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tkitna

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Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« on: April 28, 2011, 03:34:12 PM »

Revolver

Where do I start with this album? In my opinion, the Beatles were at their creative pinnacle here. The studio was becoming their playground. Until recently, I’ve always announced Revolver as my favorite album (SF Sorrow from the Pretty Things holds that distinction now) and I still think its one of the greatest records ever recorded in popular music. I don’t think they have ever topped this one.


Taxman - What an opener. The quiet Beatle got p*ssed off. Its great when George actually has something to say and conveys it through his music. Here, he’s upset about all the money he’s lost to the taxman and the song indicates how he feels. The count in beginning is cool. The bass is powerful and pronounced. Guitar tone is fantastic. Georges voice even carries some urgency as he tells his story. 0:32 love the tambourine, but the studio stopping and starting it back over is pretty abrupt. 0:46 dig the cowbell. 0:55 Pauls bass is incredible. Backgrounds sound great. Pauls raunchy, distorted guitar solo is freaking awesome. The song would have failed without something like that. Its all about the emotion. 1:32 I like how Pauls guitar comes back in. Nice. Great song and its always good seeing the lads working as a team.

Eleanor Rigby - I don’t use the word masterpiece very loosely, but I think this song borders on that line. Maybe I think too highly of it. I don’t know, but I think its one of their best songs ever. Paul doesn’t get much credit as a lyricist and to be honest, he probably shouldn’t. I do think he is capable when he puts his mind to it and this song would be strong proof of it. I think its up there with anything John ever did. Again, maybe I think too highly of it. Anyways, to the review. I was super excited to listen to this song due to the poor production on the initial CD. I figured the remaster would have everything fixed. Nope. At 0:14 the studio screwed up Pauls vocal with a doubletrack that didn’t belong. Its still there. Why? If your going to remaster a Cd, fix the damn mistakes. 0:31 Love Pauls voice when it comes in. Speaking of his voice, it feels as if he’s telling a story instead of actually singing. Cool. What can I say about the strings? Thanks George Martin. Fantastic as usual. When the ‘I look at all the lonely people’ vocals happen, is that Paul tripletracked, doubletracked, the rest of the Beatles? I don’t know, but I like it. 1:48 really dig Pauls background chorus and lead vocals together. Awesome song.

I’m Only Sleeping - Another great song in my opinion. I’ve always loved this one. Really like the opening guitar strum. Johns voice is so good its almost eerie. Bass sounds good as it plods along. Paul and Georges backgrounds are top notch. 0:45 backwards guitar is nice and fits perfectly. Like how Ringo’s crash cymbal takes up space. 1:10 love Ringo’s ride and Pauls bass here. The backwards guitar solo is psychedelic and cool. 1:56 voice in background moaning. 2:00 voice (John I think) in background saying ummm or something like that. Neat. 2:04 Pauls voice coming in with John is awesome. This might have happened earlier too, but I didn’t go back to see. 2:33 somebody starts tapping on something. I’m not sure what it is, but I never noticed that before. Ending is sweet with the sitar sounding guitar. Another strong song.

Love You To - As you all know, I’m not a huge fan of George’s Indian music, but this song actually seems to fit here. I really like the sound sitars make. it’s a cool instrument. 0:58 dig the volume controlled guitar. George’s monotone voice works on this song. I don’t have much else to say except that its an alright song that I don’t go out of my way to hear.

Here, There, and Everywhere - I never used to like this song. Its warmed up to me a little since, but not totally. My buddy, who’s a Beatle freak too, loves it and has tried to justify it to me and so forth. It worked to a degree, but I think my biggest problem with it is that it killed the momentum of the album. We started off with three really strong songs and one that fit the mood and then this song comes in out of nowhere. Oh well. The opening guitar tone doesn’t work for me. Pauls voice actually bothers me here too. I don’t like the higher register he sings with. I don’t even like the sound of Ringo’s toms when he has the small, little fills. 1:03 mark the guitar does sound nice. 1:09 theres a high squelch or Paul swallows before singing or something. Not very noticeable, but its there. The doubletracked voice isn’t very tight throughout the song. 1:54 the doubletracked voice is weird. Paul sings in lower notes against higher notes (best I can explain it) and it doesn’t work. Theres snapping fingers here too at this point. Still on the fence with this song. When I hear it in the context of the album, it doesn’t work. When I hear it by itself, its fine. Weird.

