10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first Beatles masterpiece
RUBBER SOUL remains a milestone in The Beatles' recording careers. It ushered in their most celebrated and sophisticated musical phase that is unrivalled to this day.
In the 20 months since The Beatles landed in America to the time the band recorded this album, rock 'n' roll had undergone a revolution, sparked by The Beatles themselves. The British invasion...
Published on May 24 2005 by Allan Tong
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the same as 1965
As I put this CD into my car player, I eagerly anticipated hearing the music that would take me back to the fall of 1965, when this became my all-time favorite Beatles album, and remained so, even after Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, White Album, Let it Be, et al., came out.
Expecting it to start out, as the original did, with "I've just
Seen a Face," I was...
Published on May 29 2003
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first Beatles masterpiece,
RUBBER SOUL remains a milestone in The Beatles' recording careers. It ushered in their most celebrated and sophisticated musical phase that is unrivalled to this day.
In the 20 months since The Beatles landed in America to the time the band recorded this album, rock 'n' roll had undergone a revolution, sparked by The Beatles themselves. The British invasion inspired Bob Dylan to go electric, while The Beatles converted the L.A. folk quartet, The Byrds, to replace their acoustic guitars with electric music. Add to this the whiff of American grass and you get the influences which shaped the late-1965 Beatles.
Above all, the Beatle's songwriting takes a big leap forward with RUBBER SOUL. For the first time John, Paul and George avoid the cliched boy-meets-girl songs and address introspective themes. Though RUBBER SOUL was widely viewed as Just Another Beatles Album in late-1965, some listners took notice of the words with as much care as they did Dylan albums. Some started to use the word "poetry" to describe Beatles music.
The album opens superbly with the funky Drive My Car which features a sharp vocal by Paul and a gorgeous bass influenced by Motown. John's Norwegian Wood is one of the record's highlights and introduces the sitar to Western ears. It obliquely tells of an affair John once had. You Won't See Me could've easily been a single. Paul's song, it is simply structured but strong. Nowhere Man was actually pulled as a single in the U.S. and is the first Beatles song not to talk about love or girls. John looks in the mirror and finds himself lost in a lyric that was one of his best (Dylan covered it many years later). George's Think For Yourself also steers away from the love song and features Paul playing the distinctive fuzz bass. The Word preceeds All You Need Is Love and discusses love not in boy-girl terms but universally (at a time when the Anti-War Movement was growing). Michelle closes side 1 in style. Love it or hate it, it is a fine love song with another great bass line.
Side 2 opens and closes with two disposable songs, What Goes On? and Run For Your Life. RUBBER SOUL would have been far better with the double-sided single, We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper, taking their place. However, the rest of side 2 shines with Girl and I'm Looking Through You -- John and Paul's complex views about women which are light-years away from She Loves You -- and In My Life which the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently named as the best song of all time. In My Life is a milestone in Lennon's career, featuring a nostalgic but bittersweet lyric. Lennon has never been this candid with his audience. Word is merely a leftover from the Help! sessions, though George's If I Needed Someone features the chiming Rickenbacker put to good use.
Today, RUBBER SOUL remains fresh. Amazingly, it was rush-recorded in two weeks with most of the songs written in the studio. John and Paul are at the height of their powers, while George is keeping pace with two songs instead of his customary one (or none). The album's acoustic sound allow's the band's maturing lyrics to be heard, while the arrangements are simple, yet intelligent. Few Beatles albums can rival RUBBER SOUL in songwriting. The sound of the album sounds unified which will pave the way for their next two albums, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. RUBBER SOUL is The Beatles' first masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songcraft at its finest,
This is an elegant collection of songs that was a starting point for music. Here excellent music composition was combined with thought provoking lyricism and affective production. The guitars, pianos and bass play complementary melodies to the tunes, resulting in one flawless package that simply doesn't date.
