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Author Topic: Rank the Beatles' Studio Albums  (Read 5936 times)
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« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2015, 09:26:27 PM »

Don't worry, everyone. I've decided that Tommy is worse.

Here's what my ranking would look like:
1. AHDN
2. Revolver
3. The Beatles
4. Rubber Soul
5. With the Beatles
6. SPLHCB
7. Please Please Me
8. Magical Mystery Tour

Here's where things get a bit murky:
9. Beatles for Sale
10. Help!
11. Abbey Road
12. Let It Be
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« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2015, 01:04:17 AM »

It kind of blows my mind that about half the voters have put Abbey Road in their top two. Maybe I'll have to listen to it some more. I never thought there to be much substance there. ("You Never Give Me Your Money" is great though.)

I think their most underrated album is Beatles For Sale. The covers are poor but the originals are awesome.
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« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2015, 01:40:23 AM »

(MMT) - sure, but a personal fave, despite the dubious origins/is it an album definition.

I don't think think it should be included in these type of lists. Otherwise we might as well include other compilations...
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« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2015, 04:46:21 AM »

Bubbly - I wasn't clear: I guess I understood what you were saying, just not why you were quoting me, especially the bit about revolutionary for 1967, listening with those ears, or 1967. I was born a decade after it was released and became a focused music listener about a decade after that. I heard "it was twenty years ago today" when it was twenty years ago. So anything about how revolutionary it might have been to 1967 ears is a thought experiment for me, and not the basis of why I love it. And neither Rolling Stone (irrelevant by the time I paid attention) nor anything else tells me what to like. (Though I do love and will defend music criticism. I think it's extremely valuable, just not some authority. That's for another thread.) I listened to Pepper with a child's and teen's 1980s ears, with a teen and twentysomething's 1990s ears, and so on. But never '60s ears, as I've never had those. And the ears I've got and had are the ones that tell me it's the best Beatles album, and among the best of anyone's albums.

Your production argument just doesn't make sense to me, either, as the final result is rewarding. As long as that's the case, I don't think they have anything to apologize for. I think those songs are really good, and great production atop them is nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. There are always different aspects that go into recorded music, and picking apart one or the other of them as a fatal flaw only seems justified to me when they are indeed fatal. Pepper feels alive and well to my ears, so I'm not going to bother with whether the songs would stand out as campfire songs on an acoustic guitar. The product as released is an amazing album.

Hope that makes sense.

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« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2015, 05:18:57 AM »

Abbey Road is possibly the worst "classic" album.

While I respect your opinion on Abbey Road, I'm just curious as to why you feel its the worst "classic" album. 

Just so we can stop using the annoying quotation marks, what I meant by that was, of all the albums that are now considered to be classic, Abbey Road is possibly the worst one.

Most of the songs simply aren't good. Hell, the whole second half is a bunch of songs they couldn't be bothered to finish, so they (ingeniously, I'll admit) glued them all together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. The quiet Beatle is the only one who contributes anything that can stand on its own. It's all pretty, sparkly production covering up lacking songwriting. I have the same complaint about most of Sgt. Pepper's.

Fair enough. 

But, IMO, all four fabs contributed stand alone songs to Side 1.  John had Come Together and I Want You (She's So Heavy).  Paul had Oh Darling and You Never Give Me Your Money.  Even Ringo delivered with Octopus's Garden. 

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« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2015, 05:40:56 AM »

Bubbly - I wasn't clear: I guess I understood what you were saying, just not why you were quoting me, especially the bit about revolutionary for 1967, listening with those ears, or 1967. I was born a decade after it was released and became a focused music listener about a decade after that. I heard "it was twenty years ago today" when it was twenty years ago. So anything about how revolutionary it might have been to 1967 ears is a thought experiment for me, and not the basis of why I love it. And neither Rolling Stone (irrelevant by the time I paid attention) nor anything else tells me what to like. (Though I do love and will defend music criticism. I think it's extremely valuable, just not some authority. That's for another thread.) I listened to Pepper with a child's and teen's 1980s ears, with a teen and twentysomething's 1990s ears, and so on. But never '60s ears, as I've never had those. And the ears I've got and had are the ones that tell me it's the best Beatles album, and among the best of anyone's albums.

