harrison) really pushes Revolver forward. George Harrison shows what a superb songwriter he is. The Indian instrumentation sung over by Harrison in an almost removed vocal work in an ethereal way that again pushes Revolver away from mere pop.
Here, There And Everywhere (Lennon / McCartney) is gentle and charmingly soft. Not a favourite of mine but little to actually fault.
Yellow Submarine (Lennon / McCartney) is the first Beatles song I can ever recall probably due to it being played by my Mother when I was very, very young and its clear nursery rhyme appeal sing-a-long. It was a nursery rhyme, right?
She Said She Said (Lennon / McCartney) moves back to that maturer sounding Beatles. Hazy lyrics burn over the instruments to create a removed / experimental overall sound yet stay in the confines of pop.
Good Day Sunshine (Lennon / McCartney) is a pop song that just states the obvious. That’s all it needs to do. Simplicity and simply – a charming happy song.
And Your Bird Can Sing (Lennon / McCartney) is rockier yet still within the refrains of pop. It fits the album well but is not particularly a stand-out track.
For No One (Lennon / McCartney) and The Beatles again show their skill at pinning down tales about failing relationships. It is quite beautifully done.
Doctor Robert (Lennon / McCartney) maybe edgy for the day in its near clear tales of illicit substances.
I Want To Tell You (Harrison) and again George Harrison shows that there is a lot more to The Beatles than just Lennon / McCartney.
Got To Get You Into My Life (Lennon / McCartney) is a song I like a lot yet cannot really say why (because I don’t know). Triumphant sounds that fill you with gusto and confidence. The harmony in the vocals builds to a near rasp which would if the song had been written post 1982 surely have broken out into a rap at the very end. It’s a great song.
Tomorrow Never Knows (Lennon / McCartney) is very hard to write-up. It just encapsulates Revolver with real, total brilliance. Loops and deep layered effects that sound fresh in 2012, in 1966 it must have sounded out-of-this-world…
Tomorrow Never Knows (Lennon / McCartney)