Yellow Submarine - I catch a lot of flack for this song too, being a Beatle fan. I don’t care though, because I know what it is and I like it. it’s a children’s song and it doesn’t pretend to be anything but that. If they were serious about this song, Ringo wouldn’t have sung it. ‘Drive My Car’ takes itself seriously. This song doesn’t. See the difference? Moving on,,,love the acoustic guitar in the beginning with the tambourine. Ringos voice works well enough. The powerful drum sound is welcome. Water noise and background noises throughout are cool. Background vocals are good. 1:05 always liked when the brass band came in. 1:32 love ‘full speed ahead’. 1:50 really like the voice in the background and how he laughs at the end. 2:03 all the voices singing together is cool. 2:05 never heard the big, stand-up bass drum before. Sweet. Nice song that fit’s the album and helps it pick up some steam again.

She said She Said - So Peter Fonda p*ssed John off? See what drugs do to you. First off, I’d like to start by saying that this is one of Ringo’s greatest drumming songs. Its really hard to play correctly and I don’t do it justice. Love the sitar sounding guitar. Johns voice is great and the backgrounds are good too. 0:20 high pitched organ note or something being played. I’m not sure what it is. Bass and rhythm guitar sounds great. I love when John sings ‘When I Was A Boy’. The ending of the song is sweet too. Good song.

Good Day Sunshine - This song switches the momentum of the album too. It doesn’t kill the momentum, it switches the pace. Here we have a happy, trite song that’s infectious and makes me smile. It starts off with a nice piano/drum build up. 0:07 the cymbal lead in from the studio is harsh. Great beat to the song. Love the double tracked drums during the chorus. Piano solo is nice. Pauls voice sounds good as does the backgrounds. 1:18 handclaps come in. 1:26 Johns voice in the background is cool. Ending is nice also. Good song if not a bit too bubbly.

And Your Bird Can Sing - I’ve always liked this tune too. I like the guitar sound. Tambourine sounds good and was needed. Johns voice is sharp as ever. Bass sounds awesome. Love the following guitar solo’s. 0:35 hi hat is double tracked with splashes on top of regular drum beat. Nice. 0:51 Ringo’s delayed cymbal crash makes the song for me. 1:20 background vocals are great. Pauls bass in the ending is nothing short of awesome. I always hear people say this is nothing more than an average song, but I think its solid and a nice rocker.

For No One - I like this song and other people don’t. So be it. Yeah, its Paul doing his thing as usual and its probably not the right song to follow a rocker, but its still not as bad as the sugar coated ’Here, There, and Everywhere’. I like the opening  harpsichord, electric piano sounding instrument. Pauls voice is nice. 0:24 mark the bass comes in and sounds great. Piano throughout is nice. Ringo plays some intricate drums almost in the background during the entire song. Well played. 0:50 love the french horn (think that’s what it is). 1:36 Paul plays an awkward bass line. Like he tries to add too much. Didn’t work for me. Nice song.

Doctor Robert - Here’s a song that I like, but gets demoralized by the majority. I’m not sure why though. Sure it isn’t their best and could be considered filler if filler even exists at this point, but its not awful by any means. Fun is the word I’d most associate with it. How can people not like a little song about the doctor that the lads got their drugs from? Johns voice is great. I love the drum beat and the bass. Guitar tone is good. Maracas are nice. 0:45 really love when Pauls voice comes in. 0:55 great guitar here. 0:58 high organ note during the ‘Well Well Well’s’. Neat. 1:36 dig when they say Bob Robert instead of Dr. Robert. 2:06 like when they yell Doctor Robert. Come on guys. Lighten up on this song. Its decent enough.

I Want To Tell You - Another one of my favorites from George. I love this song. The fade in beginning is great. Paino and tambourine sound good. 0:24 piano notes being played here makes the song. High pitched background vocals work. Like George’s voice throughout. Guitar sounds awesome. 1:11 really like Ringos simple drum fill. Powerful and tasteful. 1:47 handclaps start and gives the impression that they are really into the song. Nice addition. Pauls voice during the ending is sick its so good. Fantastic song.

