Even those who love the Beatles have to admit that "Honey Pie" is a terrible song. I mean, there's no point to it, and it harkens to the absolutely God-awful stuff they did on "Let It Be," like "Dig It" and "Maggie May." And we also have to admit that "Revolution 9" has no musical significance whatsoever. It is little more than a rambling avant garde piece that was thrown on there to appease the new girlfriend of John, Yoko Ono.
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During the famed "Anthology" ABC series, Paul McCartney would comment about how everyone says "The Beatles" should have been shorter. Even the band's own producer, George Martin, suggested that it be hewn down to a very strong single album. But what we do without classics like "Piggies" and "Bungalow Bill"? Well, maybe we could do without them. But even those have a musical catchiness that only The Beatles could get away with. The fact that this is a double is, in itself, groundbreaking. Usually seen by pop artists as a proverbial shot in the foot, a double album is a big risk to take. You are basically asking the record buyer to not only fork over more money, but more of their time, as well. And there are a few moments when the album will grate on your nerves. But Paul basically sums up his feelings by saying, "It's the bloody Beatles' White Album, shut up!" 'Nuff said.
But out of the thirty songs, five are probably throwaways. The rest are strong testaments to the amazing fertility of the band. All out rockers like "Back In The USSR," "Birthday," and "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey," showcase the still awesome guitar abilities of John and George. And the ballads of Paul, like "Blackbird" and "Mother Nature's Son," are hauntingly beautiful, and rival the earlier work of "Yesterday" and "And I Love Her."
But, yes, The Beatles went too far. To get back to "Revolution 9," this was a song that none of the other Beatles wanted on the record. George suggested that they let him have a couple more songs. Paul hated the track. In fact, the track was little more than a collection of sound effects, and John and Yoko's voice. The only thing connecting it to the other tracks titled "Revolution" was John's staccato "all right"s. There was no musical worth to it at all, save for the fact that it tests one's listening endurance. There are probably five or six tracks that the band probably wishes had never seen the light of day. But, all in all, the record is masterful.
Another major departure is the stripped down quality of the album. The Beatles previous two albums, "Sgt. Pepper's" and "Magical Mystery Tour," were both known for productions, sound effects, and exotic instruments. "The Beatles," at most points," would consist of only the band; sometimes only ONE member of the band, depending on their moods. The simple songs and stripped down blues-rock were a far cry from the super-produced "I Am The Walrus," and "Strawberry Fields Forever."
All in all, "The Beatles" proves that the band can basically do whatever they want and still sell albums. And there's a reason for that. They are, quite simply, the best band in history. Their music never gets old. 30 songs, 4 guys, 2 LPs, 1 album. The bloody Beatles White Album.
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