The Beatles (1968)
This review should just read “It’s the Beatles, end of story,” but I’ll go a little in depth for those interested in my thoughts on this music classic.
The Beatles self-titled LP, or the “White Album,” is my favorite by them. It’s impossible to just pick any Beatles’ album and say it’s their most important or quintessential. So instead, I’m just focusing on this one because it is filled with many my favorite Beatles moments.
The White Album has always struck me as darker, more mature, and more experimental than anything else they have thus far attempted. It is absolutely jaw dropping to just think of how the Beatles changed as a band from Please Please Me in 1963 to The Beatles in 1968. Considering they released at least one album every year, each one a timeless classic that redefined music forever – when it comes to bands, none in music history was or is as great as the Beatles were. Usually, thoughts like these cross my mind every day, and what the Beatles have done still and likely always will capture my imagination.
Anyway, back to the music instead of my exposé on the Beatles. To me, the “White Album” encompasses everything good about the Beatles – it’s as if every single one of their albums is wrapped up in it (with the exception of their last two, recorded after this one). They decided to go in a different direction as they had for their previous few albums, and they recorded new material prolificly, enough for a double album.
The importance of the “White Album” for the Beatles and music at large cannot be overemphasized. It starts with “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” a hilarious spoof of the Beach Boys and their knock-offs, the former of whom the Beatles shared a good-natured rivalry. Track two, “Dear Prudence,” is the Beatles at their most simplistic beauty. The song is beautiful because it says the world is beautiful, “and so are you.” There is always an underlying simplicity and familiarity with the Beatles, despite how complicated the song acutually is.
Then of course, we have the catchy “Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da,” a Carribean-esque song nearly anyone can sing to, followed by “Bungalow Bill,” another classic. Then comes what’s often considered George Harrison’s magnum opus “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” followed by Lennon’s classic “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” This so far has to be one of the strongest song lineups in album history, just so you know.
A few songs later we come to the animal trilogy, “Blackbird,” “Piggies,” and “Rocky Racoon.” Of the three, “Rocky Racoon” is my favorite. Though they’re English, the Beatles were pretty good at playing American folk with their own twist. Though “Blackbird” deserves mention, and also happens to be one of the few songs I can play on guitar.
Later on, the infamous “Birthday” song, which would be should also be sung on birthdays along with the traditional one (I’m picking and choosing songs now, since there are so many). Later, McCartney’s “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.”
And then, the first metal song ever written, “Helter Skelter.” Right here, I just want to pause and reflect on the diversity of all the songs on this album up to this point. We have the first proto-metal song, folk, Caribbean influenced pop, surf rock, ballads, and later, downright exprimental things that simply cannot be classified, like “Revolution 9” (which, like all respectable Beatles fans, I loathe).
The last track I want to mention is “Goodnight.” Granted you made it this far, then you’ve just listened to one of the most famous and amazing albums in music history.
Though I’m not saying the Beatles were perfect and cannot be criticized in the least, like it or not, they are the most famous, most influential, most quintessential rock band in music history. And to me, The Beatles is their magnum opus.