Along with Pet Sounds and Mr Tambourine Man (Byrds) here is a the new intellectualism of Bob Dylan combined with a production that emotionally frames it's lyrical content. Every track is a winner, although 'Run for your life' is somewhat lightweight. 'Norwegian Wood', 'In my Life', 'Nowhere man' and 'Girl' are probably the finest examples of songcraft here. Anyone interested in music must have this album.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Album in it's own right,
I really don't care what people say, Rubber Soul is a great album! Sure, it's a transition from the crowd-pleasing pop-ish songs to their more mature, complicated songs but the transition has it's own great points that CANNOT be overlooked. Rubber Soul is great because of the experimentation. This was all new stuff, a breakthrough in the music world. Several songs on the album are among the most favorite of all time. They aren't so simplistic as the earlier stuff, you can hear a change in all of their voices and in their way of thinking.
Drive My Car: First track, not bad, George's guitar is a great start and the song has a sexy undertone.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown): Great sitar, excellent use of it. I love the lyrics. I mean, really, there is something very lovable about the transition songs because they still had some fun in them and weren't so heavy yet. This song has a great flow that makes anyone want to listen to it many times in a row.
You Won't See Me: Along with "She's a Woman" this is probably one of my least favorite Beatles songs. One can really hear Paul's pop influence on this song. It's ok but it gets old really fast.
Nowhere Man: ABSOLUTE CLASSIC!!! Here is where you can hear the expression of John's inner feelings, Rubber Soul is really where the Beatles began to get into self-exploration and the result is FANTASTIC! Most every song on this album is peak perfection in it's own right.
Think for Yourself: Good, George is really starting to establish himself here, that's another landmark for Rubber Soul.
The Word: Definitely following with the mid-sixties vibe. All about spreading love and showing what a good thing love is. This is almost a protest song against all the uptight people in the world. John is telling you to keep love alive everywhere, The Word could be a lead-in to All You Need is Love.
Michelle: I've read in here that some people dislike Michelle. WHY??? This is yet another area where the Beatles were able to branch out in the types of songs they were doing. The French words are great, it's a lovely ballad to a girl who can't understand him but he desperately wants to show her how much he cares.
What Goes On: Personally, I really don't like this. 60's country is just not my thing, it's sort of an out-dated song for the Beatles to have been doing.
Girl: Ah, the pain of a cold woman, John portrays it so clearly. Again, these songs are just so different from what they had been doing before! I personally love them, they have great melody and a variety of new sounds, they all tell a story. That's what's important right? If so, Rubber Soul meets all the requirements.
I'm Looking Through You: Another distant woman. Great melody again, great portrayal of everything Paul is feeling. So different from previous songs!
IN MY LIFE: This is the big song on the album for me. Personally my ALL TIME FAVORITE!!! I first heard it at the beginning of The Beatles Anthology and have loved it ever since. It's so sweet and wistful and just full of meaning. In My Life is John's story about his life in Liverpool and Hamburg. Basically a tribute to all the wonderful people, places and things that he had known. Stuart, his Mom, old hangouts, etc. It's a song that can have meaning for everyone and shows so much depth is such simple wording. Not to say the song is simple, just that the words didn't have to be complicated to show all of that emotional depth. It's a song that makes you cry happy and sad tears, makes you long for a part of your life lived before, makes your heart leap. It's very nostalgic. And, John has such sweet, soothing vocals in it. I've also heard that In My Life was voted by a group of songwriters as the best song ever written. I MUST agree.
Wait: Very unselfish, honest, good melody.
If I Needed Someone: I can't say it's the best George-in-the-Beatles song (that might fall to a song like Something) but it's very good. Love the melody, great words, good emotion.
Run for Your Life: John's jealous streak, he admits to it here and in his later song Jealous Guy. I suppose a fear of rejection and the reprocussions. It's a really good song though, I love the guitar and the melody. Even in a song like this, John's voice is still soothing to me.
