We had never had it so good. The Beatles were on a roll by 1965. They had evolved out of their suits and three and a half minute pop formula to something far better, more deep and meaningful. The Help! album and movie had done well, so The Beatles took the next step forward in musical artistry and innovation.
The resulting album after Help! is Rubber Soul. This is an amazing album and one of the best albums by The Beatles. Every single song on it is a winner, and the consistency of the album placed The Beatles into musical history.
Drive My Car begins the album with its catchy hooks and a humourous story about a girl who wants to be chauffeured around like a movie star. It’s very Beatlesque and poppy enough to remind you of their mission as a band. A brilliant opener.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) follows and is a beautiful classical pop song. It features strummed acoustic guitar, sitar parts by George Harrison and a tale of love in the woods. It is just awesome and demands close listening.
Paul McCartney talks explicitly about relationship difficulties in You Won’t See Me. The Beatles being the most popular group in the world at that point had their fair share of on/off relationships and this covers the pitfalls of such. Good pop music.
The next song abandons love based themes altogether, for the first time in The Beatles history. But it’s just as brilliant as the other songs on the album. Nowhere Man talks about someone who has lost direction in his life. It’s a great listen all the same.
Think For Yourself follows and has some awesome fuzz bass on it, which showed how much depth The Beatles had in their music. The chorus indicates relationship troubles yet again, but it is an interesting song nonetheless.
The Word is a dedication to the art of love and sounds soul influenced. It’s a testament to The Beatles branching out with their music. A good funky piece.
The next song Michelle is a beautiful piece featuring some lovely French language phrases and the repeated “I love you” refrain. It’s one of the most beautiful songs ever, and Paul McCartney shines here as a singer and songwriter. The acoustic guitar sound is unique and brilliant.
The follow up What Goes On is sung by Ringo Starr, but has a shared writing credit. It’s still a great piece about love lost. Nice job by the group.
Girl follows and is a story about a sort of “It’s Complicated” relationship. But it’s uplifting and positive regardless. The chorus has some proto Syd Barrett style vocal sound effects in it, spicing up the song further.
I’m Looking Through You has Paul McCartney revisiting soul pop influences in an awesome way. Once again, it’s about relationship issues but the guitar work here is excellent. A good job well done.
The next song is about tenderness and compassion in a relationship. John Lennon seems to speak from the heart on this issue. In My Life ensures that the listener understands the passion and love behind romance itself.
The follow-up Wait is about returning from a break from love. It’s a great analysis of what makes the best love so good. A great piece.
If I Needed Someone has clanging Rickenbacker chords on it and talks about waiting for love in a general sense. The guitar work is fantastic here, as it is through the rest of the album as well.
Run For Your Life is almost what you’d expect, except much nastier indeed. In fact, it predates punk music with nastiness about a relationship broken up. It’s still very awesome though.
This recording is purely brilliant and marks the midway point between their earlier black and white pop songs and their later surrealistic and expression based work. It’s one of The Beatles best albums, and also one of the greatest listens of all time. After this, The Beatles experimented further with sound, but this album is so consistent that Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was suitably inspired to make the Pet Sounds album after hearing Rubber Soul, which was also a classic album. The album cover was also unique at the time, featuring no band name, and just the four Beatles on the front of it. This album re-energised pop music as it was at the time.
A great listen.
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