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Old 03-06-2012, 12:58 PM   #141 (permalink)
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Anyone wanna be really cool and hook me up with Revolver?

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Old 03-06-2012, 02:19 PM   #142 (permalink)
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"Good Morning Good Morning" is quirky, with some very interesting textural qualities, which plays a little like a single-song response to the entire album of Pet Sounds.
This is a really unique observation, Janszoon. Sometimes when I hear “Good Morning Good Morning” I think of “I Know There’s An Answer” on Pet Sounds. They are similar thematically, and the distorted brass on “Good Morning” (though faster-paced) reminds me somewhat of that amazing bass harmonica winding its way through “I Know There’s An Answer”.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:02 PM   #143 (permalink)
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It's been interesting thus far reading your reviews - I've found that I agree with much of what you say, and when I disagree... well, I'll have to think about why!

My exposure to The Beatles was spotty when I was younger - I think my mother suffered from the same sort of over-exposure that you did (though possible a little more as she probably lived through somewhat more of their music than you did :P), so it wasn't until I was 13 or 14, and was really starting to get into music that I first heard albums like Abbey Road and Sgt Peppers. For me, those albums that I listened to first are the ones that have stayed with me as my favourites, though I will admit that I haven't listen to most of their albums anywhere near as much as Abbey Road, Sgt Peppers and the White Album, something that I really need to fix!

The thing I love the most about Abbey Road is the way that the latter part of the album forms one seamless sequence, ending in that very simple but wonderfully pitched drum solo in The End. While most of the constituent sounds could be deemed mediocre in the grand scheme of things, it's the way they all fit together that makes it brilliant. My favourite song? Probably She's so heavy I understand where you're coming from with the lack of direction comment, but I just love the layering of noises in it, particularly the end sequence. Least favourite is harder to place, as it's been a while since I listened to the album, but it's probably Sun King. The reason why I think is less to do with the song itself, and more with how much I've connected with every other song on the album.

Sgt Peppers is the other album of theirs you have reviewed thus far, and is one that I heard very, very often over a period of two years, because it was on the curriculum when my sister was doing state music exams :P Again, as with Abbey road it's rather hard to find fault with the songs on the album. I think one of the reasons why The Beatles are so consistently voted one of the greatest bands of all times is the simple fact that it's extremely hard to find a "bad" song by them. Some of them are simply less great than others, or at least, that's how I see it! I found it interesting that you referenced a similarity between elements of this album and Primus - it is not a connection I had made previously, and will be listening out for it the next time I play it.

As a matter of interest, what's your opinion of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) track? When I was younger and less interested in anything that wasn't travelling at a decent pace I preferred the reprise to the original, but over time I came to enjoy the pacing of the original better.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:06 PM   #144 (permalink)
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I’ve been skimming a book on McCartney’s bass skills (Paul McCartney – Bass Master by Tony Bacon & Gareth Morgan) and the Sgt. Pepper’s section indicates that many of his bass lines on the album were attempts at creating a tuba-like, "oompah" tone on the bass. McCartney’s grandfather had played an E-flat bass in a local brass band, and that may have served as inspiration. During the Pepper sessions at Abbey Road an employee was dispatched by McCartney to go “buy an E-flat brass bass” - and of course there is the cover photo with The Beatles dressed in bandstand clothes.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:42 PM   #145 (permalink)
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Interesting, I didn't know there was such a book.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:47 PM   #146 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MoonlitSunshine View Post
It's been interesting thus far reading your reviews - I've found that I agree with much of what you say, and when I disagree... well, I'll have to think about why!
Thanks man! That's nice to hear.

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Sgt Peppers is the other album of theirs you have reviewed thus far, and is one that I heard very, very often over a period of two years, because it was on the curriculum when my sister was doing state music exams :P Again, as with Abbey road it's rather hard to find fault with the songs on the album. I think one of the reasons why The Beatles are so consistently voted one of the greatest bands of all times is the simple fact that it's extremely hard to find a "bad" song by them. Some of them are simply less great than others, or at least, that's how I see it! I found it interesting that you referenced a similarity between elements of this album and Primus - it is not a connection I had made previously, and will be listening out for it the next time I play it.
I've actually also reviewed Revolver as well, but it probably got lost in all the discussion. For anyone reading this, I've created a little table of contents with a link to each review in the OP of this thread.

Anyway, this is the Primus song I was referring to, which is the intro track to The Brown Album (a title obviously inspired by the Beatles as well). It doesn't really sound like the song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" but it has sort of a similar vibe to me:



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As a matter of interest, what's your opinion of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) track? When I was younger and less interested in anything that wasn't travelling at a decent pace I preferred the reprise to the original, but over time I came to enjoy the pacing of the original better.
I think I kind of view it as an extension of the original so I like it. I guess if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the original though.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:54 PM   #147 (permalink)
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This is a really unique observation, Janszoon. Sometimes when I hear “Good Morning Good Morning” I think of “I Know There’s An Answer” on Pet Sounds. They are similar thematically, and the distorted brass on “Good Morning” (though faster-paced) reminds me somewhat of that amazing bass harmonica winding its way through “I Know There’s An Answer”.
Definitely. I was thinking specifically of that song, but similar sonic textures crop up more subtly on the album elsewhere as well, like on "Let's Go Away for Awhile", "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (I think). Plus there's the whole animal sounds factor.

