The Beatles: Revolver Special Edition (Super Deluxe) Review – Real Time Experimental Genius | the Beatles


TThe Beatles’ careers, their history and smuggling have been extensively documented, and it can feel as if there aren’t many surprises left to unearth. But the footage in Peter Jackson’s latest documentary about the band, get back, definitely proved that assumption wrong…especially the amazing jam session where the band conjures up the documentary’s title track out of thin air. Knowing that the Beatles have unparalleled studio chemistry is one thing; Seeing them carelessly walk away from a musical idea and create greatness in real time is another thing entirely.

pistol album art.
pistol album art. Photo: © Apple Corps Ltd.

The bonus disc on Revolver’s new expanded, remixed, and remastered 1966 box set provides an even more transformative experience: a stunning sequence of Yellow Submarine action tapes that traces the song’s evolution from a shaky, melancholy ballad sung by John Lennon to later. Repetition as a psychopath directed by Ringo Starr. The band’s channeling of Yellow Submarine from bleak folk trivia to rock-solid Singalong seems improbable, but the tapes don’t lie: Through a mixture of focused acoustic woods and quirky studio perils, the band arrives at the more iconic and upbeat Yellow Submarine.

Repetition and gritty experimentation have always been hallmarks of the Beatles, but Revolver found the band speeding its head toward innovation. Part of that was life experiences seeping into their art a few years after the whirlwind: 1965’s Rubber Soul—the studio album right before Revolver—contained forays into psychedelic pop as well as original (albeit live) songwriting. But for the first time since their world debut, the Beatles took a breather in early 1966, canceled a proposed movie and took four months off before heading to the studio. Revolver’s music is the result of giving the band members space to breathe and reset their creativity.

Recorded between early April and the end of June of that year, Revolver is a mixture of moods and styles: psychedelic, orchestral pop, R&B-influenced rock, and strong folk. However, the LP also marked the beginning of the stage for their studio fascination—the groovy tape loops that ran through Tomorrow Never Knows remain as gorgeously fiddly as ever—and their embrace of non-rock instrumentation; I love you to features George Harrison The sitar is played alongside guest drummer Anil Bhagwat, while the bass strings make Eleanor Rigby allure.

The “dreary” performance of the Yellow Submarine, sung by John Lennon

Much of Revolver’s music and lyrics reflect the band’s experiences with mind-expanding drugs — she said she said they were inspired by former fame Peter Fonda who interrupted Lennon’s acid journey. But it also includes some of the Beatles’ more clever allegorical sketches: dispensing pills alter ego Dr. Robert and McCartney’s Motown-jaunty mash note to marijuana, Get You Into My Life. And the mood of the album does not stay in one place for long; Eleanor Rigby’s emotionally sophisticated death contrasts nicely with the innocence of the Good Day Sunshine.

As he has done in other recent Beatles releases, Giles, son of George Martin, takes over production and redistribution duties on Revolver. Martin the Younger did not wisely calibrate the records for the ears of the 21st century by adding modern polish and deception. Instead, his approach involves amplifying the nuances found in music from a contemporary perspective, meaning that even familiar songs sound fresher.

Revolver proved particularly difficult to remix because the Beatles played live in the studio and tended to record all of their shows on just one track. However, Martin worked with Peter Jackson’s audio team to “unmix” the original tapes, using the latest technology to isolate individual instrument parts. This gave him a very blank canvas to create a stereo mix.

While the revolver does not necessarily have the shimmering depths of 2017 remix of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely HeartsThis is not slight. Instead, new Revolver details bring out deeper meanings in the songs. Now more prominent, the low-light background harmonies on Here, There and Everywhere reshape the tune as an old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll love song; The piano bow of the key in “I Want to Tell You” reflects the narrator’s insecurities; McCartney’s booming bass on Taxman illuminates the pungent and ironic tone of Harrison’s words.

The action tapes and demos of Revolver are great from an archival perspective. While the band is certainly enjoying — in one take of And Your Bird Can Sing, they magically break down in laughter and the song can barely get past — several of the demos suggest Revolver could have been downright melancholy. A demo of Lennon’s home for She said she said with a modified melody that’s more stormy, while the ascetic feels here, there and everywhere that the narrator longs for someone so elusive. For complements of the era, the various editions of the Revolver reissue also include sparkling updates to the 1966 independent solo paperback writer and his B-side, Rain; A session played on Rain at real speed makes a good case that it is one of the greatest Beatles songs.

On the front of the book included with the set of boxes, Paul McCartney He writes, “When asked about our equation, John and I said that if we found one, we would get rid of it immediately.” This certainly explains the rapid vocal development in the Beatles’ catalog. But it also explains why Revolver’s sound is still so vibrant. With every studio album they recorded, the Beatles searched for new ways to express themselves and push their music forward. The gun is their sound as they struggle and lays the groundwork for even more ambitious music to come.

Alexis Petridis Away


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