Revolver - Beatles (The)

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Revolver - Beatles (The)

Psychedelic - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Capitol, Apple - Distributor: Discovery; Universal Music; Plastic Head, EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics...

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Review of "Revolver - Beatles (The)"

published 02/05/2008 | MizzMolko
Member since : 01/08/2005
Reviews : 171
Members who trust : 157
About me :
It has been over a year since I posted a review. I can't say I have any new ones in production at the moment either! I will return a rate but please leave a comment so I can see which review you've rated and when. xx
Excellent
Pro Fourteen fantastic, interesting tracks, showing a real evolution in the bands work
Cons Some naff moments to behold
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"To Be Listened To 'Here, There And Everywhere'!"

THE BEATLES: REVOLVER

WHERE THIS FITS INTO MY BEATLEMANIA MONTH OF MAY:

Possibly the Fab Fours greatest album...ever?!

- - - - -

It is often argued by critics and fans alike that the Beatles produced two albums that are so evenly matched in terms of variety, quality and overall evolution of the bands music that it is difficult to tell which one is seen as the best Fab Four album of all time. Those two albums are 'Revolver' and possibly the more widely recognised of the two, 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'.

It is understandable why people feel that way; both albums portray a significant step in the bands song writing abilities, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who had for the most part crafted their songs together, were coming into their own and producing music which would later become trademarks of their solo work.

Then there was George Harrison who perhaps hadn't been given much of an opportunity to display his talents away from playing the sitar on a couple of tracks, most notably on the previous album, 'Rubber Soul's', 'Norwegian Wood'. His earlier efforts of song writing sounded very much like something the duo of Lennon and McCartney would produce, something that is forgivable as up until this 1966 release, I don't think the leaders of the group had really shown their own individual talents.

Of course there was Ringo Starr who was, well, just Ringo really, the drummer that didn't really have much of a recognised written and recorded song until 'The White Album' with 'Don't Pass Me By'.

The first thing that really struck me about 'Revolver' was the sheer amount of originality and diversity on offer here; with the exception of the first five seconds of two tracks, I don't think any of the 14 songs came across as duplicates of each other, all possessing their own sound and atmosphere. Plus, this album to me sounds as contemporary as it did in the 1960's; I strongly believe that if this album was released today, it would do well in the charts as it still maintains a degree of fresh charm by the four Liverpudlians.

TRACKLISTING
For a non-compilation album, 'Revolver' does well length wise; although the Beatles hadn't quite ventured into longer epic classics such as 'A Day In The Life' or 'Hey Jude' just yet, their seventh studio album did include a good proportion of both Lennon, McCartney and Harrison songs to create a good mixed vibe throughout.

1) Taxman (2.39 minutes, Harrison)
2) Eleanor Rigby (2.07 minutes, McCartney)
3) I'm Only Sleeping (3.01 minutes, Lennon)
4) Love You To (3.01, Harrison)
5) Here, There and Everywhere (2.25 minutes, McCartney)
6) Yellow Submarine (2.40 minutes, written by McCartney, sung by Starr)
7) She Said She Said (2.37 minutes, Lennon)
8) Good Day Sunshine (2.09 minutes, McCartney)
9) And Your Bird Can Sing (2.01 minutes, Lennon)
10) For No One (2.01 minutes, McCartney)
11) Doctor Robert (2.15 minutes, Lennon)
12) I Want To Tell You (2.29 minutes, Harrison)
13) Got To Get You Into My Life (2.30 minutes, McCartney)
14) Tomorrow Never Knows (2.57 minutes, Lennon)

Although, even up until the last record the band ever produced the songs were always credited to Lennon/McCartney, 'Revolver' is a fundamental example of the changing life and times of easily Britain's most successful group export; with the exception of one track here, gone were the two minute, basic love songs that had encapsulated what Beatlemania meant to many of the laryngitis suffering teens. Instead, psychedelic rock was beginning to gain real strength with both 1966 and 1967 releases by this band solidifying their strong and bold change in direction.

But would the move be too risky for the Beatles to pull off?

Taxman
The opening track brings the listener into a harsher rockier sound by the band. Before, their heaviest tracks had been seen as 'I Feel Fine' and 'I'm Down'. However, 'Taxman', besides including a very good opening guitar riff, it was arguably one of it's more lyrically dangerous tracks as it was a direct attack against the way in which people have to give the majority of their money earned away in taxes, including addresses to 'Mr Heath' and 'Mr Wilson', the Conservative and Labour party leaders of the time. I think that this is a prime example of a track that can still stand the test of time, even forty years after its original release for the reasons that the guitar is a prolific element in making the track catchy and well produced. Plus, people are always going to hate the taxmen, no matter what decade it is!

