Music Critic Greg Woodin reviews Carnival Magnifico 2018 at the newly opened B5 ArenaWritten by Greg Woodin on 20th June 2018
Essential Albums: The Beatles – Rubber Soul
Sam Arrowsmith praises this seminal work by The Beatles
As I write this, I currently live in a student household. This particular household is home to four of us, who have many things in common. One of these things (apart from all of us being, in our own way, inexplicably weird) is that we are all fans of The Beatles (from Liverpool). Despite The Beatles (from Liverpool) being in the public conscience for nearly sixty years, I'd only really begun exploring their work when they came on Spotify as a digital Christmas present to all the good children in 2015. When I was bingeing all of the albums of The Beatles (from Liverpool) over the last several months, I found that Rubber Soul was the album which I found hard to find much fault with. I would never say that there is an inherently rubbish album in their catalogue, but I completely fell in love with the album when I first heard it. Apart from one song, all of them were songs I'd never heard before, so I was in for a pleasant surprise.
“Rubber Soul is the first album that the group consciously made an album which worked as a whole to make an artistic piece, rather than just a collection of songs
Like so much of the band's work in their previous albums, a lot of the songs on the album are about love and romance in some form or another. This includes casual sex in ‘Drive My Car’, an extramarital affair in ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, anxieties about love in ‘You Won't See Me’ and ‘Wait’, a joyous expression of love in ‘The Word’ and ‘Michelle’, a love that's slipping away in ‘Think For Yourself’ and ‘I'm Looking Through You", hypothetical love in ‘Girl’ and ‘If I Needed Someone’ and finally a sort of creepy, threatening kind of love in ‘Run For Your Life’ (I'm not going to be singing the praises of this last piece for sure, and even John Lennon admitted in later years this was his least favourite song that he wrote). There are some personal pieces from Lennon in here as well - an acute comment on being unable to focus on songwriting and isolation in ‘Nowhere Man’ and a wider insight into remembering all of the years gone by in ‘In My Life’ (this was the song I had heard before, and have never fallen out of love with). When researching for this article, I couldn't find much on ‘What Goes On’, the song Ringo ‘helped’ with. All I'll say about it is that it's an upbeat song with a country twang, but otherwise harmless.
“‘In My Life’ is a slower, more thoughtful composition compared to the rest of the album, as Lennon reflects on memories of his childhood and those he loves and once loved
I'm aware that there are some songs on the album that I've deliberately skimmed over, those being ‘What Goes On’ and ‘Run For Your Life’. Regardless, I still feel that this album is a particularly cohesive work, if not the most cohesive work, by The Beatles (fr- wait I killed that joke off). I get that Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's might be more experimental and heralded as more influential (though ‘Yellow Submarine’ lets the rest of Revolver down), and I get that this period in the band's work may seem weirder than those who are fans of the ‘early era’ albums like Help! and A Hard Day's Night, but I can't help but feel that Rubber Soul, as a whole art-piece album, has a certain unity and cohesive magic that the other albums don't necessarily have - a ‘rubber soul’ to use the album's namesake. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe I'm just trying to subvert my housemate's favourite Beatles works by picking a slightly more idiosyncratic work to discuss in an article. I don't know really. I just enjoy it and that's the end of that.
Oh, by the way, it was ‘The Word’ that Lennon and McCartney wrote whilst high.