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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul  (Read 9625 times)

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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #40 on: April 23, 2011, 12:50:51 AM »

I was just listening to the album (first time in a long time) and Ive only just realized that The Word is basically a 12 bar blues..

Was this the first song about 'universal love', the first hippy anthem ?
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #41 on: April 23, 2011, 01:23:41 AM »

I'm not sure which song was the first but Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) wrote and recorded Let's Get Together in 1964...

Dino Valenti - Let's Get Together (1964)
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glass onion

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2011, 06:19:11 PM »

I know its all just opinions, but after I review Revolver, i'm going to hold you to this.
well,it is all just opinion todd.....i am under no illusion that 99.9% of beatle fans will favour revolver over rubber soul,and in my head i don't blame them.i have always been a bit 'maverick' in my music tastes...how many peoples' fave beatle song is 'yes it is'?.not many,but it's mine,that's for sure.i listened to revolver again yesterday and i had forgotten how good it is.however,i personally feel that rubber soul is as strong in it's own way.so i am fully expecting to be gunned down during the revolver reviews!!my head says revolver,my heart says rubber soul.bring it on!! ;D
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2011, 07:32:32 PM »

I guess I'm in the .1%

 ;D
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2011, 09:42:28 PM »

so i am fully expecting to be gunned down during the revolver reviews!!my head says revolver,my heart says rubber soul.bring it on!! ;D

Lol. You wont be getting gunned down. Its impossible when theres no facts behind any of it. I do think we will have an entertainig conversation though. Oh its on alright. I'm hitting the gym right now.  ;D

Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2011, 10:13:22 PM »

I guess I'm in the .1%

 ;D

I'm right there with you HG  ;)


This is the point at which the Beatles evolved seamlessly from a great pop singles group who released wonderful song collections on their LPs, into a polished album band who still happened to have the knack of releasing great singles. Rubber Soul is a sumptuous album which I really never tire of hearing. If pressed I’d have to vote it as my favourite of the fab four’s original LPs. It takes a few giant strides forward from its predecessors yet retains that inimitably catchy, charmingly accessible Beatle sound, which was by now maturing and expanding to absorb myriad outside influences whilst pushing the boundaries to break new musical ground of its own.  A thoughtful, beautifully textured record with real emotional depth... The Beatles were now über cool and impeccably on top of their game.

Drive My Car – A suitably confident, richly layered opener, I struggled for a long time to put my finger on what irritated me about this track, which I have long regarded as a sort of watered down ‘Day Tripper’. And now I’ve realised the one thing I dislike about it – and to my surprise, the fly in the ointment is Paul’s vocal. The chorus is great. The falsetto “Beep beep! Beep beep! Yeah!” is fun and cool. But McCartney’s faux-soul/ quasi-American lead singing on the verses – reminiscent of that odd “accent” he tries to adopt on ‘She’s A Woman’ - nearly spoils the whole song for me. Fortunately it’s redeemed by George’s strident guitar solo, Ringo’s excellent drumming and tambourine and Paul’s apposite piano lines (I’m convinced it’s McCartney on bass here by the way).

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) – One of the highlights of the album, here’s another song where precise authorship contributions were disputed. John claimed the song was 100% his and it is certainly Lennon who predominates lyrically (via a delightful, gently descending double tracked lead vocal) throughout. Yet the rising middle eight and the short story format (complete with arsonist punch line which Paul claimed to have suggested) smack of a greater McCartney input than is usually acknowledged. Suddenly our moptops were singing about illicit sexual affairs and spiteful revenge... and to raise eyebrows even further, introducing Indian sitar music into their songs! I agree with Hello Goodbye - The amount of sitar on the finished article was perfect; its presence lifts the whole song, but  any more would have swamped a truly beautiful melody.

You Won’t See Me – Far too good to be regarded as “filler” (they had pretty much outgrown such things by now) this track nevertheless seems – despite being a decent enough number – almost pedestrian by their own newly elevated standards. A sort of updated ‘No Reply’, it lacks that track’s urgency but instead serves up a kind of weary sulkiness. Nevertheless, great interplay of piano, guitar and bass, and Paul’s vocal is terrific. The same can’t be said of the “ooh la la la” backing from John and George which seems to stray off key and drags on forever (especially in the overly extended fade out). A cool track but for me the song is about one chorus too long.

Nowhere Man – another album highlight. In contrast to its predecessor, the backing vocals here are superb, and coupled with George’s crystal- crisp, ringing guitar solo and John’s mesmerising delivery on lead vocal, a beautifully crafted masterpiece emerges combining the various strengths of each Beatle in perfect measure. I’ve always loved that little “twinkle” at 1:05. What IS that?