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - one of my favourite tracks that Harrison wrote for the Beatles, mainly for it's intriguing hooks and well thought out lyrics.

Eleanor Rigby
Although originally set to be about a character called Daisy Hawkins, 'Eleanor Rigby' was said to be named after the bands actress in their movie 'Help!', Eleanor Bron. Plus, McCartney stated in a later interview that he felt the name flowed better than its predecessor. I think that this is one of the group's most recognisable tracks because, like classic ballad 'Yesterday', it was purely Paul with his guitar and in the background a beautifully tragic sounding set of violins and other string instruments. Whilst this song was apparently primarily written about those who had unfortunately lost loved ones during the two world wars, I think it can apply to almost anyway or at least about anyone who live a lonely life.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - although depressing, its quality can be measured by the fact that by the time the group disbanded by the 1970's and onwards, Lennon didn't slag it off! There is, however, a lot of debate as to how much he did contribute to the track and if you take McCartney's stance on it, his efforts were very limited here.

I'm Only Sleeping
When I first heard John Lennon's first lead vocal performance on this album, my mind instantly fast forwarded to the summer of 1967 with the 'Sgt. Pepper's' third track, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. Both tracks, primarily written by the supposedly edgiest Beatle, included dream like ambiences and peculiar tunes to help give both songs a very psychedelic type feel. 'I'm Only Sleeping' was an ode to Lennon's love for his bed which was, up until he met Yoko Ono, the love of his life; away from the studio, he apparently spend his time in bed either writing songs, watching TV and indeed sleeping. I really like the backwards sounding guitar part of the tracks and Lennon's effortlessly eerie vocals make this an essential addition to 'Revolver'.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - could be seen as the fore plan for 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' but is very enjoyable without even looking at it in that way. The B-Side to 'Paperback Writer', 'Rain' was undeniably a big influence for this track as it made another large use of back masking in some of the first ever tracks in pop music to do so.

Love You To
Without either the manipulation of Lennon or McCartney or even their backing vocals for company, 'Love You To' was recoded using just traditional Indian instruments, including the tabla and the sitar. Ringo was the only Beatle involved in the recording of this track, making this an almost risky song for the album; the ring leaders of the group were undeniably John and Paul so this record shows a hidden strength and faith that the band must have had in one another. The instruments in themselves bring out a very fast paced feel to the song, combined with the lyrics of the haste of everyday life, to create a thoughtful number that again could be seen as an earlier version of a later Beatles song, 'Within You Without You'.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - the lyrics and tune compliment each other really well in my view to create a song that can easily be seen as one of Harrison's most self accomplished pieces ever.

Here, There and Everywhere
Whilst many could argue that the Abbey Road track 'Something' by George is the greatest love song ever written, many may be inclined to feel that 'Revolver's' fifth track is the rightful owner of that prestigious title. 'Here, There and Everywhere' is extremely delicate and simple in its presentation but because of the gentle nature of the lyrics, it works exceptionally well because of the contrast of hopeful, promising words against the bittersweet harmonies of the backing vocals and tune. A testament to the song is that many people who were involved with the group have credited its brilliantness, including Lennon who may have easily turned round and panned it for its borderline dreary backing and overly affectionate, optimistic lyrics.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - another classic ballad written and well delivered by McCartney! 'Here, There and Everywhere' includes some of his highest pitched vocal performances by him and finger clicking as a tribute to the Beach Boys and their song 'God Only Knows'.

Yellow Submarine
Although many drug related interpretations have been made with reference to this song, McCartney still maintains to this day that 'Yellow Submarine' was written as a children's nursery rhyme. I would have to say that he is right; I remember being much fonder of this one when I was a youngster than I am now. I don't think that any of the other band members vocals would have made the listener believe it was a child's song either but because of Ringo's good ol'English accent, I would have to say that it suits his movie like persona as the comical one very well. However, in spite of its very required taste like formula, it did manage to maintain its position at the top of the British singles chart for four weeks which is a demonstration to the bands creativity and enduring powers.

Marks out of 10: 7.5 - still very naff but a good one at parties! Definitely the weakest track on this album by far because on one hand it doesn't truly reflect the bands more serious song writing abilities that were beginning to emerge at the time but does still prove that they do have a sense of humour!

