Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me. This year, I am taking a slightly different approach by discussing the discographies of my favorite musicians, album by album, in original release order.
Today we land on the sixth studio release from the Beatles entitled Rubber Soul. This album marks a turning point that would influence their music for the remainder of their career.
Why This Album?
Rubber Soul was a revelation to me in my youth. Having grown up on the early Beatles, I never fathomed that the band that gave us ‘Love me Do’ and ‘I want to hold your hand’ was capable of creating such incredibly deep songs and sounds.
This is the album that allowed the Beatles to explore their creativity by introducing new sounds via curious instruments such as harmoniums, sitars and more giving each track a vibrant life of their own. With tunes like Norwegian Wood and Nowhere Man, this quartet moved past their skiffle origins in such a way that it had to have been a jarring and rather revolutionary moment for long time listeners. To me, this album is that defining line between ‘Early’ and ‘Latter’ Beatles, dividing their music, and fandom, into two distinct periods. I imagine that this tonal shift pushed some of the classic fans away while welcoming a whole new group of people in their wake. In a way, with Rubber Soul, the Beatles planted the seeds for a new revolution of music that can be heard to this day. This album could have easily been dropped today by a folk or singer/songwriter artist and would have been lauded by fans and critics alike.
Personally, this is the beginning of my favorite era of the Beatles sonic exploration. Because of their bravery in this album by exploring new sounds, we are ushered into some of the most memorable and thought provoking songs and albums. Soulful, sorrowful, introspective and intuitive, Rubber Soul has remained a favorite of mine since I first heard it in it’s entirety so many years ago.
Norwegian Wood. This has always been a favorite of mine that has been the topic of many conversations with friends. One aspect not many people pick up is the arson implication in it. At the start of the song Lennon describes a girls room ‘Isn’t It Good, Norwegian Wood‘ at the end he uses the same phrase saying that he ‘lit a fire, isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood‘. To me, this has always meant that, after being spurned by this woman who had left him alone in her home, he burned her house down. It’s a dark twist but listen to it again, and I think you may come to the same conclusion.
Nearly every album has a Harrison tune and this album’s is one of my favorites. Think For Yourself is a wonderful tune telling listeners that they have to come to their own conclusions in life, that there is nothing wrong with being themselves in all things. It is an early acceptance song that is well ahead of it’s time.
I’m Looking Through You has taken on some new meaning for me in recent years. Depicting a person realizing that a loved one has suddenly changed, he can no longer recognize them for who he thought they were, but for who they have now become. It’s a tremendous tune that takes on so many more meanings the older you get.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can snag the remastered edition here and it is one album I highly recommend buying. If you want to give it a listen first, it is, of course, on Spotify.
Till next week,
Late to the Game 2/9/2021
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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