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 08/03/2010 | pmcds
Member since : 07/11/2005
Reviews : 1327
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Whoop! Silver!
Excellent
Pro Brave construction; Harrison; move from folk to electric
Cons A few 'fillers' but they don't detract from the greatness
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Look at all the lonely people"

For me, not having really experienced Beatlemania first hand, I only have the music and the hype to work from. My parents often tell me stories about the band, and I would have loved to have been around at the time all their music came out, the hype and drugs and controversy that surrounded their every act, and the extreme intrusion into their personal lives that they all experienced at one time or another.

Having listened to quite a lot of Beatles music (who can avoid it!), this, their 7th studio album was more of a statement from George Harrison than anything else. He had a large part in the writing of the songs on here, moreso than before this 1966 offering, up until when he had certainly been a cog in the wheel with Ringo Starr as opposed to the celebrated front men that McCartney and Lennon were. Although Lennon and McCartney's names are on 11 of these 14 tracks, Harrison gets the writing credit for three of the more memorable of the tracks on here, for me.

The first of these is 'Taxman', which is often confused as being a kick to the Labour government of Harold Wilson for the people of England. It is more a stab from those rich enough (such as the Beatles) who were forced to pay elevated levels of tax, although they seemed to be happy enough to let the rest of the population take it and run with it as if the Beatles were fighting for the people. Harrison's clever wording throughout this short track is very enjoyable to listen to, and combines well with the classic Beatles' folk rock sound.

From there on in, though, there's a bit of a change in the style, as if the foursome were trying out new things, and I don't just mean drugs. The better known Eleanor Rigby and Yellow Submarine are not necessarily the best tracks on the album, but they are the most recognisable as they were released as singles while the rest were not. They sandwich a trio of interesting variation in I'm Only Sleeping, Love To You and Here, There and Everywhere. The Indian sitar sounds that Harrison's second offering on the album, Love To You, gives us, are very mature and thought-provoking, with the vocals of Lennon and McCartney working very well with it - surprisingly so. However, it's not something I recall them having explored much further in other albums, and they definitely don't for the rest of the album.

Indeed, the exploration here seems to be a sort of transition from their previous folk rock style to a newer and more electric style, the influence for which seems to be more from McCartney than anywhere else. Lennon's vocals, as usual, are dominant on the album, although the harmonies with the other three are well used. There are some very familiar and instantly recognisable upbeat Beatles sounds throughout, influenced by many things, if you believe the various reports floating around, from film to conversation, politics to love and drugs. She Said Sje Said is reported to be as a result of a conversation Lennon had with Peter Fonda with a little LSD thrown in for good measure. I can't see how the drugs affected the writing, unless it provided clarity. You certainly don't really see it in the lyrics, or at least, they're not obvious.

Perhaps the weaker tracks on the album are about two thirds of the way through. And Your Bird Can Sing doesn't have that much oomph, for me, and lacks the punch the other tracks give you, and the electric guitar sounds here seem forced and out of place compared to the other inclusions the album offers. For No One follows quite well, and is a catchy tune indeed, with McCartney's vocals very much the style he took on further with Wings after the Beatles ceased releasing as a group. Even so, there is a bit of a stutter and fall with it, as if it was an unfinished work. Things didn't get better for me with Doctor Robert, which was rather strange albeit one that stuck in my mind for being so different to the other tracks.

However, this is a small negative blotch on an otherwise immensely enjoyable and explorative album, and of a decent length for 1966. The 14 tracks are well combined and there are a few you could imagine being some backing for a 1960s film as the electric sounds started to filter through to the mainstream and become a large part of soundtracks. It's well constructed and appeals to wide audiences with its varied sounds.

By the end of the album, you do feel that you have had a good journey, and the construction of the piece seems to have had quite a lot of thought gone into it. Although Lennon and McCartney do dominate the writing (and this is obvious), Harrison's experimental writing certainly has a place here, and was to become something that they relied on when a bit of a change or something unsuspected was required. The rather explorative feel that runs through the whole album needs no better cap than the juddery sounds of Tomorrow Never Knows, one of Lennon's foray's into a more psychedelic electric sound. It was an early use of reverse sounds used by the band, and certainly makes you sit up and take notice. I feel that, without the constant cymbal sounds the tune encourages, the reverse method would have fallen flat on its face, and the vocals almost disappear against the sounds, which are intriguing to say the least.

Revolver has its firm place as one of the best albums of its era, maybe even of all time, if you are to listen to a lot of compiled lists of what is best. It's not without fault, however, and very much shows a time of exploration and experimentation that the foursome were going through. They had a captivated audience already, and to a certain extent, could have released anything with a certain degree of success, so this brave effort was probably a good balance between the tried and tested sounds of their folk rock style, and the newer, electric sounds they wanted to explore. Thumbs up to Harrison for the incisive thinking with his writing on this one, and also to Lennon and McCartney for their consistency. Starr didn't make a huge impact on me on this occasion, but if he had somehow got involved as much as the others, there could have been a bit of overload on the experimental side of things.

Revolver is widely available, and was remastered only last year. To be honest, I haven't listened to a remastered copy, so I couldn't comment. The cover art for the album is very Monty Python-esque, with photos integrated with drawings, and you get the feeling that if you stare too long, they'll start moving around. Lennon (face on) is giving a sideways glance to McCartney (facing left, off the side of the album) and it gives the impression of a bit of a struggle going on between the two, while Ringo is looking off into space, and Harrison is the only one looking at 'us', perhaps cementing his announcement into the writing limelight for the Beatles. Interesting cover art, although maybe I'm reading a bit too much into it!

I do recommend this album. It is unmistakeable in its sound as being of the Beatles' making, even though only two of the 14 songs were released as singles (a double 'A' side). Well worth having, and listening to over and over again, it provides diversity, familiarity and a cross from folk to electric from start to finish. A very well designed and created album, and one of their better ones, for sure.

Track listing:

1. Taxman
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I'm Only Sleeping
4. Love To You
5. Here, There and Everywhere
6. Yellow Submarine
7. She Said She Said
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. And Your Bird Can Sing
10. For No One
11. Doctor Robert
12. I Want To Tell You
13. Got To Get You Into My Life
14. Tomorrow Never Knows

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Comments on this review

  • ScotShelle published 18/03/2010
    Never heard of this album! Great Review! The Beatles are fab! Must get a copy of this, Shelle xx
  • hillhead published 10/03/2010
    A great album and review of course : )
  • pmcds published 09/03/2010
    Thanks for the insight on Fonda, CelticSoulSister!
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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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