All in all, Rubber Soul is just so full of variety and new experiments. It jumps from Blues to Pop to Rock to Ballads and on and on, it was a great beginning to their later stuff. But, it really shouldn't be considered a prototype, it's not like it's a rough album that could have been fixed up. It is smooth, flowing, has a great variety. It's very finished and every song sounds like it was meant to sound just like it does. The later Beatles cannot be judged as better or improved from Rubber Soul, just different and in a different era of their musical careers. Don't overlook Rubber Soul, it's really studded in jewels!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles' Best Album,
By A Customer
RUBBER SOUL is the Beatles' best album, because it breaks new ground without straying from true rock & roll. All of the songs here are originals, and this is where all post-1970 rock sprung forth from. This album, the other 12 British Beatles albums (except YELLOW SUBMARINE), LET IT BE...NAKED, and PAST MASTERS, VOLS. 1 & 2 are the essential Beatles library.
5.0 out of 5 stars Defloration Delight,
1964, and I'd at last escaped private school imprisonment, fit mean n lean n heading for my nth dan in shotokan, meanwhile doling out killer chops on the Telecaster.
Every time I took a hit in the dojo, I'd pick myself up and talk of 'rectifying' the situation, at which the guys would laff at such posh lingo. Then 'Soul' hit the shops and composer George used 'rectify' in "Think For yourself" and suddenly basic literacy was hip.
Dating the daughter of the manager of a Harrow record store at the time, we concluded a major snog to the soundtrack of the 4-somes' latest a whole 12 hours before the album went on sale to the rest of the grockles. Gives lust a good name.
Apart from Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky", I reckon this was the album to which I bedded more virginal sweeties than any other sounds of the season. Talk about a summer of seduction.
If *only* someone had invented back then some way of skipping the appalling atonal offering of the nasal Starkey. Sacré Bleu! Just *any* of those Ringo tracks, on any of the albums - what a musical service for all mankind.
That apart, enjoy this aphrodisiacal ace of an album. Bliss was it to be alive to rock to these albums *as* they came out. GOd *bless* those lads.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles' Coming of Age,
Much if not all of what I'd have to say about this delightful album has already been said (probably to death) by the hundreds of reviewers who have beaten me to this site. But this really is great stuff -- catching the Fab Four in transition from radio-driven singles "hits" toward musical artistry and maturity.
In my opinion, the weakest song by far is "What Goes On," essentially because I passionately dislike country-western music and cannot abide Ringo's obvious infatuation with such sounds especially in the early to mid-60s. But it is far more than compensated for by McCartney's "Drive My Car" (which begins so stunningly) and Lennon's amazingly haunting "Norwegian Wood," "Nowhere Man" and "In My Life." Lennon could have never written another song and his legacy would have been secure on the strength of those three pieces alone. (Fortunately he wrote many other good ones!)
Harrison was clearly beginning to flex his songwriting muscles here too, with "Think for Yourself" and "If I Needed Someone" both adding thoughtful and singable critiques of pop romance.
In many ways, this has been my favorite Beatles album for over three decades because it moves at the cusp of the relative innocence of the Beatles' earlier work and the edgier, more artsy, more electric and studio-layered music that followed, e.g., "Revolver," "Sergeant Pepper's" and "Abbey Road" -- all of which, to be sure, also merit ratings of 5 for their own reasons. Most of those reasons, though, finally are rooted in the fact that the synergy of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison was virtually a gift to the world and will likely never again be matched in the annals of popular song.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pot Album,
The Beatles often referred to Revolver as 'the Acid Album', and to Rubber Soul as 'the Pot Album'. Indeed, drugs' influence is flowing into this album like rain into a paper cup. But that's not what makes Rubber Soul the classic it is. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band is usually considered the Beatles' creative turning point and their greatest achievement; while Beach Boys fans like to diminish the album's importance by pointing out that the Beatles often said that Sgt. Pepper was greatly inspired by the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. However, while relating to Pet Sounds itself, Brian Wilson often admitted that he was actually inspired by the Beatles' Rubber Soul when he conceived his own breakthrough album. Indeed, listening to the Beatles catalogue reveals that it is Rubber Soul that was the major turning point, creatively and artistically, and it is this album that paved the path for the Beatles' timeless masterpiece. Though it was a process that was going on for two years now, it was on Rubber Soul that the Beatles finally waved their moptop image goodbye, and abandoned pop music forever. A look at the druggy cover is enough to illustrate that point; listening to the album makes it substantial. The Beatles experiment like they never did before with recording techniques, new harmonies and new instruments, and their music captivates and fascinates like it never did before.