She Said She Said
Written after one of the most bizarre sounding LSD drugs trips in history, 'She Said She Said' was the result of a near fatal accident by one of the bands friends, who nearly shot himself. The lyrics, although not making sense by themselves, are purely poetic; there's something about Lennon's mind that when he's under the influence of drugs that just makes his songs come to life in an unexpected, twisted way. 'I Am The Walrus' I think, like this one, creates a very vivid yet non logical series of events but in the case of this song, it doesn't matter; the music holds it all together and makes it sound complete.

Marks out of 10: 9 - I really enjoy listening to this one because of the fact that the guitar is a big vehicle here in directing the rest of the song. The supernatural intensity of John's vocal ability is brought out in full force because of the double tracking.

Good Day Sunshine
Moving onto a more upbeat and bright track, 'Good Day Sunshine' is unsurprisingly a McCartney number; he is known out of the partnership he had with Lennon to always be the optimistic one, most reflected in the song 'Getting Better' the following year. This one I do feel is perhaps the most misplayed on the album - although none of the tracks, beside 'Eleanor Rigby', have been overtly sad, this one I think might seem more mature melody wise but I just wasn't too big a fan of it in general. Whilst it certainly wasn't intended to be, it comes across to me as a bit naff in the same respect as 'Yellow Submarine'.

Marks out of 10: 7.5 - it is one of those tracks which might have been intended to lift people up if they are in a bad mood but to me, you do have to be in a good mood before you listen to 'Good Day Sunshine' or it comes across as a bit repetitive and forced. I do respect the song because of its originality; however, it's just not for me.

And Your Bird Can Sing
With the first five seconds of the track sounding a bit similar to 'She Said She Said' because of the harder guitar sound, 'And Your Bird Can Sing' was later to be dubbed as little more than a careless album filler by sole writer Lennon, who often took that stance against his work and particularly against McCartney in some of his more bitter moments. Although he may not have been overly fond of it, I think it's a very good track; subconsciously, judging by the lyrics, it was in many ways an extension of the bands massive hit and second movie title, 'Help!'. With the solid drums and guitar sounds over shadowing many of the lyrics, it's hard to ignore John's screams of 'You can hear me!' as being a way to express his feeling of being trapped, whether it be actually in the band or for his most part unhappy marriage to Cynthia Powell.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - No matter what John might have said, I did think it was a good song and went back to many of the bands older roots in terms of the vocal harmonising and guitar/bass/drums mechanism.

For No One
After such a seemingly blissful love song earlier on in the album, 'For No One' is a stark contrast to 'Here, There and Everywhere'. Both written about his reportedly on/off love between himself and actress Jane Asher, the song was entirely his composition, with Lennon and Harrison not contributing to the actual recording of the track at all. The lyrics are very maturely written and not in the slightest bit sour; it is very much a humble recognition of a failing relationship that should have been the greatest of a person's life. Alan Civil, a French Horn player from London, contributed the instruments sound to this track which would progress into a tune more commonly recognised as being a part of the 'Sgt. Pepper's' album.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - another stunning McCartney love song. Even in such an acidic tone it still manages to sound completely open and honest and is a credit to the album.

Doctor Robert
The bass line and guitar take a trip down the memory lane of the Beatles, sounding very much like their earlier tracks such as 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and 'I Feel Fine'. It's very simple lyrically with numerous drug based references to a Doctor who works for the National Health Service; at some points, the song drifts into a more dream like state, particularly when the lyrics divert to the idea of feeling fine. I like the track because whilst musically it may sound similar to some of the group's earlier stuff, the lyrics are different because it's a digression away from love! Plus, it's quite a quirky, up beat number which is needed after the seemingly down hearted 'For No One'.

Marks out of 10: 9 - addictive but not the most ground breaking of the songs on this album. However, it does show the bands changing attitudes and broadens their poetic licence away from just ballads or songs about broken love and promises.

I Want To Tell You
Being the third and final offering written by Harrison on 'Revolver', I was hoping for something that was to be fiercely different from anything that the combination of Lennon and McCartney would master. However, 'I Want To Tell You' does revert very much to the bands older days, particularly with the strong use of backing vocals from John and Paul. It - like 'Doctor Robert' and 'She Said She Said' - sounds to be a song with very strong links back to the group's earlier bouts of drug taking. It does talk about the mind's uneasy confused state which is reinforced by the overpowering nature of the vocal performances. Its simple nature was effective although I was half expecting more of an Indian air to the production but I don't think it would have been a good opponent to the lyrics.

Marks out of 10: 9 - the weakest of the three songs on offer here by George but certainly not a bad piece as it was confident and sound in it's delivery, perhaps even as a way to reassure fans that their changing identity as a group is not completely about the more psychedelic sounds.

