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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beatles Album Review: The Greatest One

The greatest band of all time? Quite possibly. The Beatles have been the sound of many generations since they walked onto that stage in New York and into the hearts of millions. No, not the Monkies. It's the Beatles!
Now the debate that plagues many Beatles fans (and pretty much all music lovers) is, what is the greatest Beatles Album? There are always the same names thrown into the mix. Revolver? Rubber Soul? Yellow Submarine? Well, maybe not the last one. Infact, none of them! Ladies and gentleman, I give you THE greatest Beatles album ever...
Magical Mystery Tour!

Why are you laughing? Stop sniggering you! I'm serious! Why does nobody ever take this seriously? It's a damn good album, and I'm going to tell you why.

Magical Mystery Tour (Song)
An oft forgotten jem. Some nice drumming and a good rythm to this track. Sadly, the lyrics don't live up to the Lennon/McCartney standards, and when compared to another opener to a Beatles movie, let's say Help!, it doesn't really stand up. Still, it sets you up for the experience ahead. And there's a nice piano coda to see it out.
Score: 6.8/10

The Fool on the Hill
A beautiful piano-based track written & sung by Paul McCartney (as always credited to Lennon/McCartney). One of the best songs on the album, written subconsciously about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I could try to tell you what it's about, but really the bluntest definition is obvious- it's about a fool.... on a hill.- and I believe that most things as a whole require personal interpretation. The Anthology version, in my opinion, is much better. For one, it doesn't have any bloody flutes on't!
Score: 8.7/10

An instrumental with a rarity with the Beatles in that it's credited to all 4 Beatles. An instrumental track, with a groovy psychedelic feel. Not much to say really. Can't really score it either.
Score: N/A

Blue Jay Way
Written by George Harrison while waiting for their press officer, Derek Taylor, in a house. It tells the story of George waiting in a house in LA for him while fog grew in the area. A somber song in comparison to the other songs on the album. To be honest, it kinda freaks me out a bit. Moving swiftly on... a decent enough outing from Harrison. Simple enough, nice Chello throughout, and once again some good drumming.
Score: 7.6/10

Your Mother Should Know
Now we're near the "Magical Mystery 4" as I call them, but first this nice song written by Paul McCartney (Credited to L/Mc). Some nice bass to this, and it's noticeable, which is rare nowadays *reminisces* ahh... Oh, back to the song. A nice song. Not great, and clearly McCartney knew this aswell and couldn't be bothered finishing it, as seen in the lines "da-da-da-da-da".
Score: 6.0/10

I Am the Walrus
Oh yes. Oh yes. Possibly the greatest song of all time! *end hyperbole*. Ahem. We all know this song. The dream-like intro followed by some great drumming by Ringo. The nonsence lyrics written by Lennon (a joke on an old school teacher who was making his current students analyse Beatles songs) fit perfectly with the beautiful violins and the ever-present bass. Triumphant sounds throughout and a lovely pace. A tradition among the Beatles where they had several concepts for songs that werent strong enough on their own, so they stuck 'em together! With it's odd radio/chanting/random coda, I Am the Walrus is one of the most memorable songs of all time.
Score: 9.3/10

Hello Goodbye
Written by Paul McCartney when he was asked how he wrote songs by Alistair Taylor. Throughout the song, the vocals mirror each other, e.g. "You say high, I say low". Some great guitar on this track, and features a sometimes-common feature of the Beatles- a false end. After a brief pause, the true coda, a lively rythm during which they repeat words such as "heba". The promotional video shows the Beatles dancing and fooling about, which is what this song makes you do.
Score: 8.9/10

Strawberry Fields Forever
Initially ment for 1967's Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, this Lennon song was inspired by his memories of playing in the nearby Salvation Army's garden (this was called Strawberry Field, note: no "s"). A beautiful, smooth, relaxing song. You can cleary notice the effects of not having the stress to perform live on Lennon's song writing. A simple acoustic guitar song with an overlay of ahead-of-it's-time synth-like overlay. When John Lennon has said that this is the best thing he ever did with the Beatles, it must be some special song.
Score: 9.5/10

Penny Lane
Like Strawberry Fields (above), Penny Lane was meant for Sgt. Peppers, and it derives itself from a place in Liverpool. The song details life on Penny Lane when McCartney was a kid. It's a nice song that begins suddenly. It's kind-of hard for me to describe this song, so go listen to it.
Score: 8.9/10

Baby, You're a Rich Man
And now we mourn the end of the "Magical Mystery 4"....
Well, on with the show! Baby, You're a Rich Man is a true rarity, being only one of 3 a true joint Lennon/McCartney composition. The Lennon part, "One of the Beautiful People", is quite a good song. The McCartney title-chorus.... not so much. It has a unique sound, and is a decent L/McC standard track until the chorus.... "BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN!" ugh. Ruins a perfectly good Lennon tune.
Score: 6.1/10

All You Need is Love
This is it. The finale. All You Need is Love was used as Britain's entry to the Our World programme, which was the first live global television link. The song opens with a small piece of "La Marseillaise", the French national album. This, I imagine, was to reiterate the global message. A primarily Lennon song, this preaches the message of love at the height of the Vietnam War. The song itself is beautiful, and once again is quite hard to describe. During the refrain, you can year McCartney, singing harmonies of course, sing the words "She loves you yeah yeah yeah" and "Yesterday". This truly was a landmark for the Beatles and for the world.
Score: 9.0/10

Total Score:

Oh dear. I might be wrong on this one... damnit, now I've got to review the other ones....

Beatle Facts!
Fool on the Hill: While Paul and Alistair Taylor were on a walk a man suddenly and inexplicably appeared near them, then disappeared. After this, they discussed the existence of God, and this event (allegedly) prompted the writing of the song.
Flying: This song and Dig It, from Let it Be, are the only songs to be released that are credited to all 4 Beatles. Even rarer is that it is the only released Beatles instrumental.
Blue Jay Way: The musician who played the chello on this song is still unknown.
Your Mother Should Know: The recording session for this song was the last Brian Epstein (manager) attended before his death in late August 1967.
I Am the Walrus: This song is referenced in two later Lennon songs. In Glass Onion, The Beatles (White Album), he says that "the walrus is Paul". In God, Plastic Ono Band, he says "I was the Walrus, but know I'm just John."
Hello, Goodbye: Although the promotional films for the song was filmed in London, they couldn't air in Britain at the time due the Musicians Union's strict rules on miming. With no such restrictions in the US, it aired on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Strawberry Fields Forever: As a child, Lennon would go to an annual fair in Strawberry Field with his Aunt Mimi. Lennon played here with the Quarrymen, and it is here he was introduced to Paul McCartney.
Penny Lane: Like Abbey Road, the road signs of Penny Lane were stolen by fans so much that they were replaced by a sign painted to the wall. In Penny Lane however, the physical sign has been replaced.
Baby, You're a Rich Man: Mick Jagger was present during the recording session, and it is possible that he sang backing vocals on the song, as his name appears on a session tape box.
All You Need Is Love: During the fade-out of the song, friends of the Beatles including Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Jane Asher (McCartney's then-girlfriend), Keith Moon and Eric Clapton sang the refrain. They can be seen quite cleary during the broadcast.

Thank you, until next time

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