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RUBBER SOUL (THE BEATLES)


THE STORY SO FAR:

Rank ’em how you like, Rubber Soul is an undeniable pivot point in the Fab Four’s varied discography no matter where, or how, you first heard it. The album was softened up in its original 12-song American edition to jibe with the Dylan/Byrds folk-rock sound, as well as squeeze money from the Parlophone catalog. The 14-song U.K. edition–the version now available on compact disc–is a different, more dynamic, and ultimately more accomplished achievement. So many classics: “Drive My Car” and “Nowhere Man” (both omitted from the U.S. edition) merge the early combustible Beatifics to a burgeoning studio consciousness; “The Word” can be read as a pre-psych warning shot; the sitar-laden “Norwegian Wood” and the evocative “Girl” (the latter written on the last night of the sessions) stand as turning points in John Lennon’s oeuvre. George finally emerges too, with the McGuinn-ish “If I Needed Someone.”

TRACK LIST


1. Drive My Car
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won’t See Me
4. Nowhere Man
5. Think For Yourself
6. The Word / Michelle
7. What Goes On / Girl
8. I’m Looking Through You
9. In My Life / Wait
10. If I Needed Someone
11. Run For Your Life
12. Rubber Soul Documentary

THE CRITICISM:

The classic original Beatles studio albums have been re-mastered by a dedicated team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period utilising state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result of this painstaking process is the highest fidelity the Beatles catalogue has seen since its original release.

Within each CD’s new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. The newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.


Ultimately, when judging the merit of an album, it all boils down to the quality of the songs and “Rubber Soul” is chock full of classics. “In My Life”, “Norwegian Wood”, “Michelle” and “Nowhere Man” are permanently ingrained in public consciousness. In a nutshell, they are essential elements of mid-20th Century pop culture. “Drive My Car” — the album’s rockin’ opener –and John’s seething “Girl” are pure pop pleasures. Paul’s catchy “You Won’t See Me” is a bitter send-off politely dressed in three-part harmony. The most surprising element of “Rubber Soul”, however, was the emergence of George as a songwriting force. The Quiet One penned a pair of beauties with “Think For Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone”. Each of “Rubber Soul’s” 14 songs worked cohesively in terms of sound and theme. In other words, this wasn’t two hit singles and a bunch of filler — this was a “concept” album. The Beatles were growing up and soon the entire rock community would follow suit.

THE BREAKDOWN

Final Score:  100% – A+

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