Got To Get You Into My Life - A breath of fresh air at this point in the album. If any energy was lost along the way, this song picks it up and brings it back. Paul doing a little soul/jazz tune here. Brass beginning is cool. Theres talking in the background faintly. I think it’s a count in, but not sure. Theres a tambourine or a wood block with the little cymbals attached being played throughout. Cool. Bass sounds good. Pauls voice is awesome. 0:33 the remasters brought the drum fill out. Hallelujah! After listening to this song on vinyl for years, the original CD was such a disappointment. The drums were muddled in the background so much, you could barely hear them. At least they fixed that. 1:03 when Paul sings ‘Got To Get You Into My Life‘ I love his voice. Speaking of Pauls voice, the doubletrack throughout is hit and miss. Could have been tighter. 1:44 guitar comes in too early in the background and stops. 1:50 love the rhythm and lead guitar sound. 2:06 when Paul sings ’I was alone I took a ride’,,,that’s just awesome. That’s one of my all time highlights of the Beatles. Great, great song.

Tomorrow Never Knows - Now here’s a song that everybody seems to love way more than I do. Yeah, its largely considered their first psychedelic song and all, but its only alright for me. The drums are powerful and the beat is cool. The constant crash cymbal that fills space is nice. Bass sounds strong. Johns voice is good. 1:08 love the backwards guitar solo. 1:26 I think its really cool how John appears to be singing through a megaphone. Cool effect. 1:50 tambourine comes in out of nowhere. Sweet. Love the saloon piano at the end. Of course all the background noise are neat too. Good song and a building block, but I don’t feel its great.


There it is. My favorite Beatle album. What a record. If Rubber Soul caused musicians and people to take notice that the Beatles were becoming serious musicians, Revolver caused them to scramble and wonder how they could ever hope to keep up. They gave us a sneak peek into their creative process in the studio and they would shortly blow us away with that same process in the upcoming album. This was the beginning when they started to break the boundaries.  
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 04:30:40 PM »

Here, There and Everywhere is probably in my top five all time favourite songs.I just love it. I think beautiful is the perefect word to describe it. The lyrics are just brilliant, Paul's voice great as always, the melody is simple, love the "ooo"-s too. That being said, I agree that it kinda changes the mood of the album, but I really don't care. From the first 10 seconds of "Love You To" I can hardly wait for Here, There and Everywhere (I admit I sometimes skip George's indian tune, too...)

The album is great, probably my favourite Beatle album after "Abbey Road", it definetly changed rock, it started the whole psychedelic thing.

Not really much to say, I used to hate Yellow Submarine, but it's all about them being funny and not taking themselves too seriously, and that's what we all love about them. I pretty much like Good Day Sunshine, but that chorus can really annoy me sometimes.

Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, I'm Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing, For No One, Got To Get You Into My Life and Tomorrow Never Knows are all brilliant songs, one of the best ones in the Beatles catalogue.

Love You To, I Want To Tell You, She Said She Said and Doctor Robert are fine, decent songs and they seem to fit perfectly well in the album.

Great review tkitna and I have to admit I really look forward to "Abbey Road"  :)
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glass onion

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 07:05:41 PM »

right,revolver,the biggie.i have been playing this album for around a week none stop in my car everywhere i drive.awesome,that's all i can say.i have not listened to the album for maybe 2 years,i'd forgotten how good it was.'taxman' has to be the greatest opener on any beatle record.the cough,the 1-2-3-4,excellent.eleanor rigby is great,although i don't rate it as much as other people do,it is a new,new direction for the band.great stuff.'i'm only sleeping' would be filler were it not for john's excellent vocal.john's vocals on revolver were his best for me.'love you to'.....i'm with todd in the way that georges' indian stuff doesn't groove me that much but it's ok.some nice sounds in there,especially the sound similar to a hammer drill...."love me while you can (GGRRRRRRRR)before i'm a dead old man (GGRRRRRRRRRR).'here there and everywhere',just amazing.the three part 'ooohs' are top drawer.'yellow submarine' is ringos' bit and that is cool by me.i don't like the song that much but ringo must have his song,this one is still sung in nursery schools throughout england.'she said she said'has the ultimate guitar sound of any record,period.jimi hendrix eat your heart out,your guitar never sounded as good as georges' does here.filler?no way.ringo is superb here,way better than his playing on 'rain'.'good day sunshine' is magical,'and your bird can sing' is perfectly passable on revolver,there is no fat on the meat on this album.'for no one' is another excellent number.'dr.robert' is one of my guilty pleasures,never heard a band sound as good as this.'i want to tell you',love the clahing piano part and ringos' fills.'got to get you into my life',great use of the sax for the first time on a beatle song?and what's not been said about 'tomorrow never knows'?never been mad about the album sleeve but with a record this good i'm surprised it didn't come from a wizards' sleeve.it takes some topping,does this.did they manage to?the jury is out...................
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 07:06:34 PM »

