The Top 100 Album Review: #10 – The Beatles “The White Album”, The Beatles (1968)

Probably Should Have Been One LP.

But who cares — it’s still so good!

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #10/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

A favorite pastime of music critics, amateur and professional alike, is to pontificate how The Beatles could have done it better.  I mean, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band might be the best album of all-time, but didn’t you find the chord progression on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds a little lacking? Wasn’t Let it Be  a total let down with only 6 or 7  amazing songs?

The gripe with The White Album is its length. Clocking in at over a hour and half, there is so much material. I’ve had this album on rotation since October, and I finally feel comfortable writing about it. Yes, there is a lot to sift through, some of it meh, but much of it is amazing — so who cares.

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Top 100 Album Review: #86 – Let It Be, The Beatles (1970)

It’s Hard Being at the Top.

This album isn’t “Revolver” or “Sgt. Pepper,” but it is still damn good. 51F-JrWga3L.jpg

Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #93/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Lebron James is the preeminent athlete of my lifetime. He’s been to eight straight finals, won three, been crowned MVP four times, and continues to pass legend after legend in points, assists, and rebounds. People still think he sucks. 

The Beatles were the world’s peak musical influence. They ruled the entire industry from 1963-1970 with eight albums being considered top 100 worthy. They are the best-selling band of all time for God’s sake with over 800 million albums sold as of 2013. People thought Let It Be was a let down. 

While it is unfortunately the last entry into The Beatle’s catalog, it is still full of great material.

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Top 100 Album Review: #22 – Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon (1970)

Personal But Not Transcendent.

The Album Where Lennon Bares All Leaves Me Asking — Would I Ever Want to Listen to These Songs Again?

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #22/100
My Rating:cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Many songs on this album are decent, but the big catch is that it’s all about John. These songs are deeply personal and pretty indulgent, a result of some alternative therapy Lennon was getting in California with Yoko Ono. Each song is from the first person perspective. He talks about his life, family, anxiety, politics, and fame. Some of the popularity stems from this — you really get to understand what John is thinking because that’s all he sings about.

This makes the material very awkward to listen to outside of the album, not to mention the duds. There isn’t one powerful single that can stand on its own merits. Trying to add any songs into my mega 70s playlist on Spotify makes little sense.

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Top 100 Album Review: #3 – Revolver, The Beatles (1966)

Best Beatles’ Album of All-Time

I’m officially part of the movement to usurp Sgt. Pepper as the apex. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #3/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Revolver is when things got “weird” for the Beatles. They sped recordings up, layered multiple tracks on top of one another, and hid secret messages that could only be discovered by playing the album backwards. It was also released under some tenuous circumstances, with John Lennon comparing the band to Jesus and some drug-referenced singles being withheld from the American release.

After their break up, many claimed that Sgt. Pepper was the pinnacle point of Beatles goodness. I am going to have to disagree; Revolver beats it out track for track, and if not for the drama, would clearly be cemented as the top work they ever did.

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Top 100 Album Review: #76 – Imagine, John Lennon (1971)

Extremely Eclectic.

Lennon throws everything at the wall and finds things that sticks. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #76/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

We are now entering the uncharted realm of post-Beetles work. I have discovered so many hidden finds in Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be that I’ve only written one review on those works so far; I’m just not ready to put those experiences into words. There is so much material. I need more time to let it sink in.

I was wondering how everything would work when they split up. It’s evident as a group that they covered each other’s blind spots. Lennon was iconoclastic and not afraid to tread into weird domains, but McCartney kept him honest and found ways to use lyrics and traditional pop to keep him grounded. Lennon’s second solo album is a solid go, but you can’t help but Imagine what some of the songs could have been With a Little Help From His Friends*.

*I hate myself for making this joke. 

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Top 100 Album Review: #1 – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (1967)

It’s a Good One.

Afraid that I would dislike “the greatest album of all time,” The Beatles deliver in spectacular fashion. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #1/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The Beatles are mythical. Growing up before a wave of Americans, their career spans decades from a boy band, to quintessential hippies, and finally finishing with solo careers. The Beatles are the biggest band of all time — no argument. But, would the hype lead to oversight? Would weak tracks and poor music be wiped under the rug, powered by the musical force that is The Beatles?

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is everything as advertised: a complete album representing a perfect cross-section of avant-garde arrangements, lyrical content, and song writing.

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