Got To Get You Into My Life
With a brass band blaring in the background against some of McCartney's more forceful vocals, 'Got To Get You Into My Life' does sound like a song based about the necessity of him getting a certain girl to be his. Yet, others have said that the song was not only inspired by American Soul music but also by marijuana. Whilst it is a very broad and creative track by the group, I do think in many ways it is a bit pretentious; it's all a bit too over the top with the horns to make it one of the albums best numbers. Having said that, it did open the door for many more tracks inspired by such instruments on the next album by the Beatles. In many ways, it could be classed as an early demo for much of the 'Sgt. Pepper's' collection.

Marks out of 10: 8 - very bold and well recorded but I don't think either lyrically or musically it was the bands best effort on this album. It all came together in a bit of a clichéd way.

Tomorrow Never Knows
In spite of the fact it was the first track to be written for 'Revolver', 'Tomorrow Never Knows' ends the album in a confident and secure way for it's experimental use of loops and voice changing equipment. I really do think that combined with the sitar and various sound effects that this track should not be discredited as just the albums final track but as a significant step forward into one of the most - if not the most - creative periods of the groups time together. Although the lyrics could be seen as very repetitive, they work extremely well with the unique and intriguing over dubbing sounds that make the final track a vital addition to one of the bands greatest ever works.

Marks out of 10: 9.5 - I swear that every time you listen to this song you can find a different sound or new meaning every time you listen to it! A fantastic way to complete the album for it's innovation as a single alone.

ARTWORK AND PRESENTATION
As well as the album in itself being very much innovative and an evolutionary process for the band, the front cover of the album was very much diverted away from their previous shots of the four of them facing either towards or away from the camera.

I like the fact that the picture is partly a drawing and partly a collection of images, compiled from the years of 1964 - 1966. Klaus Voormann, a long time friend of the group, created the cover which I do think is one of the most special out of all of the Beatles album covers. Despite the fact that it is only in black and white, I personally like that as the album in itself is very colourful.

However, on the inside sleeve, there are some of the worst pictures of the four band members that I've ever seen. I'm still trying to also figure out why they are all wearing sunglasses whilst seemingly inside but I guess that will remain as one of life's many mysteries! What the sleeve does lack however is song lyrics and with tracks such as 'And Your Bird Can Sing', I think they are necessary in a way for first or second time listeners of 'Revolver'.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
As it is one of the most famous and well loved of the Beatles albums, it is fairly easy to obtain 'Revolver' at a reasonable price from a variety of online stores:

Amazon.co.uk - £8.98 (eligible for super saver delivery)
Play.com - £11.98 (free delivery)
HMV.co.uk - £8.99 (free delivery)
DVD.co.uk - £7.95 (free delivery)

OVERALL - IS IT THE GREATEST BEATLES ALBUM EVER?!
I can't honestly make that judgement yet as I do not own all of the groups records. Having said that - from the many that I do own - this is definitely my favourite. With the exception of a couple of tracks, this album is confidently flawless with the tracks that are very good being excellent and unforgettable pieces of music that should be treasured for generations to come.

Tracks like 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Good Day Sunshine', although not being my favourites on offer here, should certainly be respected as a big part of the bands growth. Like the rest of 'Revolver', these two tracks alone show just how versatile the group were and how they could expand on their talents with every track on each of their albums.

When you compare this offering to albums such as 'The White Album', you really appreciate how thorough and invigorating the music was becoming; although 'Sgt. Pepper' is commercially the bands biggest album ever, 'Revolver' to me should hold much more of a valuable place on a Beatles fans CD rack; it ranges from dynamic, up beat rock tunes to beautiful, if not heart breaking ballads, providing everything you could possibly want in an album and more.

And it should never, ever be viewed as just the demo for 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'; it's a fantastic and spectacularly crafted listen in itself and one that could be enjoyed by everyone, even if they didn't think they were Beatles fans!

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Comments on this review

  • brokenangelkisses published 12/09/2012
    Thoroughly reviewed.
  • arnoldhenryrufus published 31/07/2010
    Another brill review - lyn x
  • RippedoffPete published 07/09/2008
    Can't agree with your opinion of Got To Get You Into My Life. It was the first and only time the Beatles attempted to write a Soul number, and IMO it came off very well. Earth Wind And Fire, the R&B '70s band also thought highly of it and covered it successfully as well as many jazz groups.
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Product Information : Revolver - Beatles (The)

Manufacturer's product description

Psychedelic - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Capitol, Apple - Distributor: Discovery; Universal Music; Plastic Head, EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 01/11/1988, 11/1988 - 77774644129

Product Details

EAN: 77774644129

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