As Rubber Soul was John's peak as a songwriter, I find Revolver as Paul's peak. However, the most innovative songs in the album were John's ones. So, in my opinion Paul wrote the best songs and John the most interesting sounding ones.

Taxman. Also love this one, I think it's one of the very best Beatles opening tracks, one of their funkiest recordings. John actually helped George with this one, it was slightly co-written. Paul's lead guitar makes the song, probably his best non-bass contribution along with his drumming work in "Dear Prudence".

Eleanor Rigby. As a song, it's the truly highest point of the album. The lyrics are just wonderful, no wonder why John and Paul disputed the main credits of them.

I'm Only Sleeping and She Said She Said are those kind of songs that are heavily improved by the way they were recorded. Love them both.

Love You To. I really like George's Indian songs. I think this is better than "The Inner Light" though not as good as "Within You Without You".

Here, There And Everywhere and For No One are both from Paul's garden. I like them both, they're strong tunes, despite not sounding very special.

Yellow Submarine. I've never had problems digging this one. It's a child-like song, not a childish one. Also love the end with all the voices singing, which are from all Beatles plus several guests, including Brian Jones who made some sound effects. Strangely, the bass drum you heard at the end was apparently played by Mal Evans.

Good Day Sunshine. In my opinion the weakest Paul's song in the album, but it's still good. It was his attempt at doing a Lovin' Spoonful-like tune.

And Your Bird Can Sing and Doctor Robert are fillers for me. They are not bad songs, they are enjoyable, but they don't stand out in terms of songwriting or sound, at least in comparison to the rest of the album.

I Want To Tell You. Never felt this song was so good as others seem to think. It has a great fade in beginning and a great fade out ending, but the rest was nothing special for me.

Got To Get You Into My Life. Always liked this very much, especially the cool end. Maybe because it led to the following song...

Tomorrow Never Knows. This is my favourite song ever for two reasons: the heavy philosophical lyrics and all those weird sounds. I also love the simple melody, but without all those effects it wouldn't be great (see the Anthology version as a contrast). From start to finish this song makes me fly without the need of any drug.


This is my second favourite Beatles album after Rubber Soul. I saw many people felt the same way, having Rubber Soul at first and Revolver at second. However, those who have Revolver at first don't use to have Rubber Soul at second, and I can see why.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 07:20:50 PM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 02:24:03 AM »

When the ‘I look at all the lonely people’ vocals happen, is that Paul tripletracked, doubletracked, the rest of the Beatles? I don’t know, but I like it.


It's Paul plus John and George, though it's barely noticiable. I think those vocals are better heard in the "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" remix.

Eleanor Rigby (Yellow Submarine)
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 06:00:14 AM »

Here, There, and Everywhere - This is another one of my favorite Paul McCartney love songs.  I like Paul's multi-tracked solo vocals and I especially like that harmony near the end:  "Love never dies, watching her eyes."  That knocks me out every time I hear it.  I like Paul's intro too.  You just know a great song is to follow.  This is my favorite song on Revolver.

For No One - Paul is having trouble with Jane Asher again.  And she's the muse for this sad song.  As distressing as it is, it's my second favorite song on this album being the perfect counterpoint to Here, There and Everywhere.  Alan Civil's French horn solo adds just the right touch.
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Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 10:25:26 PM »

REvolver is actually my 3rd favourite Beatle album, I absolutely love Pauls songs on here, they are extremely good, all of them, Whereas John was superb on Rubber Soul I think Paul was bang on form here and John had much weaker songs IMO.
HT&E IMO is one of THE best Beatle songs, I think Im right in saying that John loved it too. There isnt one Paul song on here that I dont think is high standard.....for me, this is where Paul took over as sort of leader of the band and most albums after this were either Pauls idea or he was the driving force, I honestly think that Johns days as leader (and major talent) in the band were over.
I actually think the guitar solo on Taxman (by Paul) is better than anything George had laid down to date

I know John gets loads of credit for TNK but Ive never liked it, I think its a poor song backed by a load of silly noises, (I know that wont go down well but Im not gonna start not saying how I feel on this thread), It did of course get a lot of credit for its innovations and included such groundbreaking techniques as reverse guitar, processed vocals and looped tape effects.
I think Johns best song on here is She Said She Said.

