Wednesday, November 15, 2017

'Turn me on dead man'

 The Beatle’s self titled ninth album (White Album is the more popular name) was recorded during a dark time within the Beatles. The band members wanted to explore their unique talents musically and lyrically, which explains why many songs on this album feels more divided compared to their other albums. Back in the U.S.S.R gives you the impression that The Beatles are trying to go after a more Beach Boys parody. Everything from lyrics to music arrangements screams Beach Boys with the song title being a rip off of Chuck Berry’s Back in the USA. During the time of this song’s recording Ringo Starr walked out of the recording studio and announced that he had quit the band after a heated argument among the band members. Dear Prudence is a nice track with a good piano riff. You’d think after the high energy album starter that The Beatles would stay to one trend and that’s Beach Boy-like songs, but then again this is The Beatles we are talking about. Paul McCartney lends a hand in drums and does a darn good job. Lyrically Dear Prudence is a good listen and displays interesting vocals by John Lennon.

“Here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul.”

Glass Onion is one of the weirder tracks of the album. It’s a great track to listen to, with subtle hints that Paul in fact is dead (‘here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul’) in the lyrics. The best part of the song in my opinion is towards the end where it takes a spooky haunting twist in melody. A sound that you sort of hear at the end of a mystery thriller that’s being left at a cliff hanger, this song indeed leaves you wanting more but cuts you off short. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill is a strange track by John Lennon. While on their trip to India for meditation, a guest of the band shot and killed a tiger which gave Lennon the inspiration for the song. Appearing in cameo of the song is Yoko Ono (which everyone knew was coming). While My Guitar Gently Weeps is one of the darker tracks on the album. It sounds almost as if this song doesn’t even belong on the album altogether. George Harrison invited Eric Clapton to play lead guitar in the song in hopes that it would make the band take the song more serious. Towards the end of the song fans thought George was crying out ‘Paul, Paul’ hinting further into the mystery of Paul is Dead theory.

“I need a fix ‘cause I’m going down, down to the bits that I left uptown.”

Happiness Is a Warm Gun is personally my favorite track by John Lennon on this album. John Lennon grabbed inspiration for the song from a magazine that said Happiness Is a Warm Gun. The song itself is literally two songs combined into one. It starts off smooth with fuzzy guitars being heard in the background. Then out of nowhere there’s the distorted guitar solo which helps the song jump into a different mood. After Mother Superior jump the gun the song sort of takes a more doo-wop sound. Many suggested that Lennon’s Vocals are that of a Heroin addict. One needing a fix and parts of the song where he describes holding a syringe in his arm and saying no one can do him any harm once he’s on the drug. Drugs or not this song is really a great listen and is quite different compared to other tracks on this album. Helter Skelter is probably one of the loudest songs The Beatles have on this album. It’s very aggressive and lyrically and vocally. Inspired by The Who I Can See For Miles Paul McCartney took the song and pushed it to another level. The song itself was recorded in total madness, but the end result was a fantastic song that really is in my opinion the finest piece of work from Paul along side Hey Jude.

“It’s been a long, long, long time”

Long, Long, Long is oddly placed next to the louder racier Helter Skelter. This was is one of Harrison’s gentler and quieter songs on the album. It’s quite moody and poetic in lyrics. The song is almost meditative and really does fit quite well next to the other tracks. Towards the end of the song is where it takes a creepy turn. A bottle of wine was left on top of the Leslie Speaker and began to rattle whenever Paul hit a certain note on his organ. Ringo starts pounding on his drums to cover the sound and George sings in a ghostly manner to also try to cover up this sound. This is a sound that is almost ghostly like and is very haunting and weird. This gives the track that moody dark tone that helps it out. George Harrison as a song writer really does shine through on this particular album. Revolution 9 is probably the weirdest song on the entire album, if you can call it a song. This track features a collage of noises and distant cries. You never know where this song is going because each second is different and weirder than the last. For eight minutes you’d forget that you were listening to a Beatle’s record. This track is also one of many tracks by The Beatles that has been subjected to the Paul is Dead theory.

“You say you want a revolution, well you know we all want to change the world”

The The White Album is the most unique album that the band has ever put together. Many songs you can tell were recorded as sort of solo songs rather than the group recording them as a whole. The division of the band and many individual talents really do shine in this album. Despite the tension among the band members, this album is a gem and is worth considering if you are getting into the band and want collage of songs that are distinct and interesting in their own rights.

Devon M

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