After spending the last couple of weeks going through The Beatles studio albums proper here is my take on the albums in order. This reflects not only the quality of the albums but what the albums represented too. It is not definitive and is only my take. Feel free to disagree, this is only a random blog after all.
12. Yellow Submarine should really not be condsidered an album. Easily the worst offering.
11. Beatles For Sale has a fantastic album sleeve but for me going through the albums largely blind felt like the first chink where I considered “maybe they’re not that great after all”. That said, the best new track to me that I discovered was Every Little Thing.
10. Let It Be although a decent sounding record I’m mainly putting at Number 10 due to it not pushing anything forward and slight cynicism of its timing arguably slightly tarnishing an incredible legacy.
9. A Hard Day’s Night no huge step forward but great to see the band write the whole album. Best discovery for me Things We Said Today.
8. Please Please Me for starting it all. A very credible debut album even if it could be seen as the most dated.
7. With The Beatles Quite a step-up from the debut. Best discovery It Won’t Be Long.
6.Help The magic working and hinting at The Beatles about to really expand their sound. Yesterday will stand the test of centuries – perhaps longer.
5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band An incredible record but the first time The Beatles get too showy. I have never got on with this record and to me the whole album is an overblown prelude to what is admittedly their best ever song (A Day In The Life).
4. The Beatles The White Album is a record I enjoyed far more than I expected. This maybe just the record fitting my more left of centre musical appreciation. Helter Skelter is a great alternative song.
3. Abbey Road the sound of a band after the storm and putting everything back in place whilst acknowledging they should always push things forwards.
2. Revolver by a hairs breadth after considering the albums I really can barely split this from Rubber Soul. It really is a photo finish.
1. Rubber Soul I would have before this project casually suggested Revolver as the groups finest album. Rubber Soul sees The Beatles mature deeply from the preceding album (Help). True that Revolver widens everything more but this album sees the group offer vulnerable songs and songs of venom for the first time. I really did not know I’m Looking Through You or Run For Your Life before last week. The albums importance beyond its music became apparent with some minor research too. The LP was a superb format and this was arguably its blueprint.
Also I threw the question of Best Beatles Album? open to Drowned In Sound and one reply really hits the spot better than I could muster.
“Rubber Soul is a perfect album in my opinion. The simplicity of the songs stuns me, their genius intimately and carefully laid out for you. When you put it on it’s like they’re with you, by listening in your’re eavesdropping on history unfolding
‘Michelle’ for example. Beauty from nowhere, a spider-silk of guitars, hushed vocals. And yet such life and grace and emotion. Like a Rodin figure made from a single tool, the stripped down nature only heightens the fizzling creativity and the process. They’re not reaching for greatness like on Sgt Pepper or being willfully diverse as on White Album. Its the sound of the band being enveloped in their newfound genius. Its the very essence of a moment in time that will never be repeated. Its almost too beautiful to bear I sometimes think.” beautiful_baloon.
The acid test could be; ask yourself, if you were granted one Beatles album for free, on vinyl, the original release, – and you can never sell it on. What would it be. It would have to be Revolver or Rubber Soul surely? (and I’d go for Rubber Soul.