Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The Music Forums > General Music
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-18-2008, 06:04 PM   #91 (permalink)
Account Disabled
 
boo boo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Where the buffalo roam.
Posts: 12,137
Default

Pfft, raw passion, here we go with that again.
boo boo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 08:20 PM   #92 (permalink)
Occams Razor
 
Son of JayJamJah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: End of the Earth
Posts: 2,470
Default

I don't think raw passion and meticulous craftsmanship are mutually exclusive. Sgt. Peppers contains both as well as ground breaking effects and affects both.
Son of JayJamJah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 08:06 AM   #93 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,221
Default

[NB FIRSTLY let me just say, particularly in response to a boo boo comment, Sgt Pepper is definitely not a rip-off album in any sense at all, just as Revolver is not. Neither sounded like anything coming out in Rock music at the same time, and for good reason: they were not really Rock albums in the first place! I will clarify this further in the coming "case for". Rip off territory only really begins with The White Album and its relentless onslaught of parody; but that's another discussion entirely]



Ok, so here we go. The case, yes, for:



You can question its impact, you can debate its significance, you can debate its influence, you can debate its innovation; well, here's something you cannot debate: 12 good songs and true. Not only 12 good songs, but 12 songs that totally redefined what could be done in the studio context. The production of this record is absolutely immaculate. George Martin's arrangements are simply outstanding when placed in the context of the other records that were coming out in 1966 and 1967. Now, one may opt to point out that there were scarcely any other bands in the whole world who had access to not only the level of equipment and technical expertise but above all the unrestricted hours (rumour has it that it took in excess of 700 hours to record!): what could other contemporary bands have done with the same sort of resources at their desposal? But this is largely beyond the point. It doesn't matter what other bands could have done - it's what the Bealtes and George Martin DID do. And sonically the results are truly in all senses groundbreaking and awesome - in the correct context!

But even removed from context, just listen to the polyphony interweaved throughout this album. The counterpoint between the vocal melodies and the simultaneous instrumental melodies (on songs like the title track for example) simply displays a brilliant and incredibly sophisticated level of composition light years in front of absolutely everything and anything that had ever been in the mainstream. Even though I personally credit Martin with such strokes of genius, it doesn't matter who was responsible: we're talking about the album here, and not how it came to be.

Next: the breadth of styles covered. The Beatles had always shown (an often bizarrely) wide and diverse range of influences even from their very first album. On Revolver they totally took this to the next level going far beyond wherever they'd been before in terms of eclecticism. Sgt Pepper continues along these lines but pushes even further. The Beatles possess such a startling diversity of both styles and moods on this record: the funky hard rock guitar of the title track, the upbeat cheery singalong pop of With A Little Help From My Friends, the trippy psychedelia of Lucy In The Sky, the haunting whimsy of Fixing A Whole, Harrison's Indian-influenced Within You Without You, Lennon's circus song For The Benefit Of Mr Kite, the music hall of When I'm Sixty Four, the apparently Kinks influenced Lovely Rita, the fractured pop of A Day In The Life, the classical-tinged melodrama and Greek chorus of She's Leaving Home...

Oscillating between hard rock here, vaudeville there, a bit of chamber interspersed, the extent of what is covered here really is phenomenal, but it's not in the range where the genius lies: it's the point that, most importantly of all, it all sounds as if it belongs perfectly together. There's quite distinctly a red thread running through the whole thing. Somebody else on the boards once referred to it as the Sgt Pepper beat, and I agree with that notion, namely that there's a certain tempo and drumming style mostly consistent throughout the record that makes the tracks feel distinctly representative of this album as a unified statement.

The ambition... the important question is, who actually WERE the Beatles? This point ties in with something boo boo wrote: smartarses will take shots at the album and a lot of the Beatles' other material for not really being in the spirit of pure rock. They will point out, probably correctly, that the tradition of rock music that was being created in the era was one in which the notion of melody and tuneful vocals were to take a back seat. No longer were these things to lie at the centre of a song, but rather high technical proficiency, a harder more rugged sound and the riff were to replace them. But slating the Beatles for keeping the focus on melody as the heart and centre of their music is a ridiculous criticism to level at them. This is forgetting who the Beatles were. They were NOT some radical ultra-political hippie underground rock phenomenon. They were a pop band from Liverpool who started off as a beat group. They were in the grand tradition of melody and the vocal groups - the tradition of 40s and 50s popular music. Their vision WAS pop and melody, not brutal and rugged rock'n'roll. Attacking them for not really being "Rock" is like attacking Beethoven for not being Jazz. It wasn't the aim, and they never pretended that it was.

But as it turns out, the aim was in many ways very much more commendable than merely trying to be a rock band. The Beatles stuck to their own musical vision, but decided to go beyond being just plain pop. They got sophisticated instead, and tried to be interesting, artistic, clever, vital. And, without being composers or truly virtuosic instrumentalists (in the sense of the Blues players), they managed to pull off all four and in spectacular fashion no less. That they could transform themselves from mere jaunty Merseybeat pop to the heights of musical sophistication and wild adventurous experimentalism that they attained is really nothing short of remarkable. Again, it may not really be "rock" in the same vein as the other music of the period, but it wasn't supposed to be --- and then ends up being an awful lot more in the same breath.

The Beatles stuck to their fundamental underlying vision of pop music and came up with the most ambitious, eclectic, adventurous and sophisticated pop album that there had ever been. And it is timeless, sounding just as much at home on an MP3 player in 2008 as it did on a Vinyl in 1967.

Last edited by Rainard Jalen; 06-19-2008 at 08:15 AM.
Rainard Jalen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 01:44 PM   #94 (permalink)
Back to mono
 
WaspStar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 509
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJamJah View Post
I don't think raw passion and meticulous craftsmanship are mutually exclusive. Sgt. Peppers contains both as well as ground breaking effects and affects both.

No, they don't have to be mutually exclusive, but they usually are. I don't think there's much raw passion on latter day Beatles records. Please Please Me and A Hard Day's Night still explode with an amazing energy. After that...I'd say they started trading excitement for polish. Not that it's a zero-sum proposition, but in their case, I think it was.
WaspStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2008, 03:09 PM   #95 (permalink)
Occams Razor
 
Son of JayJamJah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: End of the Earth
Posts: 2,470
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaspStar View Post
No, they don't have to be mutually exclusive, but they usually are. I don't think there's much raw passion on latter day Beatles records. Please Please Me and A Hard Day's Night still explode with an amazing energy. After that...I'd say they started trading excitement for polish. Not that it's a zero-sum proposition, but in their case, I think it was.
Would you consider Abbey Road an exception? I mean "something" is riddled with emotion and the medley is completely driven by it.
Son of JayJamJah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 11:13 AM   #96 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,221
Default

I agree. Later Beatles is very limited in terms of real moments of raw passion. Harrison contributed a few of the more soulful tracks. You always do get the general feeling that McCartney is all about polish even from the early days. Lennon in some ways was probably the most sincere in terms of his songwriting.

With that said, I don't think there's anything wrong with being about polish rather than passion. Aside from that it was the inevitable result of their hearts not really being fully committed to the band and the overtaking of egos.
Rainard Jalen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2020 Advameg, Inc.