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Revolver: Underrated Poetry from The Beatles

(Courtesy of Facebook)

(Courtesy of Facebook)


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By Joergen Ostensen

The Beatles deserve to be in the running for the title of greatest band of all time. In their time, they were a craze, and they rivaled the popularity of any band in history. John Lennon, singer and songwriter for The Beatles, even compared The Beatles’ popularity to Jesus Christ more than one time. Now, almost 50 years after their breakup, they continue to be influential and beloved by listeners spanning multiple generations. Obviously, they produced a litany of fantastic singles and albums, but perhaps their finest work came in the 1966 album Revolver.

Revolver was the last album that the Fab Four produced while touring, and it marked their transition from songs meant to fill up stadiums and make girls scream to the pensive poetry of the studio years. This is an album that is meant to make you cry while you contemplate society and your own life, as goose bumps form on your spine and your hair begins to stand on its end.

It is one of the easiest Beatles albums to listen to, with each song feeding off the last, devoid of the interludes of insanity seen in their later albums, where they took advantage of their hostage audience and passed off “Revolution 9” and “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” as art. It is also a far cry from the internal strife that plagued the group in the later years. Revolver is an album that was created to be listened to in its entirety, unlike Let It Be, which was essentially an assortment of individual hits. Revolver is a testament to The Beatles trying to create something that was simply beautiful together.

That is not to underestimate the brilliance of individual songs within the album. “Eleanor Rigby” deserves to be considered an all-time great Beatles song. It is both a contemplation and a lament about the state of religion in modern times and the isolation caused by our society. They are asking the listener to question the facades they wear on their faces with these haunting lines: “[Eleanor Rigby] waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in the jar by the door/ Who is it for?”. Also “For No One” sticks out as a truly beautiful song, sharing in the universal narrative of unrequited love. This is Paul McCartney the poet at his finest and he accomplishes more here than anyone could in a novel. The lines “And in her eyes you see nothing/ no sign of love behind the tears” are particularly poignant and point out the tragedy of accepting reality.

The songs in Revolver build off one another and work synergistically to create a masterful album that asks to be experienced in its entirety. In this era of Spotify and customizable playlists, we are able to customize the moods we create from our listening experience. In some ways, we have replaced the artists as the arrangers of music. The Beatles were undeniably musical geniuses, who were able to capture beautifully poetic themes with the totality of albums like Revolver. So, the next time the Beatles capture your imagination, try listening to the complete album the way the songs were intended to be experienced.

The Beatles released their classic album Revolver on August 5, 1966. (Courtesy of Facebook)

1 Comment

One Response to “Revolver: Underrated Poetry from The Beatles”

  1. davy jones on November 4th, 2018 11:18 am

    Half of the white album is garbage i dont know why people defend it with such intensity

    revolver is OK but SGT pepper is where it is at

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Revolver: Underrated Poetry from The Beatles