Overall though a great great album, Revolver stands at the summit of western pop music, partly by virtue of its centrality to the musical revolution of the '60s, and partly because most of its songs have endured as well as any ever written.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 10:34:54 PM »

HT&E IMO is one of THE best Beatle songs, I think Im right in saying that John loved it too.

JOHN (1972): "This was a great one of his."


JOHN (1980): "That's Paul's song completely, I believe. And one of my favorite songs of the Beatles."
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2011, 01:36:45 AM »

I know John gets loads of credit for TNK but Ive never liked it, I think its a poor song backed by a load of silly noises, (I know that wont go down well but Im not gonna start not saying how I feel on this thread),

I feel the same way. You described it perfectly. Its a one chord song with a drum loop and noises everywhere. Big deal.

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 01:57:59 AM »

^

Tomorrow Never Knows is not one of my favorites on Revolver.  Indeed it's my least favorite for the same reasons you and nimrod gave.  But credit can be given this song for novel studio recording experimentation.

A one-chord song can, however, be enjoyable...

Coconut - Harry Nilsson


 ;)
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 02:31:25 AM »

"Tomorrow Never Knows" would never have been a hit. In fact, I didn't like it at all the first time I heard it. But it slowly became my very favourite song; it's so weird, so different to everything, and still fun. The lyrics are also among my very favourites ever. From the sitar in the beginning to the piano at the end, surounded by all those random noises that could not be repeated, it's the definitive psychedelic song.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 10:27:54 PM »

Revolver represents the biggest leap into the unknown that The Beatles ever undertook. The gulf between it and Rubber Soul is larger for me than that between any other consecutive albums they released. But was it a leap forwards? To me, it was a diagonal jump into unchartered, experimental territory: the result was perhaps their most fascinating, curious, daring – and yet, to my mind, over praised – collection of recordings.  As stepping stones go it is a stupendously impressive piece of work. But as I said on the Rubber Soul thread, it disjointedly pulls in different directions, explores and then retreats from tantalising open doors, and lacks the coherent, thematic feel of the albums which preceded and followed it. A real curate’s egg in my opinion.

Taxman was a splendidly spiky opener. I always feel that the count in is a sly nod back to their debut LP’s opening...a hint that we are about to experience a sort of rebirth for the group. And so it proves. George’s biting lyrics and wonderfully sour vocal bemoaning the exorbitant income tax levels in the UK at the time encompass a sarcastic sideswipe at leading politicians, complemented by terrific harmonies from John and Paul and with a truly jaw dropping lead guitar solo from McCartney. Add to that John’s rhythmic influence and some exemplary dovetailing between Paul’s bass and Ringo’s wonderfully stuttering drumbeat pulse (and the pleasingly continued presence of the tambourine, which had been used to such wonderful effect throughout Rubber Soul) and the result is perhaps more of an ensemble effort than is sometimes acknowledged, although composer George rightly takes the main credit for the impact of this crackling track.

Eleanor Rigby is justifiably lauded as a Beatles standard in my opinion. Paul’s forte – inventing characters and then colouring intriguing little chapters of their lives within the format of a song – was never better realised than here, with its disturbing (almost creepy) references to faces in jars, unheeded priests and a doom (spiritual or otherwise) from which no one was saved...this was impressively mature social commentary with a cutting edge, saved from morbidity by a lyrical conscience and wrapping the potent message of loneliness and abandonment in a fragile, frosty blanket of orchestral strings... once again the influence of George Martin elevates a great song into a true classic. The lyrics are sublime (easy to forget that McCartney was just 23 years old when he wrote this!)... Paul embraces their grim fatalism with a masterly vocal performance and the overlapping refrain at the finale was a masterstroke.