Think For Yourself – George’s songwriting was blossoming now and in this first of two fine offerings he provides a wonderfully mordant vocal to deliver a deliciously cynical set of cleverly constructed lyrics. Love Paul’s harmony on this one. Great use of fuzz box and nice touches from Ringo on tambourine and maracas all of which combine to add delicious texture to this underrated track.

The Word – The Beatles were openly proud of their willingness to absorb and assimilate the modern/rival influences around them, yet somehow always seemed to be several steps ahead of the game. This growing awareness was perhaps never more evident than on ‘The Word’ which seems at least a year and a half ahead of its time by alerting their enchanted public to the hippy ideal yet to come. Paul’s jerky piano and Ringo’s fills are great here, as is George’s tumbling guitar line and the harmonium (?) towards the end. Love the three way falsetto vocals at the finale. John’s lines “Now that I know that a Beatle must be right, I’m here to show everybody the light” could have been the album’s subtitle, as the group’s epiphany is delivered to the listening masses on another cool and underrated track which highlights the effortlessly instinctive blend of vocal harmonies commanded by John, Paul and George.

Michelle – an exquisite jewel fashioned mainly by Paul (with, apparently, more than a little input from John), for me this gorgeous, yearning love song knocks spots of the grotesquely overrated ‘Yesterday’ which it rivals as a Beatles “standard”.  The two songs bear further comparison in that the Rubber Soul track, like its more famous predecessor, is virtually a McCartney solo outing (I gather he recorded and overdubbed most, if not all, of the musical parts himself) but for the fact that it does feature truly sumptuous harmony vocals from John and George. As for the smooth French lyric...well, these truly are words that go together well. A beautiful finale to side one.

What Goes On – Somehow (in my opinion at least) Ringo just about pulls this one off successfully, despite superficial similarities to the woeful ‘Act Naturally’. Is it due to the songwriting presence of Lennon & McCartney? The absence (or lower mix?) of Paul’s gawky harmony vocal so irritatingly evident on the ‘Help!’ side two opener? The surrounding quality of Rubber Soul’s other tracks rubbing off on the listener and softening the critical mood? I think even if this had appeared on Help! I still wouldn’t have minded it, and would have certainly preferred it to ‘Act Naturally’. Whatever it is, this bouncy singalong somehow manages to absorb a certain degree of the coolness surrounding it on this album. But if there’s any filler at all on Rubber Soul, then it has to be here. 

Girl – Yes, it’s John’s reply to Michelle, with a Germanic two-step in answer to Paul’s lovely little French vignette. With the hiss of breath, sighing vocal and “tit tit tit” harmony, Lennon barely conceals the repressed sexual yearning evident throughout this sumptuous little gem of a track. I am ignorant of musical instrumentation so don’t know what was employed to achieve that Bavarian sound interspersed with the cymbals towards the song’s climax, but the effect is mesmerising. A lovely song and yet another album highlight.

I’m Looking Through You – A rather feisty protestation from Paul, presumably experiencing choppy waters in his hot/cold relationship with Jane Asher which translates here to a correspondingly choppy acoustic (initially) number which proceeds to embrace a waspish organ and a pugnacious chorus vocal delivered with gusto by McCartney. I love the “why, tell me why” bits. A snappy track which fits well on the album. Amongst many great things about Rubber Soul is Paul’s adoption of a harder, Lennonesque edge to some of his material – alongside a coincidental mellowing of some of John’s own material with a McCartneyish flavour which knocks some of the rough edges off those contributions.  They seemed to draw the best influences from one another here and with super confident input from Ringo and George throughout the album they rarely sounded better as a GROUP in the real sense of the word.

In My Life – This hauntingly poignant track is a true gem, not just from Rubber Soul, but from the entire Beatles canon. It steers clear of sentimentality with grace and dignity to deliver a wonderfully reflective elegy, bolstered of course by that magnificent electric piano solo from George Martin, recorded at half speed to imbue it with that glistening baroque harpsichord quality. The lyrics are superb and handled with vocal aplomb as usual by John. The little bells and percussive touches from Ringo add so much. ‘In My Life’ is a deeply introspective jewel which brings real depth and gravity to an already marvellous album.

