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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine  (Read 2799 times)

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tkitna

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Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« on: July 08, 2011, 03:16:42 PM »

Yellow Submarine


The soundtrack to the animated children’s movie. Upon listening to Yellow Submarine, I realized a few things. The first thing would be that I lucked out and really only had to review a few songs since the entire second side is nothing more than George Martins classical pieces. I admit to enjoying those pieces though, but in no way, shape, or form was I going to review each one of them. The second thing I realized is that unless children take acid, I’m not sure how they would enjoy these new Beatle songs. Hardly kid friendly I would think.


Yellow Submarine - Childrens song that I seem to like more than most people. Ringo sings it, nuff said. If anybody wants a longer review, they can revisit the Revolver album review on this same page.

Only A Northern Song - I’ve always liked this song, but I have to admit it might be due to the lack of me hearing it very often. When I was listening to it today, I caught myself thinking that if this song were on any kind of compilation, I’d probably skip it. Moving on, I like the organ beginning and when Ringo comes in, his drums sound amazing. I would have to listen to my original CD, but I think the remaster has a lot to do with this. The bass drives throughout the entire song and Paul does some amazing things with it as usual. Sounds good. Georges voice is kind of monotone throughout the song, but I like it and I think it really fits with the emotion of the tune. 0:21 horns come on and sound great. 1:13 orchestra starts playing in the background and is a cool effect. 2:08 the trumpet coming in here is probably my favorite part for some reason. 2:48 timpani drums sound huge here. There’s a lot of things going on in this song and after awhile it feels like you dropped a plate of food on the ground and scraped it back up into a big pile. The pile is this song.

All Together Now - This is not a good song. I really don’t think it was intended to be though. This is the one song the kids probably can relate to with the simplistic lyrics and the catchy tempo. The lads just seem to be having fun if nothing else. Nothing serious here. Acoustic intro is ok, but boring. The counting and saying the ABC’s with the lyrics makes me wonder if Paul wrote this is 2 minutes or so, but he had a habit of doing stuff like this when he couldn’t think of anything to say (Driving Rain anyone?). 0:29 the Bum Bum Bum background vocals are horrible, but Johns voice sounds so awesome that I find myself forgiving them. 0:39 everybody joins in while singing and sounds fun like a pub setting. Ringo’s drumming is decent enough. 0:53 theres a bell in the background when Paul comes in singing. I never heard that before. Bass sounds good. 1:11 think its hysterical and I laugh every time here when this horn part is played. It sounds like the guy playing it is too drunk and just cant muster the effort. Its horrible in a good way. The tempo increase during the ending is good and I like it. Overall this song isn’t good, but I love to hear it when I’m drunk as a skunk. Fun.

Hey Bulldog - Love this song and if it doesn’t hit my top 5 Beatle songs, its definitely top 10. The piano beginning is great and when Ringo joins in with the toms, its pure awesome. The electric guitar tone is fantastic. Dirty and grungy. Bass is terrific. One of Pauls greatest songs for his bass playing in my opinion. Johns voice sounds wonderful here too. The background vocals don’t sound great though. Ok, but nothing more. Speaking of Johns voice though, at the 0:52 mark when he comes in with the ‘You Can Talk To Me’ bit, his voice has never sounded better. Awesome. During that period also, the loud snare beats are sweet and really emphasize the part. 1:13 one of my favorite Beatle guitar solo’s. John does a simple yet fitting solo that doesn’t score high on the technical scale, but overwhelms with what the song calls for. 2:09 they start barking and saying silly stuff in the background. 2:45 madness ensues. A fun, well played song that I can see kids finding enjoyment out of. I know I do.

Its All Too Much - If kids enjoyed Hey Bulldog and sang along to All Together Now, they hid under the bed when hearing this. Its just not child like in any way. I love the Hendrix style guitar opening. 0:16 the organ sounds great. 0:25 Ringo comes in and sounds fantastic. The constant percussion, handclap, cowbell repeating beat annoys the crap out of me. I’d love to hear this song without that once to see what it would be like. 1:03 like Georges voice a lot when he comes in here. 1:07 the doubletracked backgrounds are nice too. 1:15 tambourine comes in out of nowhere and sounds amazing. Just was thinking while listening to the song that  I cant help but to feel more of Georges Indian influence here. Maybe its me.  1:42 guitar in the background is great. Love that part. Bass is solid throughout, but that’s no surprise. 2:13 some instrument comes in that sounds something like a fuzz bass. Not sure what it is, but its cool sounding. 2:30 brass comes in. Nice. Ringo really rocks through this entire song. The ending is pretty neat with how they keep repeating ‘Too Much’. Like how Pauls voice comes through there. Overall the song kind of grates on me. Its way too long. They could have cut it in half and it would have had a better effect in my opinion. After all, they repeat ‘Too Much’ and I have to agree with them.