I’m Only Sleeping - a shiveringly somnolent double tracked vocal triumph from John, embellished with George’s dreamily slurred backwards guitar parts, a hypnotic, sleepwalking drum and hushed cymbals by Ringo and a wonderfully drowsy, tip-toe bass line from Paul; all in all one of the album’s stronger and most distinctive tracks. This song has an almost fairytale quality and casts a sonic web from which I always find it impossible to escape. An altogether enchanting piece of brilliance and a strong contender for my personal favourite Revolver track, although I’ve never been completely happy with the jumbled, varispeed, Indian flavoured fade out.
 
Love You To – love you to what? Always puzzled me that! I’m not a big fan of Harrison’s Indian music but his dour vocal succeeds in threading its way deftly through some rather hypnotic tabla and sitar, providing a curiously spellbinding drone around which a truly absorbing tapestry of Eastern sound develops. There are some intriguing shifts in tempo but I find this track rather weak in comparison to the three previous numbers. Commendable in introducing us to his new fascination with Eastern mysticism – and featuring some fairly profound lyrics (a sort of spiritual ‘Think For Yourself’) this track leads us off on a tangent. Not bad but not great.

Here There And Everywhere – yes it’s beautiful – gorgeous in fact - and a finer example of combined three part vocal harmonies is hard to find amongst the Beatles’ catalogue. Love the quiet little finger clicks. Paul succeeds in delivering a charming lead vocal albeit for my taste a little too near the top end of his impressive range.  It never does get cloying but it strays a little too close for comfort here and there (but not everywhere! ;)). Once again I feel I am being led off in another direction (it does rather slow the momentum as tkitna says) and the cleverly spun threads of the three powerful opening tracks are being dissolved and unwound. This lovely song (yes, John adored it.. and I have also read that Paul himself claimed it as his own favourite from his formidable canon of work) would have been so much more at home on Rubber Soul (or would the sugary overload have been a little too much alongside ‘Michelle’ and ‘Girl’?)... it always feels a bit misplaced and too conventional for this outrageously experimental album.The volume pedal guitar tone at the end rounds it off nicely.
 
Yellow Submarine – the obligatory SingalongaRingo number had to be slotted in somewhere but sandwiched between a fragile, romantic McCartney lullaby and a blistering slice of Lennon psychedelia, the bumpy rollercoaster of Revolver side one is almost derailed by this jaunty children’s anthem. It’s The Beatles, so I won’t knock it...but it sits uncomfortably amidst the polished and cutting edge bedfellows of this eyebrow raising LP. The nautical sound effects – crashing waves, jangling chains, bubbled water, various bells and hooters, plus John’s zany Pythonesque vocal echo on the last verse conjure up a mild, temporary distraction from that eventually grating, repetitive chorus.  It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a kids’ song, and only Ringo could get away with it I suppose. I’m still fed up with it though.

She Said She Said – a real tour de force and a superb climax to side one of the album. Ringo’s drumming is awesome on this one – did he ever better it? Lennon’s acid soaked paranoia manifests in a spectacular, soaring vocal against some quite breathtaking lead guitar playing from George, whose harmony vocal lends real texture to the song and perfectly complements John’s lead. A whirligig of jangling guitars, thunderous drums, and lyrics which grapple with profound concepts of fear and mortality combine to deliver us one of the very best tracks from Revolver.

Good Day Sunshine – The Beatles could no longer be accused of dishing up “filler” material any more – even ‘Yellow Submarine’ was consciously rolled out as light relief, a deliberate nod and a wink towards puncturing the growing profundity – and yet ‘Good Day Sunshine’ ranks alongside the Ringo track as the weakest song on the album for my money. I get irritated at those who disparage the so called simplicity of the early radio-friendly, catchy love songs of The Beatles (‘She Loves You’ was a pop masterpiece, and I defy anyone to say otherwise) but by the time of Revolver we really expected more than “I love her and she’s loving me” and “I’m in love and it’s a sunny day”. Lyrically embarrassing it fails to be redeemed by a catchy tune – instead we have a plodding, plink-plonk piano, a bland vocal and a very very irritating chorus. Its inclusion severely dents the credibility of Paul’s overall contribution to the album in my opinion. This – even more than 'Here There And Everywhere' – is what signals McCartney’s reluctance to launch headlong into the refreshingly adventurous soundscapes opening up in the studio. John’s self absorbed yet charismatic “up yours” streak which increasingly prompted him - irrespective of mainstream popular tastes - to dabble with things which pleased and fascinated him rather than his fans (thereby paradoxically attracting legions of admirers, George Harrison among them) was counterbalanced by Paul’s more cautious and pragmatic work ethic and a need to be loved (he’s always underrated himself and tried too hard to please, in my opinion). The man capable of sublime brilliance like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ could do so much better than ‘Good Day Sunshine’.