Wait – A leftover from the “Help!” sessions, this track fits snugly at home on Rubber Soul. Once again Ringo’s drumming and percussive talents come to the fore as maracas and that ubiquitous tambourine add texture to a track which has the fingerprints of John and Paul in equal measure all over it.  A rare (by now) example of a 50/50 composition employing both Lennon and McCartney on jointly double tracked lead vocals to great effect. I love the changes in tempo between verse and chorus and that brilliant tidal wash of a guitar ending. Tends to be underrated this one, I think.

If I Needed Someone – Superb. One of my favourite tracks on the album and George’s best work to date, even if I give the edge lyrically to ‘Think For Yourself’. It has to be that glittering guitar that makes all the difference here; it’s quite outstanding and forms a sparkling counterpoint to Harrison’s confident vocal pattern which culminates in a thrilling three part harmony with Paul and John.  There is the burgeoning influence of Indian music buried within this and George repays compliments to The Byrds,  as others have already pointed out (by the way, that’s the same Byrds who only came into being thanks to their awestruck devotion to George’s twelve string Rickenbacker sound on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’  ;)).

Run For Your Life – Lennon himself despised this song and took every opportunity in later years to disparage it. Which is a shame, since it adds real bite and forms a wonderfully lascivious finale to the album (ironically it was the first track specifically recorded for Rubber Soul). John’s vicious lyrics and black humour reach a threatening new peak on this sinister outing, magnified by a vocal which is very high up in the mix and with a suitably venomous harmony from Paul.  The “no no no” vocal fade out always sounds like Micky Dolenz of The Monkees to me!

Big hair and suede jackets plus a groovy, distorted album sleeve (their best in my opinion) package together the greatest slice of Beatles fare served up to date. It’s no coincidence that the red 1962-66 compilation (for many people the definitive introduction to the group’s canon of work) features no fewer than six helpings from Rubber Soul.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #46 on: April 23, 2011, 11:13:25 PM »

I’m Looking Through You – A rather feisty protestation from Paul, presumably experiencing choppy waters in his hot/cold relationship with Jane Asher which translates here to a correspondingly choppy acoustic (initially) number...

Oh, I'm sure that's what it was all about all right.  Jane was definitely his muse.  We have lots of great Beatles songs thanks to her.



I love the “why, tell me why” bits. A snappy track which fits well on the album. Amongst many great things about Rubber Soul is Paul’s adoption of a harder, Lennonesque edge to some of his material – alongside a coincidental mellowing of some of John’s own material with a McCartneyish flavour which knocks some of the rough edges off those contributions.

I feel the "why tell me whys" tempered this song.  "Take 1" is no doubt how he really felt at the time.  I think Paul squirreled take 1 away so as not to antagonize Jane Asher. 

Why tell me why did he have John sing Every Little Thing?
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2011, 11:20:04 PM »

Quote
I am ignorant of musical instrumentation so don’t know what was employed to achieve that Bavarian sound interspersed with the cymbals towards the song’s climax, but the effect is mesmerising

First of all, a great review Mr Mustard  ;)

I believe the instrument in question was a Greek string guitar type thing called a bazouki.

btw didnt Paul play the guitar solo on Drive My Car ? I always thought he did (maybe Ive always been wrong)  ???
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2011, 12:39:17 AM »

Rubber Soul for most Beatle nuts (like me) is when the Merseybeat stopped and the ' were becoming serious artists' phase clicked in.
What we see here is growth growth growth, not just in songs (there are still love songs aplenty) but in sounds, the sound - is getting seriously different. I think this is where experimentation began, suddenly a normal piano sound was old hat and what happens if we put it through a guitar amp with full treble, Mike the drums differently, take the bass higher, fuzz bass, sitar etc of course they would take things a lot further on Revolver and Pepper but this is where they dipped their toe's so to speak and I think this one might be, more than any of their other albums, the biggest indicator of their musical progress. Even a song like 'Wait', with its catchy chorus, cool contrast between the semi-accappella verses and powerful refrain, and strangely dramatic ending, I'd never heard a song end like that !
I absolutely love Rubber Soul, yes there are 2 duds on it (What Goes On & Run For Your Life) and for once I wish they would have incorporated the single A & B sides to make the album more complete and bin the 2 duds.
But its a masterpiece.
 