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I’ve been skimming a book on McCartney’s bass skills (Paul McCartney – Bass Master by Tony Bacon & Gareth Morgan) and the Sgt. Pepper’s section indicates that many of his bass lines on the album were attempts at creating a tuba-like, "oompah" tone on the bass. McCartney’s grandfather had played an E-flat bass in a local brass band, and that may have served as inspiration. During the Pepper sessions at Abbey Road an employee was dispatched by McCartney to go “buy an E-flat brass bass” - and of course there is the cover photo with The Beatles dressed in bandstand clothes.
Heh. That's interesting. I can definitely hear that in some of the songs.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:42 PM   #148 (permalink)
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Rubber Soul

First of all, thank you very much to Burning Down for sending this my way! And now, a brief anecdote...

A month or two ago I was sitting in bar near my home, listening to a pretty good jazz band, when they started weaving this familiar, heartbreaking sounding melody into what they were playing. I couldn't quite place it so I asked a guy sitting next to me if he knew what it was. In a tone of voice that let me know my question was an enormous inconvenience to him he said, "It's the Beatles".

"Which song?" I asked.

He grumpily leaned over and asked his friend, then turned back to me and said, "Norwegian Wood".

I think that was the exact moment when I starting thinking I should engage in a little Beatles reappraisal. The thing I love about this song is something that was vividly illustrated to me by that experience: the melody is gorgeous. Yes, the arrangement is great, what with the sitar and Lennon's lilting vocals, but the simple fact is that melody is amazing, heartrending and evocative no matter how it's employed. In at mid-60s pop song or from the pianist in a bebop band, it doesn't matter, it transcends its environment, something I consider quite an accomplishment.

"Norwegian Wood" is definitely the high point of Rubber Soul for me, but there are some other great tracks to be heard here for sure. "You Won't See Me" has a wonderful vocal melody on the verses, if somewhat lame choruses. "Michelle" is another one by these guys that I had forgotten about but hearing it now I find it incredibly sweet. Believe it or not, until a few days ago I never actually noticed that part of it was sung in French, nor what the song was about. "In My Life", probably my second favorite track on the album, is yet another Beatles song I had forgotten about—man, do I love the piano on the bridge on that track. Finishing up the album, "Run for Your Life" is another pretty good song, though one whose lyrics have creeped me out ever since I was a child.

Several pages back, Engine referred to Rubber Soul as "a way better version of Revolver". I have to say I noticed parallels myself, even before reading that comment, but to me it cuts the other way: Rubber Soul feels like a rough draft of Revolver. The five songs I just mentioned are the only tracks on this album that I'd consider great in any way, most of the rest are just sort of okay. And remember how I mentioned how impressed I was with how improved the guitar playing was on Abbey Road? I was specifically thinking of two tracks on this album when I said that: "Wait" and "What Goes On". "Wait" could have been a decent song I guess, but it's ruined by George Harrison's amateurish fumbling with the tone pedal for his guitar. And "What Goes On" is an unmitigated disaster. Not only is it structurally dull, with flat vocals and a boring beat, both courtesy of Ringo, but someone—I can't quite figure out if it's Harrison or Lennon—turns in some truly awful guitar playing there. It literally sounds like a nervous thirteen year old playing in front of an audience for the first time and makes the track absolutely unbearable to listen to for me.

All that said, this is still a good album. Most of the tracks are a least okay and fully a third of it is music I would describe as great. Will I continue to listen to it for pleasure? Probably, but not as often as the other albums I've reviewed so far, and with definitely with a finger resting on the skip button.


Up next: The Beatles
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:11 PM   #149 (permalink)
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Several pages back, Engine referred to Rubber Soul as "a way better version of Revolver". I have to say I noticed parallels myself, even before reading that comment, but to me it cuts the other way: Rubber Soul feels like a rough draft of Revolver.
I do like Rubber Soul 'way' more but I didn't say that I think either of the two albums are particularly great.

These two albums are generally lumped together as the middle stage of the band in between their teeny-bop, pseudo 50s-rock phase and their later full-on drug fueled/do-whatever-the-hell-we-want stage. And I think it's a fair lumping.

To me Rubber Soul fits in nicely with the roughly 2 million other floppy-haired psychedelic bands from the mid-1960s. I think it sounds a little more bubble-gummy than Revolver which, to me, sounds like an album made by a floppy-haired mid-60s band trying to get "like, really out there" but hadn't figured out how to do that until they put on some nehru jackets and started growing facial hair.

I don't love either album but I think Rubber Soul, with its relatively more simple/formulaic psychedelic sound, has a slightly better flavor. On Revolver they seemed to try to do things that they simply didn't know how to do.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #150 (permalink)
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I was thinking of Janszoon's remark about the beautiful piano solo on the bridge of "In My Life", which had been sped-up for the final recording. It can be heard here at its original normal speed:

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