All You Need Is Love - Well, they were still pimping this song it seems and its no better here than it was as a single or on MMT. I hate it and if you need a longer review you can read the Magical Mystery Tour section on this page.


A closing thought, if ‘Hey Bulldog’ wasn’t on this CD, I seriously doubt it would ever come out of the case. Its just not a very good package. A couple repeat tunes, a couple George songs that are not very good, a throw away from Paul, and a silly song from John that’s way better than it should be. Add that onto an entire side of classical music and we have a record with DUD written all over it.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 03:21:40 AM »

The only original Beatles album that I could live without. "Hey Bulldog" is very good, all right, and I've always liked "Only A Northern Song" and "All Together Now", but that's not enough.
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stevie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 06:46:46 AM »

Yeah, 'Bulldog' is one of the Beatle's best songs. It shows their immediacy in the studio - they were filming a clip for 'Lady Madonna' and had some studio time. John pulled out some words and a riff and they virtually wrote it there and then.
Amusingly, the vid for LM for years was , unknowingly the vison of them singing HB!!

My kids love this song, I love this song... at the 1.22 mark, during the solo, everything magical about the boys seems to gel for me. Paul's bass is awesome, I love watching people doing their versions on youtube.

Finally, I would love the Red Hot Chili Peppers to do a version of this - it has that funky feel they thrive on
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 10:20:13 AM »

Amusingly, the vid for LM for years was , unknowingly the vison of them singing HB!!

I did not know this. Cool.

Quote
Finally, I would love the Red Hot Chili Peppers to do a version of this - it has that funky feel they thrive on

Hmmm, interesting. I would also like to hear a RHCP cover now that you mention it.

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 03:09:52 PM »

The initial riff of "Hey Bulldog" is slightly similar to the Kinks' "You're Lookin' Fine".

The Kinks - You're Lookin' Fine
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Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 11:34:36 PM »

Not really a Beatles album IMO, just something thrown together to go with the cartoon, Hey Bulldog is the only song of any note besides the singles the others are terrible imo, I mean I get what they were doing in terms of songs for kids but what the hell are George's dirges doing on there ?
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 12:00:35 AM »

I mean I get what they were doing in terms of songs for kids but what the hell are George's dirges doing on there ?

I agree. I mean, he could have toned it down a little considering the subject matter, but he went full tilt and threw two over the top, psychedelic tunes on there. Oh well.

Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 08:27:30 AM »

I agree. I mean, he could have toned it down a little considering the subject matter, but he went full tilt and threw two over the top, psychedelic tunes on there. Oh well.

Only A Northern Song was not written for Yellow Submarine, but was already recorded during the Sgt Pepper sessions. Nothing more than a left over. Something similar goes for All Together Now, recorded in June 1967 if I'm not mistaken. That leaves us with Hey Bulldog and It's All Too Much to be written especially for the film, but I tend to even doubt that. They just had a look what songs were lying around and could be put in the film. This isn't an album at all, in fact. It's two repeats, two leftovers and two new songs. Hey Bulldog is the only one that is worth listening to. It's All Too Much and Northern Songs are the last two Beatles songs I managed to get a listen to. It didn't add much.
It was an easy way to get an album out and earn some money. The cd is still in the cellophane plastic in the remasters set box. If they didn't need to get an album out with the film, they had better put out an EP (Lady Madonna, The Inner Light, Hey Bulldog, It's All Too Much) or postpone the songs used on the MMT EP and make a proper album with the songs from late 1967/early 1968.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 08:31:35 AM by Bobber »
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peterbell1

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 09:20:53 AM »

The initial riff of "Hey Bulldog" is slightly similar to the Kinks' "You're Lookin' Fine".

The Kinks - You're Lookin' Fine


I'd never heard that Kinks song before - it is VERY similar to the Hey Bulldog riff.
We'll never know if John lifted it, or it was just a coincidence.

Yellow Sub was actually one of the first Beatles albums I ever heard - I think an aunt bought me the 62-66 compilation and YS second-hand from a neighbour when I was around 9 years old.

