"Rubber Soul" usually ranks among the highest acclaimed Beatles' albums. The honor is just, for the album's texture and sounds are accomplished, and the words and music are mature and magnificent. Notably, the glorious three-part harmonies are the best of any of their albums.
Even if it is a collaborative success, each of the Beatles came unto his own, so it makes sense to break the album down by each contributor. McCartney created two great classics, one is hard-rock with a fun story, "Drive My Car," and the other is a polished ballad, "Michelle". His lesser known songs are also substantial, including "You Won't See Me" and "I'm Looking Through You". Lennon easily outdoes himself, feeling free to break away from the formula of success. "Nowhere Man," "Girl," and "Norwegian Wood," are all literate and musically intricate. Each song tells a story with the economy of words that have made the Beatles legendary. Another contribution, "In My Life," is one of the most spare and articulate love songs The Beatles ever created. Similarly, on "The Word" John, the evangelist, delivers a memorable philosophic, rendering the bottom line of all religions. Both John and Paul collaborate on "Wait," one of the best unknown treasures on the album. George managed to get his voice in edgewise. The variety of guitar patterns he brings to the album is masterful, but he wrote some fine songs himself. "If I Needed Someone" and "Think for Yourself" would have found George at the same level as John and Paul if he'd have written them one album earlier. Nevertheless, his songwriting is merely excellent this time around. Even Ringo has his first contribution with another country-rock song, "What Goes On," co-written with John and Paul (creditied for Richard Starkey, his real name). The finesse of "Rubber Soul"'s music and lyrics is striking.
(Thankfully, the first C.D. versions of the Beatles' albums are from the British catalog. Their American company, Capitol, did a cut and paste on every album up to 'Sgt. Pepper'. If you are sentimental for the American albums and the memories they elicit, buy the recent Capitol collection. Otherwise, the British collection has their music the way it was originally intended. The British 'Rubber Soul' is more balanced than the American counterpart.)
At the time, their best record since their debut. Now: one of the peaks of rock music. There's never a dull moment--even the throwaway tongue-in-cheek ballad "Michelle" amuses. The high points go beyond the classics, into pieces like Lennon's irresistibly groovy "The Word" (his first foray into abstract politics) or McCartney's sharp "I'm Looking Through You." The boys had matured, and their ambitions were rising to aim for levels no one could imagine; today, after the likes of "Sgt. Pepper," "Revolver," … more
This is a quality Beatles CD. It is clearly one of their top five recordings to buy. Michelle, Girl, Think For Yourself, Norwegian Wood, and Run For Your Life are all stand out tunes. I personally prefer the White Album, Abbey Road, and Help before this. But nonetheless, I say its high quality all the way.Let me make a few comments about the Agitated Reviewers clearly miguided review. The Beatles came well before Oasis. So how could the Beatles have ripped off Oasis? This Agitated Reviewer needs … more
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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Rank 'em how you like,Rubber Soulis an undeniable pivot point in the Fab Four's varied discography no matter where, or how, you first heard it. The album was softened up in its original 12-song American edition to jibe with the Dylan/Byrds folk-rock sound, as well as squeeze money from the Parlophone catalog. The 14-song U.K. edition--the version now available on compact disc--is a different, more dynamic, and ultimately more accomplished achievement. So many classics: "Drive My Car" and "Nowhere Man" (both omitted from the U.S. edition) merge the early combustible Beatifics to a burgeoning studio consciousness; "The Word" can be read as a pre-psych warning shot; the sitar-laden "Norwegian Wood" and the evocative "Girl" (the latter written on the last night of the sessions) stand as turning points in John Lennon's oeuvre. George finally emerges too, with the McGuinn-ish "If I Needed Someone."--Don Harrison