And Your Bird Can Sing – fascinating how some people regarded this one as filler (including John himself by all accounts). For me it could easily be held up as the quintessential track on the album – not the best track, but the one which most succinctly distils the overall flavour of the LP. When I think of “Revolver” this is usually the song that first springs to mind. Why? Well, it has those densely intricate jangling guitars which are a trademark of (Lennon’s cuts on) this album, and indeed are the most overridingly memorable sound signature of Revolver. A lovely tune (if we can agree that Paul is an underrated lyricist -and I still believe he is, despite my dislike of the previous track) then John was always capable of melodies the equal of anything Paul could offer. There is a beautiful lilt to this song, (actually more evident in the earlier takes from Anthology and elsewhere) and John’s vocal, together with Paul’s harmony, are superb as usual. The lyrics are suitably oblique but I love the way John knowingly sings “You don’t ‘get’ [as in ‘understand’] meeeeee” – quite brilliant. Another fairly ambiguous ending, the tune kind of fizzles out at the finish.

For No One – I will admit to being fairly ambivalent towards this track. The French Horn solo really boosts it and adds real poignancy and depth. And the song pinpoints the forlorn hopelessness of a dead relationship with almost painful precision. The trouble is it does its job too well... lacking the torment and anguish of other songs which chronicle broken relationships (notably ‘Ticket To Ride’) the song itself has an appropriately hollow, loveless feel to it and is just too numb, cold and empty to engage me. Hard to put my finger on, but I suppose it treads too fine a line between being a haunting elegy...and a miserable dirge. It doesn't really fail, yet it never quite triumphs either. It’s no more despondent than ‘Eleanor Rigby’ yet it lacks that song’s compassion. Once again, the song concludes hanging in mid-air...becoming something of a trademark on Revolver and indicative of the album’s curious habit of leaving doors ajar and hinting at what might lie beyond....

Doctor Robert – I am mystified as to why this one appears to be so unpopular with so many of you. Apart from on this forum I have never encountered anything but praise for it. Once again it combines Revolver's calling card vibrant guitar and gliding lead vocal (I’m less keen on Paul’s high offbeat harmonies here). Love the way the “Well well well...” interlude snaps back into the main theme - an infectiously funky rhythm which for me means it can confidently hold its own alongside any of the other Lennon tracks on Revolver.

I Want To Tell You – George returns for a hitherto unprecedented third outing on a Beatles LP. It’s a celebration of enlightenment (similar to ‘The Word’) successfully conveying the frustration of the quiet Beatle who actually had a lot to say. His rapidly expanding consciousness struggled to keep pace with and digest the accelerating cascade of influences and inspirations now coming through thick and fast...and about to take George to new horizons towards which the other Beatles would follow him with varying degrees of enthusiasm. It’s no classic but it’s a decent track, lyrically intriguing. I do like the way it fades in. It’s better than ‘Love You To’ but not up there with ‘Taxman’ for me. Again I’m not keen on Paul’s deviant vocal harmony at the end, and the piano jars somewhat.

Got To Get You Into My Life – Macca meets Motown...and Paul is confidently back at the top of his game. A superb slab of gutsy soul music, complete with blistering brass and killer sax, this has to be one of the LP’s highlights and aside from the double A sided single, is probably the most familiar and widely covered track on the album. It’s a barnstorming performance by Paul with a thrilling vocal which builds over a tautly mounting verse before erupting into a booming chorus. One of the coolest tracks the Beatles ever recorded.

Tomorrow Never Knows – Although it commits the cardinal sin (for a Beatles' number) of failing to be instantly addictive on first hearing, I can’t dispute that, in terms of breaking new ground and opening up new vistas this track is remarkable.  Ringo’s hypnotic, booming war drum and those quite spectacular tape loops (all four Beatles contributed them) with the mellotron set as a flute and that flock of alien seagulls wheeling back and forth... it's pretty breathtaking when you stick the headphones on and close your eyes. I never regard it as a song... nor a tune... more of a chant, and thanks to John's vision, the improvisational brilliance of George Martin and the application of studio wizardry with compression, masses of echo and automatic double tracking we are left with an undeniably astonishing “soundscape”...

