Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Beatles (White Album), Rank #3

In 1968 the Beatles released their eponymous album The Beatles, but it is commonly known as the White Album. It's a double album, contains 30 tracks, and has a running time of 93:35.
For many years I have been a fan of the Beatles. Their songs are everywhere, and everybody knows them. The impact they had on culture and music is unfathomable, and their expansive catalog is truly magnificent. Out of all of the Beatles albums, my favorite is without a doubt the White Album.

One of the joys from the White Album is the large mix and range of song styles available. You have a classic Beatles sound opening the album with "Back in the USSR," but most of the other songs do not resemble the earlier music of the Four. In fact, it seems that each song is in itself its own entity, expressing something independent and surreal. But, somehow, there exists a residue of cohesion. All of these seemingly random songs join together and form a unified album with eclectic tastes and styles.

It's impossible to pick a favorite song from the album, and it seems to vary with mood and season. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" has always been one of my favorite tracks, due to the many changes in tempo and unusual lyrics. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da" is a super fun and brilliant song. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is an instant classic. "Blackbird" is soothing and gentle. "Rocky Racoon" is dark but brilliant. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" and "Helter Skelter" are both loud, raunchy, and fun. "Mother Nature's Son" and "Good Night" can both be lullaby's. There are so many wonderful songs from this album, it's just too tough to pick any one out to recommend.

The only bad song on this album is the penultimate track, "Revolution 9." If it wasn't so long, it wouldn't be so bad. Essentially it's a collage of sounds, blending together for unexplained reasons. I find it atrocious to listen to, and suffering through the eight minutes is almost unbearable. It's too avant-garde, too abstract, for me to like or appreciate, and I can heartily recommend skipping this one.

My wife bought me the newly remastered Beatles White Album three days ago. Since then, I've listened to it three or four times. I think the traditional cd releases of the Beatles catalog are fine to listen to, but once you hear the remastered stuff, your ears start to glow and you get this grin for some reason. All I can say is that if the remastered White Album is indicative of the rest of the remastered catalog, I will be buying me the set over time. Truly amazing.

Whether you're a Beatles fan or not, the White Album is brilliant. The song writing is compelling and thought-provoking, slightly humorous, and well written. The music ranges from extremely simple to mega-complex. This album really showcases the individual band member's talents and offers a treat to anyone who cares to listen. Odds are, you've probably heard some of these songs, and if you're contemplating buying one of the new remastered albums, I recommend this one.


Crystal said...

Good review! This album is a must have for any music collection.

logankstewart said...

Thanks, Crystal, and I completely agree.

David Wagner said...

Wasn't sure which remastered Beatles album to grab first... I think I'll go with the White Album now. Sold!

logankstewart said...

I'd definitely go with the White Album or Abbey Road. Let me know what you think.

Krista said...

Yep, I have this one on my shelf! Awesome post!