The Byrds - Fifth Dimension (1966), 5/10

The Byrds’ third album still suffers from many of the same flaws that their first two did before. There are a few interesting ideas and interesting sounds packaged in a largely uninteresting package, one that somehow fails to sustain interest through the majority of such a short experience. The two highlights of the album in “Eight Miles High” and the closer “2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)” exemplify this perfectly by balancing newfound interest in psychedelic experimentation with rhythm and guitar sound with the same old dreary harmonies that infect many of their records. “Hey Joe” is an even more sleepy and lazy iteration of The Byrds’ sound, or at least a more tangible representation of their focus. The combination of stuffy harmonies and overuse of jangly strumming twelve-strings make most of the album entirely forgettable and frustrating, particularly when there are moments of gratifying bravery amidst the drudgery. McGuinn’s guitar playing on “Eight Miles High”, and through some intermittent improvisations throughout the rest of the record, is truly one of the only aspects of the album’s sound that save it from being entirely uninteresting and unworthy of concern. Despite it’s placement directly in the middle of such a short album and perhaps being The Byrds’ best single, the song cannot save an entire record from becoming forgettable, especially in comparison to their contemporaries during the mid-sixties.