Rubber Soul – The Beatles – 1965
Claimed Sales: 13m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Rubber Soul marks the true turning point in the career of The Beatles. Fresh off a series of soundtrack albums for films starring the band, it’s the first true ‘album’ they released and all but changed the format for good. There’s certainly big hit-worthy singles on here, but it’s much more of a single body of work than anyone would have expected from the boys just two years after Beatlemania. Drive My Car opens things in standard McCartney fashion, but even this seemingly safe opener plays around with tempo and sets the tone for a pop record with an edge. It’s the lyrics where the biggest change can be heard – songs like In My Life, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) allow Lennon and McCartney to explore more imaginative songwriting, with much more left up to interpretation than in their previous work. The harmonies heard on The Word and Wait are some of the best the band have ever sung, while Michelle‘s use of french lyrics suits both the style and album itself. The quality of songwriting remains pretty consistent throughout, save for the major misstep of interpolating the lyrics ‘I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man’ from an Elvis record on the poorly chosen closer Run For Your Life. This anomaly aside, Rubber Soul definitely one of the better of The Beatles records that I have heard. It’s a band with a new confidence and just starting to dare to do something with the talent they haven’t been able to fully explore yet.
Will I listen again?: I’d go back to this album before some of the others in The Beatles discography.
Best Track: Wait was probably my favourite track I discovered here, it sounded like a band in harmony with each other in a way that Beatles songs that would follow in later years just fail to match.