On Rubber Soul, the individual personalities of the Beatles as musicians and songwriters are more obvious than ever before. But still, perhaps for the last time, John Lennon is the true leader of the band. John's songwriting went up a notch on this album (it happened for George and Paul on Revolver), and he turned in for Rubber Soul some of his greatest, most revolutionary and inventive songs. 'Nowhere Man' immediately springs to mind, with its haunting and beautiful vocal harmonies, druggy vocals, and surreal spiritual-social lyrics. John's socially / politically-aware persona surfaces here for the first time, and 'Nowhere Man' remains one of his most important and groundbreaking compositions. There's also 'Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)', one of John's most beautiful tunes, which also has lyrics more inventive and surreal than anything he recorded previously. 'Norwegian Wood' is revolutionary for another reason: it's the first pop / rock song to use a sitar in its recording. George Harrison had bought the sitar some time before (inspired by some recordings he had heard of Ravi Shankar), and suggested using a sitar backing on the song; it's that unique sound that made the song so unique, and it shows the Beatles at their most original and experimental, no longer concerned with commercial success and wanting to experiment and innovate as much as possible. And then there's the great 'In My Life' - John's most beautiful and heartfelt song of his recording life. 'In My Life' is a song that comes straight from John's soul, and is more touching than anything he wrote before or after. It also boasts a strange and innovative keyboard solo by master producer Sir George Martin (though he didn't really play it that fast - he recorded it at half speeds, and then sped up the recording). And that's not mentioning 'Girl' and 'The Word', which are both two of the most beautiful and captivating songs ever recorded.
That's not to say Paul and George - both brilliant songwriters by their own right - didn't make their contributions to the greatness of Rubber Soul. Paul turned in some of his greatest hits with the wonderful and classic ballad 'Michelle' (which won the Beatles their only Grammy award), which stands with 'Eleanor Rigby', 'For No One' and 'Yesterday' as one of his greatest ballads; as well as the hard and heavy 'Drive My Car', that has great guitar work and terrific, sharp lyrics. He also scored a perfect pop song with the lovely 'I'm Looking Through You', one of my favorite Beatles songs and one of their most underrated efforts. George made two great contributions with the heavy, sarcastic 'Think For Yourself' which has great guitar work and a fantastic, heavy bass line; and 'If I Needed Someone', which remains one of his greatest songs and probably his first truly complete composition. It has great vocal harmonies and instrumental work, lovely lyrics and a catchy tune, and it paves the way to George's greater achievements - from 'I Want To Tell You', to the classics 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Something'. George proves for the first time that he can be as much of a songwriter as John and Paul (even if his compositions on the album seem pale next to John's groundbreaking masterpiece works).
So I'll wrap this review up on the same note I did the reviews for Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and Let It Be: Rubber Soul is essential listening. I can't imagine a self-respecting music lover going through life without the complete Beatles catalogue (maybe omitting - MAYBE - With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale and Yellow Submarine), and Rubber Soul is not only an crucially important step in the musical story of the development of this great band and of music in general, it's also a timeless rock album by its own right, one of the Beatles' best and one of the best albums ever recorded. Like Dylan, The Who and the Beach Boys at around the same time, the Beatles progressed from recording songs to recording albums - and thus changed popular music forever.
