But I do think that Sgt. Pepper is consistent and well-written. Your last sentence sounds a bit weird to me, because I also care about song-writing a lot, yet I'd take Pepper anyday over 'Revolver' and 'Rubber Soul'. If you like the songs on the latter more than the ones on Pepper, that's fine and I can't argue with that, but I think the band's main objective in 1967 was still writing strong songs, as opposed to atmospheric pieces or conceptual links (with the sole exception of the Reprise). In fact, I think 'Rubber Soul' is the last Beatles album where the song-writing was still so-so, with tracks like 'Think For Yourself', 'Wait', 'What Goes On' and 'Run For Your Life', which are just average to me.
I think the fact that Pepper has been presented as a concept album for so long now, fools the people into thinking that the songs don't stand if taken on their own or that they wouldn't have made it on a Beatles album if not for the "we can do everything!" concept. Me, I just don't see that. I like each and every one of the songs even if taken on their own (again, bar the Reprise). With albums like 'Tommy' or 'The Wall', yes, the abovementioned complaints are true. But I think Pepper is as consistent as any Beatles album before or after it.
See, I think that Sgt. Pepper's
is very consistent, even more than Rubber Soul
. In my opinion Sgt. Pepper's
actually has no fillers; "When I'm Sixty-Four" is a very good track to me, for example, despite being different from the rest of the album but still nice and somehow it works. On the other hand, I think that Rubber Soul
have some few fillers: "What Goes On", "Wait", "Run For Your Life", "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Doctor Robert", I think they're far from the Beatles' best.
So consistence, in my opinion, is not a problem of Sgt. Pepper's
. The problem is that consistence is not fundamentally given by songwriting but by production. If I imagine the Sgt. Pepper's
songs produced in a simpler way as done in Rubber Soul
, just few songs would have been special in their own way. The melodies in Sgt. Pepper's
are as great as always, but most of the lyrics have nothing interesting to say; I would save the mystic words of "Within You Without You", the psychedelic landscapes of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", the intelligence of "With A Little Help From My Friends" and the non-sense but epic spirit of "A Day In The Life"; but most of the words can't handle a candle to "Norwegian Wood", "Nowhere Man", "In My Life", "Girl", "Eleanor Rigby", "I'm Only Sleeping", "For No One" or "Tomorrow Never Knows", just to name some examples. Sgt. Pepper's
neither gives us immortal ballads such like "Michelle" or "Here, There And Everywhere", even the smart irony of songs like "Drive My Car" or "Taxman" is hard to find in Sgt. Pepper's
. In fact I think that Rubber Soul
are John and Paul's peaks as songwriters, respectively, while Sgt. Pepper's
is probably the peak of George Martin as producer.
At the end of the day, every opinion depends on personal tastes, but trying to be objective I would say that Sgt. Pepper's
charm is superficial, rapidly easy to get, while the other two mentioned albums have a special deep spirit that requires time and several listens in order to touch the listener.