John & George have moved on considerably.....in stark contrast, Paul seems to be procrastinating a little. Tunes like 'You Won't See Me' and 'I'm Looking Through You' are perfect pop songs, no doubt about it, and feature lyrics that are far less cliched than, say, 'Another Girl' - and seem to make a big self-conscious deal about being more mature with lines like "I have had enough, so act your age" and "you don't look different, but you have changed" . In fact, melodically 'Im Looking Through You' is one of my absolute favs of the period. But if we're after real growth, we're not getting it here. And we're not even getting it on 'Michelle', really, because incorporating elements of French just takes the level of Schmooz up a level but musically its nothing new, Paul did show us though with songs like Michelle what a masterful writer he is.
Pauls big track on here though is Drive My Car, where genre's and expectations between them get jumbled up in a kind of farcical black comedy, Im not surprised they opened up with this soulful rocker, even though it was normally a John rocker that opened the albums..anyway this track shows definite growth as a sonwriter by Paul.

George has real growth on RS too, no longer a B grade writer, both his songs on here show better writing and deeper lyrics 'about the good things we can have if we close our eyes'.....great!
I also think If I Needed Someone was his best so far.......both songs show a new deeper George, a strangeness all of his own, the dark horse is born......'carve your number on my wall and maybe you will get a call from me'. Another great touch from him it has to be said is the sitar on Norwegian Wood, its perfect, it just adds to the song but doesnt dominate in any way, he was no Ravi but good enough to pull this off.

BUT.....the big growth has to be John. Deep inward looking songs like In My Life, Girl, Nowhere Man, and the masterful Norwegian Wood, just that first line..'I once had a girl..or should I say she once had me' is pure genius, and what a sublime guitar tone adopted, simple yet effective, shallow but ohh so deep, played with such delicacy. Two other John songs - 'Girl' and 'In My Life' have become alleged classics as well. There's little I can say about either, except that the devils in the detail of course: for 'Girl', it's the "deep air intake" between the two 'girl... girl' parts of the chorus, (and the Bazouki) and for 'In My Life', it's the falsetto coda. These are the tiny asymmetrical parts that add true perfection to the already formally perfect buildings.....and isnt it wonderful how its a love song but comes across as a song of nostalgia or one's growing up.
Above all on this record John showed his genius, he showed what a poet and deep thinker he was, he was ahead of Paul (that wouldnt last forever though) in the game and would be for some time. A true visionary, he would lead popular music down a different path, a path that would lead to strange places like Strawberry Fields and take people like me (who were just the right age) with him.

Rubber Soul was the beginning of the Beatles as great artists, the moptops were no more.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #49 on: April 24, 2011, 03:03:31 AM »

...the moptops were no more.

How true!
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #50 on: April 24, 2011, 03:17:14 AM »

Oooh!  I never commented on Think For Yourself - It was the fuzz box that first caught my attention.  After a few plays, I realized it was a pretty good song by George Harrison.  Sometimes I react to songs that way.

Thie same thing happened with Mean Mr. Mustard.   ;D
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #51 on: April 24, 2011, 03:24:23 AM »

by the way, that’s the same Byrds who only came into being thanks to their awestruck devotion to George’s twelve string Rickenbacker sound on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

That's true, it was like a chain of influences that shaped the 1960's music, as A Hard Day's Night led to Mr. Tambourine Man, which in turn led to Rubber Soul, which in turn led to Pet Sounds, which finally led to Sgt. Pepper's changing the concept of rock music forever.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #52 on: April 24, 2011, 03:30:15 AM »

Right and double right!

;) 
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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #53 on: April 24, 2011, 09:54:10 AM »

well,it is all just opinion todd.....i am under no illusion that 99.9% of beatle fans will favour revolver over rubber sou


Check it out! : http://beatlesbattle.com/
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2011, 04:35:26 AM »

Thanks, Bobber. 

Now that's more like it!
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #55 on: April 26, 2011, 12:32:45 AM »

Check it out! : http://beatlesbattle.com/


Revolver won 17 - 6 for me, but i'll be getting to that either Thursday or Friday.

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #56 on: April 26, 2011, 04:38:46 AM »

Rubber Soul won 7-5 for me.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2011, 06:55:55 AM »

RS = 13
Revolver = 9
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glass onion

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2011, 08:12:01 AM »

i have just done the test and revolver came out on top,9-7.which is actualyy closer than i thought it would be.i think the songs on revolver just have the edge on rubber soul,i think revolver is recorded better than rubber soul....but the albums are really kind of equal in my heart.or that is a little fib.......i do prefer rubber soul.but revolver is so good.......if anybody needs to question why the beatles were the best band,put these two albums on for a kick-off.no arguments.
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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Rubber Soul
« Reply #59 on: April 26, 2011, 08:18:25 AM »

One of The Beatles, I believe George or Paul, called the albums Rubber Soul 1 and Rubber Soul 2.
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