4.0 out of 5 stars So-so prelude to the Beatles' greatness!,
I bought this album with the expectation of having an amazing experience. I had read so much about how great it is from several critical publications whose opinions I truly value. I've listened to it thoroughly several times, because I never settle into an opinion until I have listened to an album at least six or seven times. After listening to this album thoroughly, I must honestly conclude that there is little that is truly great about this album. "Drive my car", "Norweigian Wood", "You won't see me", "Nowhere Man", "Michelle" "The Word", and "I'm looking through you" all stand out as great songs, but the rest of this album pretty much sounds like mediocre sixties music to me. I'm only in my mid-twenties so maybe it's my age, but I am just not impressed with this album. Every other Beatles album after this one is highly impressive to me; some of the greatest albums ever recorded. This includes the release that came immediately after this one, "Revolver". Revolver is absolutely amazing, but this one sounds pretty mediocre to me. I truly love and respect the Beatles as some of the most gifted and absolutely prolific artist in the history of music, but I'm just not impressed with this album. If you just want to here some pretty good typical sixties sounding pop, then this album is for you. Personally, I feel that better albums were put out by Motown artist from the same period. May I suggest "Marvin Gaye's greatest hits vol.2" for example. This album seems to be a really strong period piece. I think that it does an extremely effective job of capturing its particular time period in musical history, but you have to desire such a period piece in order to truly enjoy it. The Beatles adeptness at their craft as musicians is clearly evident so I give it four stars primarily for that reason. Maybe I was born so late that I missed the train but it passes me by on this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another leap.,
The thing that amazes me most about The Beatles during this period was not their great songs, but just how far they had come creatively in such a short time. Three short years ago had them singing "Love Me Do." Now here they are with "Rubber Soul," complete with sitars and fuzz basses, not to mention some French lyrics. The Beatles may not have been the first pop band to use such items on their records but their ability to be open minded about such things put them in the forefront of new ideas. Now about this CD: Ironically, the disc starts off with a wannabe rocker that fails to impress. "Drive My Car" is a fair song the boys really want to sound like a good song but its just not happening. Harrison's rather weak solo doesn't help matters either. "Norweigian Wood" is a min-masterpiece by John. Aided immeasurably by Harrison's stinging sitar, which literally under underscores Lennon's discipled singing and aggresive guitar playing very well. "You Won't See Me" is just a fabulous tune with great vocals by the boys. This is the kind of song that you can't get out of your head for days after you've heard it, its really good. Lennon scores big again with more introspective lyrics on "Nowhere Man." Again, more ideas The Beatles were using helped their songs here and there---listen to the high amount of treble on this guitar solo. It certainly takes the song out of the ordinary. More great vocal work insues on this number as well. The Harrison-written "Think For Yourself" is up next. The fuzz bass simply dominates the track (Harrison, certainly no stranger to new ideas, his last composition "I Need You" featured the tone pedal). The lyrics, possibly the best Harrison's written to this point, are matched perfectly by low tone in which he sings them. "The Word" features some good harmonies and a good beat. "Michelle" is a beautiful song that has Paul doing a some social climbing by putting a little French into the lyrics. "What Goes On" has Ringo doing the countrish number from this set. Obviously the weakest song on the set, but really only notable for the first song with a Starkey byline attached to it. "Girl" has John excelling again lyrically. This time the backing vocals carry the song to its deserved heights. "I'm Looking Through You" is Paul's baby. Good lyrics and an even better tune. "In My Life" could very well be the best song The Beatles have done (so far). The opening riff is almost celestial, then carried on by melancholy lyrics that are expertly sung by Lennon. Everything is done right. The icing on the cake is George Martin's piano solo in the middle "Wait" is probably the disc's only filler cut. "If I Needed Someone" is George's second number on the disc. This is a much lighter, and much more poppy piece than "Think for Yourself." "Run For Your Life" is saved from obscurity only by Lennon's peerless vocal.
