This was not a great time for The Beatles. Fighting had become a constant thing as the group struggled for a sense of cohesion and artistic direction as a unit. The release of the Yellow Submarine movie in 1969 had a lukewarm reception at best. This album released alongside it merely reflects that. Although the first half is a mish-mash of decent songs by The Beatles, the second is purely instrumentals made by Sir George Martin, which is in retrospect, not a very good place to put such instrumentals on.
Still, let’s explore this musical journey and see what it contains.
We kick off with the title track Yellow Submarine which was originally on the Revolver album released in 1966. It’s a great story of childhood delight and whimsical joy. Still good to hear, even today.
Next is Only A Northern Song which is extremely psychedelic in musical intention and lyrically as well. It’s an interesting listen with brilliant keyboard sounds and trumpets galore. It should have easily fit on the Magical Mystery Tour album, but it is on this one instead. A great and trippy piece to listen to.
All Together Now starts with a catchy strummed acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney singing in a joyful and wonderful way, before the rest of the group joins in. It sounds like a village chant and is a very surprising listen in terms of suspense. Nice stuff from The Beatles. It builds up in a frenzy towards the end, great stuff.
Hey Bulldog is a strange sort of song. Again, Paul McCartney and John Lennon compete with their respective lines of singing. There are loud guitars riffs and a chugging piano here. It is also quite psychedelic in its orientation in a musical sense. The ending is surprisingly hilarious, listen out for it.
The next song is It’s All Too Much with a very awesome guitar intro, before going into a reasonable tune. A relaxing and inspiring listen, it seems like it is a commentary about The Beatles themselves. Not bad for a band that was very much finished at this point. Entertaining nonetheless. It’s well over five minutes, so sit back and enjoy this good piece of music. The chanting at the end is pretty cool.
The rather irritating All You Need Is Love comes next. It is a great song by the group but really doesn’t need to be here again. This song marks the end of side one, and onto the instrumentals of side two.
Pepperland begins side two. Straight away, this is a turn off from the idea of what The Beatles actually were. They were great at making songs, not letting their producer step in and make instrumentals to bore you to death. It’s okay in parts, but overall disappointing to hear.
Sea Of Time has a sitar-like intro and some quirky melodies in its wake. It seems lacking, once again, particularly if you are not a fan of classical music. A bit better than the previous track, but not by much. If you want to go to sleep by being bored, this is not a bad place to start musically.
Next is Sea Of Holes which is more time wasted on this album. Really, unless you absolutely love The Beatles, there is no need to hear this rubbish. It is a botch job of what the group was actually about, sadly. Feel free to bang your head against a brick wall whilst listening to this, it’s also painful.
Following is Sea Of Monsters. A little more suspenseful, but this is not the soundtrack to Star Wars, which was excellent. This is rather ordinary music, give it a miss if you can. The repeated melodies from earlier tracks also add to the disappointment. The second half of this record is a definite failure.
March Of The Meanies sounds just as weak as the title. The mind boggles as to why The Beatles let this happen to a record of theirs. It’s a slight improvement of the other tracks on side two, but not by much. Sounding extremely dated, one scratches their head and thinks why on earth this is considered proper music. It is not.
Pepperland Laid Waste is more of the same. If you reached this far, you are very patient. There is nothing special nor exceptional about this, it just falls flat here. A proper album would have been a better bet. This is just a facade for The Beatles at the time.
Lastly, we finally end this record with Yellow Submarine In Pepperland. It’s a reinterpretation of the song, but is actually quite good, surprisingly. It’s great to end this rather difficult listening of side two and album in general.
As one can expect from this review, this is a failure. It’s certainly no Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and there is nothing inspirational nor interesting about this album, particular in relation to side two. Avoid it if you can at all costs.