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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Beatles -- Rubber Soul


Rubber Soul is the sound of a band creating songs they enjoy, and using their instruments to realize the sounds in their head. On the first two Beatles' albums, and large sections of the third, fourth, and fifth, it's easy to see a music executive barking orders at the band. I can't see anyone telling them what to do when I listen to this. I don't say this because I read it in a Rolling Stone article or something--for all I know, The Beatles could have been ordered around just as much during the Rubber Soul Sessions as on any before them. I say this because I've been listening to the previous five albums non-stop for the last week, and this one is so much better than those, it's almost unbelievable that this came only two and a half years after the first one.
For me, the biggest difference is the timeless nature of the music. Sure, some of the tracks on the first couple of albums, and a decent amount of tracks on the others before this are timeless, but this whole record exists in some special place where nothing sounds dated, and every note sounds original.
Maybe this is because the lyrics finally start stretching their legs--I don't think "girl" gets rhymed with "world" one time on the whole thing. Maybe it's that George Harrison sounds like he is having all the fun in the world expressing himself musically (this is the one where he starts playing the sitar!). Maybe it's that Paul and John sound like two artists writing songs together, and not two businessmen (Old Ringo sounds better than ever on the drums, as well). Whatever the reason, this is the first Beatles album I can listen to willingly (and not just because I am reviewing it) from front to back without skipping a track.
I mean, this guitar riff and these harmonies and that crazy keyboard bridge:

Listen to The Beatles "In My Life"

It would be one thing to have just a couple of songs like this surrounded by filler, but this whole album is just as fun, witty, and inventive.
I just listened to Rubber Soul five times straight. That definitely says something...I might like The Beatles now...I guess we'll see...time for Revolver.

1965 Apple Corps
1. Drive My Car 2:28
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 2:04
3. You Won't See Me 3:19
4. Nowhere Man 2:43
5. Think for Yourself 2:18
6. The Word 2:43
7. Michelle 2:42
8. What Goes On 2:48
9. Girl 2:31
10. I'm Looking Through You 2:26
11. In My Life 2:26
12. Wait 2:14
13. If I Needed Someone 2:22
14. Run for Your Life 2:23

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