And yet...

In its own way, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is as overrated as ‘Yesterday’ in my opinion. No other Beatles recording attracts more pretentious “Emperor’s Clothes” style overblown bullsh*t and blinkered praise than this one. Even its position as closing track on the album is reverentially held up (in hushed awe) as “pointing the way” to the future. In fact it was a bored, drug-addled Lennon’s LSD drenched attempt to set Timothy Leary and the Tibetan Book Of the Dead to music, and peered over the edge of oblivion (remember its working title was ‘The Void’) before thankfully retreating and not going back there. Very "different" I will admit. But noisy, at times monotonous... and I dislike John’s over amplified yet annoyingly muffled vocal. The Spike Milligan type piano fade out was a suitably confused ending to an album which never really decided exactly where it was going.

1966 was a curious, schizophrenic year for The Beatles. They were still topping the charts whilst some radio stations banned and burned their records. The crowds still screamed yet the tours were becoming shambolic. On the one hand they were still trotting around the world on tour, singing old chestnuts like ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, ‘Long Tall Sally’ and ‘I Feel Fine’ in matching stage suits and delivering cheeky sound bites at witty press conferences, or miming to their latest number one hit on ‘Top Of The Pops’. On the other hand they were taking LSD and holed up in the studio recording backwards tape loops and concocting futuristic sonic masterpieces about death, politics and mystical philosophy with violinists and Indian musicians. Like their year, Revolver itself was an equally unsettling chimera... a patchwork quilt where sentimental ballads and goofy singalongs rubbed shoulders with echo-laden drug references, tablas and droning sitars... a real mixed bag if ever there was one. Things were evolving apace and something really would have to give.


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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 10:29:07 PM »

Eleanor Rigby - I think Sir George Martin deserves credit for the beautiful double string quartet arrangement for this song.  Paul's lead vocal with John's help with harmony are equally as nice.  I liked this song very much when I first heard it, realizing that The Beatles were experimening with many genres of music.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 11:05:18 PM »


Doctor Robert - 1:36 dig when they say Bob Robert instead of Dr. Robert.
 

I always thought it was "Doc" Robert they were singing there, not "Bob" ??
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2011, 11:28:36 PM »

'love you to'.....i'm with todd in the way that georges' indian stuff doesn't groove me that much but it's ok.some nice sounds in there,especially the sound similar to a hammer drill...."love me while you can (GGRRRRRRRR)before i'm a dead old man (GGRRRRRRRRRR).

Wow... so that's what George is singing...I never did know what that follow up line said... I always used to sing it in my head as:
"Love me while you can...
Love our fellow man..."

I knew it was wrong but I never knew the correct words until now, thanks glass onion!  :)

As a matter of fact I was always a bit vague about some of the other lyrics to this song.

I also always thought that George was singing "Wake up.." where I now realise that he is in fact singing "Make love.." ("Make love all day long, Make love singing songs"

After all these years George...

"I Heed You"  ;D
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2011, 11:54:31 PM »

I always thought it was "Doc" Robert they were singing there, not "Bob" ??

Your probably right. I never paid enough attention. Either way its cool.

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2011, 12:09:39 AM »

I always thought it was "Doc" Robert they were singing there, not "Bob" ??

I don't know.  I hear Doctor Robert there.  They appear to rush the second syllable.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2011, 12:16:42 AM »

I don't know.  I hear Doctor Robert there.  They appear to rush the second syllable.

Thats possible. I looked up a bunch of lyric pages for the song and they all have Dr. Robert throughout.

They do it again a little later in the song too, somewhere in the ending if I remember right.

tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2011, 12:18:14 AM »

One thing I forgot to mention, but need to say is that the Anthology version of 'And Your Bird Can Sing', when they are all tripping and laughing their asses off, is priceless.

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Revolver
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2011, 12:20:39 AM »

The mono version is a bit clearer.  Give it a listen, tkitna...

THE BEATLES Remasters! /// 11. Dr. Robert - (REVOLVER) - (MONO Remastered 2009)
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