Saturday, March 7, 2009
Album Review: Rubber Soul by The Beatles
Rubber Soul. One of the greatest albums of all time (in my opinion). In fact, it was rated the 5th greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. It was obvious that The Beatles were really starting to expand their horizons. For example, they used a sitar in Norwegian Wood. They also altered a piano to sound like a harpsichord on In My Life. The strangest instrument used in the album was featured on I'm Looking Through You. It was a pack of matches. Yes, Ringo decided to tap on a pack of matches and it was ultimately used as percussion.
One of the greatest parts of the album is sheer brilliance of the bass lines. Paul was experimenting with different bass effects. A distinctive fuzz effect was used on a couple songs. The bass just seemed to flow perfectly and compliment both John and George's guitars and Ringo's drums (or match boxes for that matter). Apart from that, the tone of the bass is very smooth and soft, yet still loud and punchy enough for you to feel the groove.
"Norwegian Wood" was a very influential song from the album. It is widely regarded as the first pop song to use sitar and strong Indian influence. It started a huge interest in raga rock and other forms of Indian influence rock. The sitar also gave a psychedelic vibe to the song. The Beatles would explore this style deeper on their next album, Revolver, but this is the first song with a slightly psychedelic style that gained a following. The mellow qualities were beloved by a newly forming hippie movement. Prior to this song, hippies were nearly non-existent. I would argue that the interest brought about by this song greatly contributed to the hippie movement.
"The Word" was another song on the album that created great interest. George Martin played a harmonium on this song, which is a keyboard similar to an organ. The lyrics and vocal pattern also open up to future themes such as love and psychedelia. Lennon was also said to have played a compressed piano, which also adds to the unique sound. Also, Lennon used the theme "love" to mask political references he was trying to make.
"In My Life" was a favorite among The Beatles. Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison all regarded it as one of their favorite songs that they ever wrote (Lennon mainly wrote it, with McCartney adding some last-minute touches and George Martin writing a piano solo). It is known by many as one of the greatest songs of all time. So it fits naturally with all of the other great songs on this album.
Overall, I would find it very difficult to not give this album a perfect 10/10. It is a timeless masterpiece that will forever endure the test of time. Although the chord progressions and key changes are complex, the songs are still very simple-sounding. This is because all of the instruments and vocals mesh perfectly. I give this album:
*Scale is based off of "0" being horrible, "5" being average, and "10" being perfect.