Greetings TGWTG fans. NOTYETUSEDNAME here today to begin a new series:
LANDMARK ALBUM REVIEWS
The show where I collaborate with another music reviewer to look at an album that defined a group and inspired the music world.
Today’s Landmark Album is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles.
Joining me today is JotaKaPF from Album in Depth.
NYUN: Thanks for collaborating with me on this new series.
JK: Thanks for calling me in. I hope I’ll meet up with everybody’s expectations.
While Sgt. Pepper’s may not be considered, by some, to be the quintessential Beatles Album, it is arguably their most influential and successful Album of their career. Released December 6, 1966, this is their first album that they produced after deciding to quit touring and devote their time to studio recording. The result is an Album that took the time to really explore the potential creativity of the Fab Four unhindered by concert dates.
Shooting immediately to #1 on UK and American Billboard charts, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts club band stayed #1 on the UK charts for 27 weeks and 15 weeks at #1 on the American Billboard charts. It won 4 Grammy Awards and sold over 32 million copies. It is consistently ranked at #1 or close to it on greatest albums of all time lists.
So, is this album worth the hype and accolades it gets? Let’s take a listen and find out.
To review this album, we’re going to be looking at 5 criteria: Music, Lyrics, Production Quality, Hooks you can’t get out of your head(in a good way) and overall cohesion of the songs for the whole of the album. Ratings on a scale from 1-blow this record up with a 12 gauge to 10-I want this album with me if I’m stranded on a deserted Island with only 1 choice of what to listen to for the rest of my life(well, OK, maybe not THAT great, but right up there).
Using orchestral accompaniment and a large assortment of extra instruments, including Indian instruments like the Sitar and Tamboura, Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion instruments and hand claps to go with the traditional Drums, Bass, Lead and backup Guitars created a lush and layered musical landscape to experience and savor.
NYUN: It has been opined that the Beatles are to Pop music what is the equivalent of Mozart to Classical music. On this Album, I’m prepared to agree with that statement. There is a brilliant purity to this music that’s hard to ignore. The music gets into your head and frolics like children at the playground. All the extra instruments add something interesting to each song and there’s lot’s of little phrases and harmonies that come together to make this record special. My score-10
JK: Although the record is indeed a mark on the music of the time, I have to say that there were some tracks that didn’t age up well at all. And even with me agreeing that yes, indeed Beatles are the landmark in pop, there is some music in this album that I really hate, especially Within You Without You. My score-9
The Beatles were always great at writing clever rhymes and songs that tell a story-I mean C’MON! it’s Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison, for crying out loud! These guys were born songwriters!
NYUN: There’s a simplicity to these lyrics that’s really catchy. It’s almost like reading Dr. Seuss-there’s so much meaning in such simple language that you can’t help but remember them. The subject matter of each song is open to multiple interpretation up to and including drug induced hallucinations. Then there’s songs like When I’m 64 that tell a sweet story of a relationship between son and father that is as classic as the great standards written by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and the Gershwins. My Score-9
JK: You can’t really argue with the Beatles songwriting in any way at all: they are simply the best. It doesn’t really matter which of the Beatles you like the most when in this album, since they weren’t in the verge of breaking up, everyone did the best they could. And of course, with such lyrically classics like A Day in the Life and With a Little Help From Your Friends, you can’t shun the lyrics. My Score – 9
George Martin was an absolute master in the recording studio. Using innovative techniques to bounce 4 channel mixes into a master track, he was able to get multiple track recording out of a 4 track(which, frankly blows my mind-if you’ve ever tried to record on a 4 track, you know what I’m talking about)-and we’re not just talking about recording 4 voices, drums, guitars and bass, but the whole orchestra, extra percussion and instruments. If this project were attempted today, the engineer would use a Monster Mixing Board with at least 50 channels to individually record each element of the music in order to then tweak each channel to perfection. Martin did it with 4-in a word-miraculous.
NYUN: In my mind, what George Martin accomplished was nothing less than perfection. That’s all I’ve got to say about it. My score-10
JK: Indeed, George Martin’s brilliant work in this album can’t be denied. However, the final minutes of the album are gibberish that fomented the well known “Paul is Dead” hoaxes and McCartney blames that error to Martin, so, even with the extreme ability over the 4 track, he still made some mistakes. My score – 8
HOOKS YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD(IN A GOOD WAY)
Who doesn’t remember Beatles songs? That’s right!-only those who’ve never listened to them. Once you hear one of their songs, you almost instantly remember it. This Album is no exception. The choruses, alone are so catchy that you find yourself humming them without realizing that you’re doing it.
NYUN: Almost every song on this record has a really great hook in it. “I get by with a little help from my friends”…….”Lucy in the Skyyyyy with Diamonds”….”Lovely Rita Meter Maid….Lovely Rita Meter Maid”……”Would you still need me…would you still feed me…when I’m sixty…four?”…..”Woke up….got outta bed…dragged a comb across my head.”……”We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…we hope you will enjoy the show” I do, Beatles, I do. My score-9
JK: The Beatles works have earworms here, there and everywhere (heh) and this one is no exception. But this album hosts the biggest earworm of them all, and also my favorite Beatles music: “With a Little Help From my Friends”. So, My Score – 10
OVERALL COHESION OF THE SONGS FOR THE WHOLE OF THE ALBUM
While the Beatles deny that this Album is of the “Concept” genre, many still classify it as such. And while the songs, individually don’t really tie together in any one theme, they undeniably go together, and in the order they’re played. It’s hard to pinpoint just what it is about them that make them flow so naturally from one song to the next, it just is.
NYUN: I can listen to these songs individually, but much prefer to just put on the record and let it play. My Score-9
JK: No, it is not a concept album in ANY WAY of the word. It is enjoyable to hear them all in one go and they sound pretty amazing separately. My Score – 9
NYUN’S FINAL SCORE OF SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND-9.4
JK’S FINAL SCORE OF SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND- 9.0
NYUN: I’d like to thank JotaKaPF for reviewing this album with me today.
JK: You’re welcome. This was fun.
NYUN: I’d also like to thank TGWTG fans for giving us some of your time to read as well. I hope you enjoyed our review. If you have an opinion on this album, we’d love to hear it. Peace.
JK: Any suggestions are always welcome. This is JotaKa, signing off.