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Old 08-03-2012, 09:55 PM   #171 (permalink)
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I haven't forgotten! I just got a little burnt out on the Beatles and have found the white album especially difficult to write a review of. With this little nudge, though, I may get it done sooner rather than later.
Yay! I enjoy reading the reviews so I've still been excited to see them. Take your time though, just wanted to bump this thread.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:11 PM   #172 (permalink)
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The Beatles (aka The White Album)

Alrighty, here's my very long awaited White Album review. My list of excuses for the delay include being busy, being a little overwhelmed with reviewing such a long album, and simply being burnt out with listening to and critiquing Beatles releases. Anyway, thanks in part to the recent prodding from Ki, I'm back on the job.

I'll start by stating the obvious opinion that a lot of people have about this album: it's too goddamn long. If they had edited it down to a single record it would probably be up there with Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road for me in terms of quality, but as it stands it's too full of half-baked experiments and filler to rate very highly with me. Even some of the well-known songs are ones I've never been particularly fond of, such as "Birthday", "Revolution 1" (though I've always liked the single version), "Glass Onion" and "Back in the USSR"—though after these closer listens I've come to appreciate the Beach Boys parody of that last one. This album sounds exactly like what it is, a patchwork of recordings by people who were barely talking to each other, and it most certainly suffers for it.

So, yes, I have a lot of negative things to say about a lot of these tracks, but the news isn't all bad here. I did say, after all, that this probably could have made a great single-record album. To start with, I've always enjoyed "Helter Skelter", "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"—even if that last song has an unfortunate TV association for me—and with many listens over the past few months I've come to enjoy a good amount more. "Rocky Raccoon" is a track that comes immediately to mind in this regard. Despite beginning with what sounds like an embarrassing ignorance of American geography, it turns into the kind of fun-but-strangely-sad songs that I'm a sucker for, not to mention the fact that it's also kind of an interesting take on "Stagger Lee". "Sexy Sadie" is another one, there's something about that reverby piano that just kills me. And "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Long, Long, Long", two tracks which I believe were specifically mentioned as favorites by people in this thread, have become favorites of mine as well. Both of them are so perfectly heartbreaking and bittersweet, just as a good pop song should be. Another one in this category for me is "Cry Baby Cry", though it doesn't seem to get as much recognition (the Laibach cover of it is well worth a listen too).

In the end, there are certainly as many good songs here as on the best of their releases, it's just this album is disappointing in terms of the potential it had. Even in its less-than-strong moments I hear potential for greatness—a bit of organ on "Savoy Truffle", the sound collage of "Revolution 9", the vocal melody on "Blackbird"—I just wish these tracks delivered on that promise a little more often.

Thank you very much to Ribbons for sending this to me! I haven't seen you around here lately but hopefully you'll see this review.

Up next: Magical Mystery Tour
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:26 PM   #173 (permalink)
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^Pretty spot on review I must say. I never really saw The White Album as one of the better ones, i'm more like you are, where it's just a lot of filler and a great album to listen to each track on it's own at it's own pace. If they had put their full potential into the album and made some of the well known tracks better and made the songs that could have been great, even better, it would have definitely been up there in the top 3 Beatles albums, at least for me. Sgt Pepper, even after I have listened to their collection on multiple occasions, still remains to be my favorite Beatles album. To put it shortly and simply, it's the one album by The Beatles that I can really follow the story and listen to it without wondering "hey, where's the greatness in that song?", even though there are a few even in that album that seem like fillers if you hear them the first time. Nicely written review though, you pointed out a lot of what I would expect from someone who is taking the chance to get into The Beatles. I also agree with you on a lot of aspects for the most part, so that's good too.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:56 PM   #174 (permalink)
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Accurate review of the White Album Jans. I've always believed that they should have scrapped that whole project and just released Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da as a single.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:47 PM   #175 (permalink)
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Accurate review of the White Album Jans. I've always believed that they should have scrapped that whole project and just released Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da as a single.
Heh. Well, there's more than just those two songs that are worthwhile on it.

On an unrelated note, I was smoking crack on that Laibach reference. The song I was thinking of is actually "Two of Us". It's just that they sing it in a similar way to "Cry Baby Cry". Here's what I'm talking about:

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Old 08-13-2012, 12:57 AM   #176 (permalink)
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Glad to hear you like "long, long, long". That damn song makes me wanna cry.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:56 PM   #177 (permalink)
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Thanks for your well thought-out review of the White Album, Janszoon. So much for my suggestion that you might like this album (I think I thought at the time that it was "artsy" and therefore you would favor it ). Looking forward to your Magical Mystery Tour review.

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Glad to hear you like "long, long, long". That damn song makes me wanna cry.
"Long, Long, Long" is my favorite, along with "Mother Nature's Son" (love the timpani and muted horns and the tapping by Paul on a hardcover of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha" on this track), "I'm So Tired", "Martha My Dear", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", and "Yer Blues". And I wish they would have extended and built upon "Wild Honey Pie".

Last edited by ribbons; 08-14-2012 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:34 PM   #178 (permalink)
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A good review, again, of the White Album. I am curious though: If you were to cut down the album, what songs would you keep, would you reorder them, and most importantly, would it all fit onto one (80 minutes, let's say) CD? I agree that there are certainly a number of songs that the album would do without, but I am rather found of the majority of the songs on the album - I certainly don't think that I could reduce it in length to 1 CD without cutting out a song that I like.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:26 AM   #179 (permalink)
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Thanks for your well thought-out review of the White Album, Janszoon. So much for my suggestion that you might like this album (I think I thought at the time that it was "artsy" and therefore you would favor it ). Looking forward to your Magical Mystery Tour review.
I did like it actually, I just think it could have used some editing.

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"Long, Long, Long" is my favorite, along with "Mother Nature's Son" (love the timpani and muted horns and the tapping by Paul on a hardcover of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha" on this track), "I'm So Tired", "Martha My Dear", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", and "Yer Blues". And I wish they would have extended and built upon "Wild Honey Pie".
Heh. Is that really true about Paul tapping on "Song of Hiawatha"? That's pretty funny.

I totally agree about "Wild Honey Pie". I like how weird it is (it kind of makes me think of Ween actually), but I wish they had done more with it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:29 AM   #180 (permalink)
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A good review, again, of the White Album. I am curious though: If you were to cut down the album, what songs would you keep, would you reorder them, and most importantly, would it all fit onto one (80 minutes, let's say) CD? I agree that there are certainly a number of songs that the album would do without, but I am rather found of the majority of the songs on the album - I certainly don't think that I could reduce it in length to 1 CD without cutting out a song that I like.
I knew someone was going to ask this! I think it would have been great if this were the track listing (not necessarily in this order):

Dear Prudence
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Martha My Dear
Rocky Raccoon
Don't Pass Me By
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Honey Pie
Savoy Truffle
Cry Baby Cry
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i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

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25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
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