The Beatles double album, officially titled "The Beatles" but better known as "The White Album" because of its iconic white cover, is to many people the most special Beatles album of all. This is the one that feels personal, that you feel like only you understand and no one else. There's masterpieces, curious trifles, unfinished gems and a few damned silly tracks. Because it's a double album, we're doing two episodes to cover it. Today we go over Sides 1 and 2, which includes the jaw-droppingly great "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Blackbird," "Happiness is A Warm Gun," "Dear Prudence" and MORE AND MORE. Holy crap. Panelists: Manny Hagopian, Will Hines, Ariana Lenarksy, Adam McCabe, Joel Spence.
(audio re-mixed, yep yep)
MMT is one of the orphan albums -- not quite a full album, but certainly way more than an extended single. The presence of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" alone make this a must-have for any Beatles fans, but once you dig into the other tracks you find, as you almost always do with Beatles stuff, that everything is great. Except "Flying." No one really needed "Flying." Panelists: Will Hines, Jackie Johnson, Wayland McQueen, Joe Petric, Connor Ratliff.
At this point, we are just listening to these amazing albums and going "Wow." Sgt. Peppers was not just another amazing album, it was a transformative cultural milestone that officially cemented the "album" as a work unto itself beyond being just a collection of songs. The Beatles are at the height of their production capabilities, comfortably doing simply great blues-rock numbers like the title song, as well as professionally scored pieces like "She's Leaving Home," authentic Indian music with "Within You, Without You" and the mind-blowingly cool final track "A Day in the Life." Panelists: Will Hines, Curtis Gwinn, Joel Spence, Ariana Lenarsky.
After doing one of the best albums of all time with Rubber Soul, the Beatles follow with yet ANOTHER one of the best albums of all time: Revolver. The songwriting quality is just as high, and now they're pushing the boundaries of their style more than ever. Orchestral backing with "Eleanor Rigby," trippy free-flowing songs like "She Said She Said," the funky fuzz bass of George's "Taxman," the backing horns for "Got to Get You Into My Life" and of course the most experimental track they've done yet: "Tomorrow Never Knows." Panelists: Will Hines, Joel Spence, Brett Morris, Heather Woodward.
One of the greatest albums created by any band to this point, Rubber Soul is yet another peak for the Beatles. It was the first album where they set aside time in the studio to finish writing and developing the songs, and the extra attention shows. This is even though they still finished the album in, relative to modern standards, an insanely short period of time. As always, just a list of signature tracks should be enough to show how amazing this album is: "Drive My Car," "Norwegian Wood, "Nowhere Man,""Michelle,""In My Life" and there are more and more. This isn't even counting "We Can Work It Out," which was recorded with this album and released separately. Incredible! Panelists: Will Hines, Curtis Gwinn, Joel Spence and Ariana Lenarsky.
Help!, in addition to being an amazing album, is also representative of a transitional time for The Beatles: part "early" with songs like "The Night Before" and the title track, and part "middle" with mid-tempo grooves like "Ticket to Ride" and the instant-classic-for-all-generations-and-humans "Yesterday." Unsurprisingly, we love it all. Our panel of Will Hines, Adam McCabe, Joel Spence and Ariana Lenarsky get into this astoundingly great collection of songs.
The last of the truly "early" Beatles albums. Our panel of Will Hines, Joel Spence, Adam McCabe and Brett Morris get into it: the brilliant original songs ("No Reply" "Eight Days A Week" "I'll Follow the Sun"), the underrated deep cuts ("What You're Doing"), the covers, the country influence, the obvious fatigue that is setting in after their explosive first two years (two!) of recording.
Holy crap. Just three albums in and we are already at a masterpiece: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. Spoiler alert: We love it. This is the first "all killer, no filler" album. It's so happy! But wait, it's sad! And holy crap: they had "Can't Buy Me Love" and also "If I Fell" on this album? And the title track? AND EVERY SONG? Panelists: Will Hines, Joel Spence, Curtis Gwinn, Ariana Lenarsky.
We get into the Beatles' second studio album "With the Beatles." We talk about how this album is a sort of B-side to the entire first album, and how amazing the song "All My Loving" is, and the amazing songs that were left off the album ("From Me To You" / "She Loves You" / "I Want to Hold Your Hand"). Was the intensity of Beatlemania in America a reaction to the assassination of the president? Or was the younger generation just so happy to tell its parents that time had passed them by? We also somehow talk about 9/11. I forget how that happened. Panelists: Will Hines, Curtis Gwinn, Joel Spence, Ariana Lenarsky.
We talk about the Beatles' first album: the incredible "Please Please Me." Recorded in a stunningly short 9 hours, this is the album that announced what would quickly become the greatest band in rock history. Although the band was still taking shape (Ringo, after all, had just joined the week before they recorded this), there is still plenty of evidence on this record of how great the Beatles were. What other band was writing so many of its own songs, never mind ones as great as "Please Please Me" (the song, obvs) and "I Saw Her Standing There." Who else was cool enough to cover Ray Charles and Carole King and Motown? Who could do songs in the style of classic standards like "A Taste of Honey" but also rock harder than all of Motown when John blows open "Twist and Shout?" Oh my God, look at me, this is just the first episode and I've already lost my mind. Panelists: Will Hines, Curtis Gwinn, Ben Rodgers, Ariana Lenarsky.