It was a while before I got any more Beatles records, so I used to play YS a lot - including the George Martin side. There's some lovely music on Side 2. And it all made sense when I finally saw the film on TV a couple of years later. But even without knowing the film, and even at an early age, I could tell that the songs on side 2 were telling a story - the happy start, the menacing bits in the middle (with a bit of humour thrown in) and the triumphant big finale. You listen to Sea of Monsters and you can imagine a sea full of monsters! My little brother used to cry when he heard the Meanies song, so it works as a dark piece of music.
Songs like Pepperland and the Meanies one are great. I remember one with the intro that sounds like Within You Without You (just had a listen to Side 2 and it is Sea of Time). The songs flow from one to another so I always listen to Side 2 as a whole - like one long song, and it really works like that.

I must admit to not having played it all the way through for years, but I can honestly say that there is not a song on the entire album that I dislike (counting Side 2 as one song). Yellow Submarine is probably my least favourite song on the whole two sides, and for some reason I don't mind hearing it in the context of this album, but it always really annoys me to hear it plonked in the middle of all those classic tunes on Revolver or on the "1" CD.

It's All Too Much is one of my favourite Beatles tunes ever. I love it - I don't understand when people say it goes on too long. It could never be "too much" for me. I like the way that the drums go out of sync in the end section - I thought it was cool that they kept it in. Ringo comes out of a fill and is hitting the snare on beats 1 and 3 rather than 2 and 4 - I'm not a drummer, but it's something like that. He does pick it up again quite soon, but I always thought that the handclaps and cowbells are there to try to disguise just that one bit (around 4'30), but I think that whole heavy percussive thing really adds to the song.

Hey Bulldog is an undoubted classic - I love the bass especially, and John's voice is fantastic as well.

All Together Now is a childlike song - I liked it as a kid and I still like it now.

Only a Northern Song was never one of my favourites when I was younger but it has grown on me over the years. George is deliberately writing a gloomy song - it's full of his dark humour and it works for me because of that.

I tend to play the Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD now rather than the original album, but having just listened to George Martin's Side 2 Pepperland suite, I think I will have to dig that original version out a little more often as I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 09:22:48 AM by peterbell1 »
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stevie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 01:46:13 PM »

Just reminded of what Noel Gallagher said about All Together Now once - he bagged Ian MacDonalds dismissive entry of it, in 'Revolution In The Head'(think that was the title).

Noel said when you have 40,000 football fans singing ATN on the terraces then to him it means that song is great.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 02:13:14 PM »

I'd never heard that Kinks song before - it is VERY similar to the Hey Bulldog riff.
We'll never know if John lifted it, or it was just a coincidence.

That's what happens with many riffs, they sound similar to others. Ask Led Zeppelin. ;)
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2011, 02:17:01 PM »

If they didn't need to get an album out with the film, they had better put out an EP (Lady Madonna, The Inner Light, Hey Bulldog, It's All Too Much) or postpone the songs used on the MMT EP and make a proper album with the songs from late 1967/early 1968.

Actually before the release of the Yellow Submarine album they thought about releasing the four new songs plus "Across The Universe" as an EP, but they changed their minds. I remember reading George naming this album as an awful record.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2011, 11:42:03 PM »

I promise "Let Itr Be" will be up tomorrow.

Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 11:35:15 PM »

Forget Magical Mystery Tour, if ever an EP was masquerading as an album it is Yellow Submarine. Leaving aside the whole of side two and ignoring the singalong anthems which bookend side one (and which had already enjoyed their turns in the spotlight via previous releases) we are basically left with four tracks. Of these, only John's Hey Bulldog truly stands out, and even then - much as I love it - I wonder if it would attract so much praise had it been just another jewel studding The White Album. Rubbing shoulders with weak throwaway nonsense like All Together Now or overblown reject material such as It's All Too Much helps to throw Lennon's track into sharp relief and hold it up in a much better light. I will confess to a guilty pleasure in George's wonderfully mordant Only A Northern Song but the whole offering is a pretty thin affair overall, compounded by the knowledge that The Beatles themselves really wanted nothing to do with this and were simply going through the motions to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation.
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Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 11:45:50 PM »

^^
good post Mr Mustard - I agree
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2011, 01:36:23 AM »

Yeah, good post, especially the bit about 'Hey Bulldog'. Sure its one of my favorites, but I was just thinking that if it was on an album like 'Revolver', it would probably be just another song. It cant help but to shine on Yellow Submarine. I like it regardless.

Was also thinking how I would listen to George Martins classical side when I was typing up term papers and smoking cigarettes by the carton in college. Good times.

Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Yellow Submarine
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2011, 11:16:11 PM »

That's what happens with many riffs, they sound similar to others. Ask Led Zeppelin. ;)

I think he swiped it , but then again who did the Kinks swipe it off ? probably John Mayall who swipped it off a black blues singer  ha2ha
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