Revolver

Both the first overtly psychedelic album and the first perfect album The Beatles made. You can poke a finger at the sleeve and pick a winner every time. The genius is everywhere now, from George’s fine and influential ( The Jam anyone? ) ‘Taxman’ right through to ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, which sounds like a future dawn of tomorrow even today! We have ‘Eleanor Rigby’ with its appropriate and dramatic string section which works to enhance the beauty of Paul’s original composition. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ follows on from the likes of ‘Girl’ and ‘The Word’ on ‘Rubber Soul’ but the production touches are a leap forwards. Misty is the word – the music really matches the feel of the lyrics. Following the Sitar moments in ‘Norwegian Wood’ George builds an entire song around the instrument with ‘Love You To’. Now this. This! One of George’s finest moments for me. The sound of the drums with the sitar combined and the way the vocals are stretched at the end of each section – just wonderful! The whole thing is daring, brave, experimental yet comes across as perfectly natural and grin inducing. The move into the next song ‘Here There And Everywhere’ is a great transition and this is such a lovely song. The cooing of the harmonies, the beauty of the melodies and vocals, the way the bass gently beats – rising and rising ‘Pet Sounds’ style, a wonderful song. ‘Yellow Submarine’ is a children’s song but with more production tricks and effects than almost any other song here and weirdly perhaps pointing the way forwards to ‘Sgt Peppers’. Well, we get a big fat joyously happy bass line, voices and actual samples, etc and so forth.

Two excellent guitar songs appear in the middle of ‘Revolver’ both written quickly by John. They sit either side of ‘Good Day Sunshine’ which is another song arguably pointing the way towards ‘Sgt Pepper’. Back to John’s guitar tunes, ‘She Said She Said’ features the line ‘I know what its like to be dead’. The lyrics are great then but the best thing apart from that and Ringo’s great drumming is the guitars. The interweaving dueling guitar effect here is just such a great sound. Its an effect repeated on ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ which someday is my favorite Beatles tune of them all. How does it sound so damn great? Its the guitars! Those guitars! That happy happy guitar sound! Have I made my point? Lets just say I love ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ and leave it at that. The final third section of the album really just continues the genius of everything that’s gone before. We have the beautifully sad ‘For No One’, another quality George song with the wonderful sounding ‘I Want To Tell You’. We’ve got variety with the brass of ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ and the title shouted out in the chorus always raises a smile in our house. ‘Dr Robert’ is probably the nearest ‘Revolver’ comes to a weak track but its saved by the ‘well well well, you’re feeling fine’ vocal section which is psychedelic, and pretty damn great, actually.

Ringo gets a chance to sing on “Yellow Submarine.” He didn’t write it, but it’s one of his trademark songs, and that’s for good reason! However, it’s easily the least impressive composition of the bunch. The melody and chord progressions resemble a British drinking song. But of course that isn’t a British drinking song at all… it’s a kid’s song with all sorts of goofy sound effects inserted throughout. So, it ended up working brilliantly, anyway. It’s an entertaining mix!

Many groups even today try to repeat the sound and feel of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and they can’t do it. Even with computers and samplers they can’t do it. How the hell The Beatles did it is a thing we’ll never quite know, it seems almost superhuman that such a thing could exist in 1966. It closes the album in fine style, whatever the methods behind it turn out to have been. ‘Revolver’ overall then is hailed by many as The Beatles masterwork album and is likely as close to perfection as music gets. Well it does it for me and perhaps it will for you, too.

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