Wednesday, November 7, 2012

#109: The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)

It's not even fair that I'm allowed to listen to the Beatles this early in the reviewing process. The Beatles are going to be impossible to beat across a few albums and they're absolutely the most influential musical act I've ever heard. They're one of the first groups to believe that an album can be a complete entity, not just a collection of tracks. The album's cover was the first time in the US that the name of the group was not present.

What's scary about this album is that this is one of the "weakest" tracks on the album. The 'ooh la la' harmonies provide a great counter melody to one of the greatest vocalists and the greatest song writer of all time. Paul lays down this funky, sultry, pinpoint perfect bass to drive the song while the train type harmonies blow through the song. It's such a well crafted song and the recording is top notch. If this were done by any other group this is potentially the best track on the record. That's what makes the Beatles so good - track in and track out it's just incredible and they sound nothing like the others -the level of contrast is ridiculous.

It's one of the most beautiful, well written love songs of all time. The guitar and the chord structure are gorgeous, it's unparalleled to anything else recorded before this year. As for the lyrics, they're incredibly well thought out and while they may not have absolute depth - it's more than made up for musically. Then again it's a love song, let's not over think it. As for the recording technique it uses a very modern style of panning and it's the first time I've heard anything quite like it on the list. Everything is separated very well, it's crystal clear, and you can focus on any instrument.

This album is just so ridiculous. There's a lot of country influence as well as rock and roll. The harmonies are just mind blowing - Ringo sings wonderfully but I can never get over how much I love the harmonies. I also really appreciated the chunky guitar on the verses pushing it along. While the bass was completely out of the way and it wasn't really supposed to be a focus (on the verses) - it remained very interesting. When it shifts into overdrive on the chorus, it really fills the song out nicely. The only part that never got terribly interesting was the drum parts (throughout the album) and that's part of the beauty of Ringo's style. He hid in the back so the others could shine - I don't think it could have worked otherwise.

All in all, it's absolutely incredible. What's ridiculous is the fact that tracks such as, 'Drive My Car', 'Girl', 'In My Life' weren't mentioned above. I've gone through several phases where there were musicians that I just couldn't get enough of. While over time I may have stopped listening to many of them, the Beatles feature a vast collection and because of the quality of their collection I'm still tuned in all these years later.

Tomorrow's album: Sugar & the Hi-Lows' Sugar & the Hi Lows.

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