The Beatles - Revolver (1966), 7/10

The clear step up in maturity and songwriting creativity makes Revolver one of The Beatles' best collective projects. There are instantly endearing songs like the opener "Taxman" and "Love You To", but there are some slow burners that take some time to love in the mix. George and John's contributions are typically more actualized than Paul's here, which is certainly not always the case but the songwriting from these two on this particular record is especially well crafted. There are lots of recognizable classics as with any Beatles record and they all work beautifully and flow well from one to the next, although it is easy to confuse recognizability and a strong chorus with timeless quality. "Yellow Submarine" is almost annoyingly catchy, but there is nothing wrong with a fun novelty song, especially on a record that moves the group forward in maturity so quickly. The maturity is not fully realized however, as many of the tracks on Revolver don’t achieve enough beyond the narrow scope of what the album portrays. Tracks like “Good Day Sunshine”, “Dr. Robert” and “I Want to Tell You” depreciate what otherwise is a rather impressively forward-thinking record for the mid-sixties. They are not inherently poor, even as individual songs, but don’t stand up to the songs that have more to say both from a writing perspective and from their sheer scope of sound. The strongest individual songs are perhaps the surreal and psychedelic “I’m Only Sleeping”, the even further realized pilgrimage that is “Love You To” and the distinctly progressive and experimental, yet vivacious closer “Tomorrow Never Knows”, one of my favorite Beatles songs and one hell of a way to finish. Considering this forceful array of performances and orchestration, in the greater context of the record and the Beatles’ trajectory as a band, Revolver is certainly a classic that transcends the cultural limits of the era and the notoriety of the group as it stands against modern music.