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Second Listen: The Beatles – Revolver

Revolver is often cited as the greatest album of all time, but there's a fine line between pushing boundaries and white noise

Andrew Burnes, Editor

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****1/2

Following The Beatles first forray into the beyond (Rubber Soul), Revolver seeked to top it in every way possible. To many, it succeeded; often Revolver is cited as The Beatles’ best work, and therefore the greatest album ever made. Purists know that such an idea is impossible due to “Yellow Submarine”‘s unfortunate inclusion on the record. But even when that unappealing rubbish is stripped aside (no offense, Ringo), Revolver still can’t quite stand the test of scrutiny 50 years later as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. That isn’t to say it isn’t fantastic; George Harrison’s ripping, yet spacey solos threaten to steal the show from McCartney and Lennon at their peak and the lush, multi-instrument-laden production retains a sense of freshness better than those “as seen on tv” suction bags. The range of emotion on the album is startlingly diverse from joy (“She Said She Said”) to loneliness (the overrated but still classic “Eleanor Rigby”) to tongue-in-cheek anger (the underrated and still classic “Taxman”) to despair (“For No One”). But for every magical moment, there’s an equally disappointing foray into Indian fluff (“Love You to”) or Zeppelin-esque over workings on almost-masterpieces (“She Said She Said” and “Good Day Sunshine”). Meanwhile stellar tracks like “Doctor Robert” and “I Want to Tell You” are far from poor, but are equally far from any sort of “Greatest album ever” standard. As they began the process of attempting to push the boundaries of what could be done within the confines of an LP, The Beatles proved that they were true auteurs of their art from, garnering high praise from a musical landscape desperate for something beyond Buddy Holly yelps or the Little Richard/Chuck Berry-style cookie cutter classics. But looking back, maybe they pushed a little too far.

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Second Listen: The Beatles – Revolver