Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beatles albums

As a long-term Beatles fan, I could hardly keep my mits off this from HolyHosesRob and picked up by others including the lovely Anna (who is just keeping on the right side of insanity-inducing rage about the position of Artic Monkeys in the NME best albums of all time poll).

Anyway, from me, an ordering of Beatles albums, which was tougher than I thought it would be:

1. help! - weird choice for many but it was probably one of the first I bought after they screened the film on the day that Lennon died (or it was at least screened that weekend). Great pop tunes, with lennon at his faux-Dylanesque best. "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" is just harmonies in heaven! "I've just seen a face" is so fast-paced its breathlessness is intoxicating. And "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (I loved that track!) still knocks me out.

2. beatles for sale - gems a plenty (I practically wore out "Words of Love" even)

3. rubber soul - as an album it just hung together so beautifully in my mind "In My Life"? "Norwegian Wood?" "Girl"? great stuff. Also the first album of theirs I could truly strum along to... get those chord changes in...

4. white album - for years I thought there was a great single album fighting to get out of the double-horror show of this collection. I've warmed more to the diversity of its clattering tastes and directions. "I will" to "Julia", "while my guitar..." to "Happiness is warm gun" "sexy sadie to helter skelter": every track takes you in a weird direction either in style or tone. Duff tracks too, but the sound quality is fab

5. Beatles at the Beeb - some gems here and much better recordings than the Decca auditions and the messy flawed chaos of the Hamburg tapes (both released by so many distributors in such variable quality releases I can't bring myself to list them here). But the Beeb tapes are delightful: and for the husky harmonies on "to know here is to love her"... just to die for.

6. the hollywood bowl - the noise and recording are, well, chaotic, but it is perhaps the best record of them live in their heyday we could hope for.

7. revolver - some grotty fillers ("Dr Robert"!?) and finally I can admit that "Tomorrow Never Knows" may be advancing the technological experimentation of music but its not very interesting or pleasant! But quality shows and for overall feel I do love it, especially given that the same period also gave us the double-sided "Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane".

8. a hard day's night - it sounds... tinny? sorry... some great pop tracks here and the twelve-string really works well: "If I Fell" and "You Can't Do That" still shiver me though. the film is still a joy

9. let it be - now the film and the album together (both versions), THAT shows what a difference production makes. I love Spector but the warbling on "Long and Winding Road" was unforgivable. As was the change of guitar solo on Let it Be...

10. abbey road - a mess, but redeemed by the noise that I loved from "I want you" and the overall soundscape effect

11. sgt pepper - "she's leaving home" and "day in a life" retrieve it from even lower down

12. please please me - rough, some would say not rough enough by comparison to the energy of the beatles live in the cavern, or hamburg (but not captured by the hampburg tapes either, done as they were at the dog-end days of their hamburg trips). but it has "I Saw her Standing There" and the sublime "Twist and Shout"

13. with the beatles - some really scrappy songs and recordings on this, though I was quite fond of lennon's croaky on "you really got a hold on me"

14. magical mystery tour - a mess, mess, mess

15. yellow submarine - scarcely a Beatles album, and even lesser than the last one

Excuse lack of caps, mistyping and all manner of poor phrasing. Really though, this was way harder than I would have liked.


Paul Burgin said...

How can you call Abbey Road a mess, with songs like 'Something', 'Here Comes the Sun', 'You Never Give Me Your Money' and 'She Came In Through the Bathroom Window'!
You are right about 'The White Album' though, and 'In My Life' from 'Rubber Soul' is one of their best songs

bot37363838 said...

Aha, Lisa, with our numbers 1 & 2, we are v. simpatico, obviously. I was gratified that others held Beatles for Sale and Help! in the same high esteem as me. Anything with "Help!", "Ticket to Ride", and "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" has to be in the top 5. And "I've Just Seen a Face" is my favourite favourite.

Anonymous said...

AW, man. If you wanna get cats bickering, ain't no greater subject than them Beatles. Here are my 5 cents.

Gotta say I can't get with the 'Magical Mystery Tour' as 'mess' theory; Blue Jay Way is a wonderfully woozy Harrison LA sunshine acid nitemare, Flying IS hip-hop and I Am The Walrus is the greatest psychedelicised Lewis Carrol anti-establishment freak-out Lennon ever essayed. Fer sure it don't hang together like an LP proper, but you can forgive that of a record which includes Stawberry Fields amongst its number.

I'm a White Album cat myself, but I sure dig all y'all for having the righteous balls to stand up for your 'Helps' and 'Beatles For Sale' and give critical Mojo orthodoxy the bird.

JoeinVegas said...

Sorry, but there is always time for proper grammer, punctuation and capitalization young lady. (at least that's what an English professor should say)

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

The comment above was deleted just becuase it was so shoddily typed. Here's what I was trying to say -

"and give critical Mojo orthodoxy the bird."

The bird??!! Your west coast pseudo-evangelist scat language confuses and enterains me. A glossary would be helpful though :)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...


Trust me though the original typing on this post is so bad I scarce think it would be noticed!

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Yes. Enertains. How can you not know what *that* means?! Haha.

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Ok this is getting silly. :) Enterains, or enertains; either way it's wrong!!

Oh dear...

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Sorry for verging on spam, but just one more -

"revolver - some grotty fillers ("Dr Robert"!?)"

WHAT??!! The bit - 'he's a man you must believe, helping everyone in need' is fantastic!!
But of course you redeem yourself (hehe) with this comment - "I was quite fond of lennon's croaky on "you really got a hold on me"" - so true.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Anna: I still think the best descent of Lennon's harmonic voice comes at the end of the Beeb version of "To know her is to love her" but there's an element of that on "you really got a hold on me"...

Dammit Reidski we got over 20! Still no where near the toilet obsession tho...