Saturday, October 23, 2010
A Record a Week: The Beatles - White Album
BACK IN THE U.S.S.R.
WILD HONEY PIE
THE CONTINUING STORY OF BUNGALOW BILL
WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS
HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN
MARTHA MY DEAR
I'M SO TIRED
DON'T PASS ME BY
WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD?
MOTHER NATURE'S SON
EVERYBODY'S GOT SOMETHING TO HIDE EXCEPT ME AND MY MONKEY
LONG, LONG, LONG
CRY BABY CRY
Released in 1968, this album came out two years and two albums past Revolver, which drew a line in the sand amongst Beatles fans. That album marked a distinct departure from happy pop songs into experimental and psychedelic music. Not that they abandoned their acoustic guitars or love-song lyrics, but it was clear that they weren't going to be constantly churning out 'Love me Do' or 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' anymore.
The album was the first double album featuring all original music that the band had done. The label and producers had thought it might be better to filter it down to one album of all the best songs. However, the band felt they should release the entire things to clear out all of the songs they had been working on. The result is an album that stretches across a myriad of styles.
I personally find both sides of the band to have their own type of appeal. Though experimental music has gone in a thousand directions since the advent of samplers, keyboards and other electronics, it is hard to argue that songs like 'Tomorrow Never Knows', 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'Revolution 9' were the first of their kind. Even as a fan of those types of songs, you cannot deny the appeal of the straight-forward rock that made up much of their earlier catalog and is sprinkled throughout the later albums. It was those songs that helped create the foundation of rock'n'roll for years to come.
*edit - If you want to check out a creative use of samples off this album, search for the 'Grey Album' by Jay-Z and Danger Mouse, which uses a base of White Album tracks/loops and lyrics from Jay-Z's Black Album.