Starting with this disc, The Beatles were to start a run of creativity and brillance that would not end until they did.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles in transition,
Rubber Soul (1965.) Beatles' sixth album.
When the Beatles visited America in 1964, one of the people who gave the band some constructive criticism when it came to their music was legendary American folk-rocker Bob Dylan. By taking his advice, the band began to evolve drastically. Help!, their first LP of 1965, demonstrated that the band was beginning to move somewhat in a different direction. Later that year, the band released an LP that featured them in an entirely transitional state. Read on for my review of the band's second LP of 1965, Rubber Soul.
In many ways, this is one of the most different-sounding Beatles album. But believe it or not, it is also one of the best! The album opens up with with the bluesy rocker Drive My Car. This is an excellent opening track that grabs the listener's attention and keeps a hold of it. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) is a track John Lennon wrote about an affair he was having at the time. At the time, George Harrison was becoming interested in the sitar, so Lennon had him play it on this track. Tne end result is a masterpiece. You Won't See Me is a bit more pop-friendly than the last two tracks, but it's certainly a more meaningful song than the band's earlier pop material. Another one of Lennon's masterpieces that can be found on this album is Nowhere Man, a rather sorrowful tune. The lyrics are among Lennon's best, and the band's instrumentation of the track is excellent as well. George Harrison has two original compositions on this album. Think For Yourself is a classic, bluesy hard rocker that is among the band's finest tracks of the style, and If I Needed Someone is a melodic ballad, which is one of the best compositions he did while a part of the band. Even Ringo gets to sing a song that he co-wrote with John and Paul - What Goes On. Ringo's voice goes great with country-flavored tunes, and this track stands as solid proof. The bluesy rocker, The Word, is also excellent. There is only one song on this album that I don't like, and that's Michelle. Many fans of the band adore this song, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't bring myself to like it. Oh well, there are enough good songs on here that one blunder can't hurt the other songs. Girl is another interesting Lennon composition, not only in that the lyrics are great, but also in that it was one of their earliest works to feature "hidden" stuff in it. John Lennon really seems to be the star on this album, and his best track on the album would have to be In My Life. This is one of the band's finest slower, more melodic songs. Producer George Martin even plays the piano on this one! Run For Your Life is a catchy little rocker that Lennon actually rejected as a throwaway! Weird. In the end, this is one of the band's most different-sounding albums, but it's still very good.
THIS TEXT REFERS EXCLUSIVELY TO THE STANDARD AMERICAN ISSUE OF THE ALBUM, RELEASED IN THE EARLY NINETIES. In the early nineties, when compact discs were becoming the mainstream format of the music industry, the record company released every original United Kingdom Beatles album in America! Back in the Beatles' prime in America, the original albums from the early days were NOT released here. Rather, the record company of the day just threw together "compilations" that fused album tracks with hit singles - NOT the real albums that fans wanted. At long last, the REAL albums are available here, the way the band wanted us to enjoy them. The record company even did fans one better, and released two Past Masters CDs, which compiled all of the singles-only tracks from England! Unfortunately though, the record company wasted an opportunity, in a sense. Many of the band's albums could have been combined, (one release could have been Please Please Me/With The Beatles, one could have been A Hard Day's Night/Beatles For Sale, etc.,) but they didn't do this. That's a real shame, because it would have been a better value for customers - and since places jack up Beatle album prices anyway, the record company really SHOULD have done it. Bonus tracks and expanded liner notes would also have been nice. Oh well, we can't have it all. But these are just complaints about the issue of the album - they have no impact whatsoever on the way I feel about the album.
Rubber Soul is one of the Beatles' finest albums. It's one of the few albums that really manages to capture the band in a transitional period - and it does a damn good job of it too. If you're a fan of the band, Rubber Soul MUST be added to your collection.
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