Your production argument just doesn't make sense to me, either, as the final result is rewarding. As long as that's the case, I don't think they have anything to apologize for. I think those songs are really good, and great production atop them is nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. There are always different aspects that go into recorded music, and picking apart one or the other of them as a fatal flaw only seems justified to me when they are indeed fatal. Pepper feels alive and well to my ears, so I'm not going to bother with whether the songs would stand out as campfire songs on an acoustic guitar. The product as released is an amazing album.

Hope that makes sense.


I confess to having listened to Pepper with 1967 ears and I remember being blown away by the production, particularly the use of "phasing", which had just made its appearance. An engineer aboard the "Radio London" pirate ship, Russell Tollerfield, phased all sorts of stuff on the air, including "A Day In The Life"----imagine the closing chord fizzing with phasing... 

Whai I thought of the music? I don't know. I know what I like now (basically "Getting Better", "Lovely Rita" and "Good Morning, Good Morning"). For some reason "ADITL" depressed the hell out of me, still does. Give me the shimmering sounds of "Caroline, No" as an album closer any day. Grin
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« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2015, 06:19:57 AM »

It kind of blows my mind that about half the voters have put Abbey Road in their top two. Maybe I'll have to listen to it some more. I never thought there to be much substance there. ("You Never Give Me Your Money" is great though.)

I think their most underrated album is Beatles For Sale. The covers are poor but the originals are awesome.

I actually like the covers on this album, even the usually panned Mr. Moonlight.  However, its too bad Leave My Kitten Alone got left off. 
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« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2015, 10:35:01 AM »

It kind of blows my mind that about half the voters have put Abbey Road in their top two. Maybe I'll have to listen to it some more. I never thought there to be much substance there. ("You Never Give Me Your Money" is great though.)

I think their most underrated album is Beatles For Sale. The covers are poor but the originals are awesome.

No doubt.

No Reply, I'm a Loser, Baby's in Black, I'll Follow the Sun, Eight Days a Week, and I Don't Want to Spoil the Party are great tracks. 
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« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2015, 11:39:58 AM »

It kind of blows my mind that about half the voters have put Abbey Road in their top two. Maybe I'll have to listen to it some more. I never thought there to be much substance there. ("You Never Give Me Your Money" is great though.)

I think their most underrated album is Beatles For Sale. The covers are poor but the originals are awesome.

I actually like the covers on this album, even the usually panned Mr. Moonlight.  However, its too bad Leave My Kitten Alone got left off. 

I actually like them too, except maybe "Honey Don't". I meant relatively poor by Beatles standards.
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« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2015, 11:56:54 AM »

It kind of blows my mind that about half the voters have put Abbey Road in their top two. Maybe I'll have to listen to it some more. I never thought there to be much substance there. ("You Never Give Me Your Money" is great though.)

I think their most underrated album is Beatles For Sale. The covers are poor but the originals are awesome.

No doubt.

No Reply, I'm a Loser, Baby's in Black, I'll Follow the Sun, Eight Days a Week, and I Don't Want to Spoil the Party are great tracks. 

And Every Little Thing!
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« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2015, 12:05:22 PM »

I'm a big fan of Beatles for Sale.  It's a testament to how strong their catalog is that I have it ranked as my lowest non-Yellow Submarine album. 
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« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2015, 01:12:07 PM »

Bubbly - I wasn't clear: I guess I understood what you were saying, just not why you were quoting me, especially the bit about revolutionary for 1967, listening with those ears, or 1967. I was born a decade after it was released and became a focused music listener about a decade after that. I heard "it was twenty years ago today" when it was twenty years ago. So anything about how revolutionary it might have been to 1967 ears is a thought experiment for me, and not the basis of why I love it. And neither Rolling Stone (irrelevant by the time I paid attention) nor anything else tells me what to like. (Though I do love and will defend music criticism. I think it's extremely valuable, just not some authority. That's for another thread.) I listened to Pepper with a child's and teen's 1980s ears, with a teen and twentysomething's 1990s ears, and so on. But never '60s ears, as I've never had those. And the ears I've got and had are the ones that tell me it's the best Beatles album, and among the best of anyone's albums.

Your production argument just doesn't make sense to me, either, as the final result is rewarding. As long as that's the case, I don't think they have anything to apologize for. I think those songs are really good, and great production atop them is nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. There are always different aspects that go into recorded music, and picking apart one or the other of them as a fatal flaw only seems justified to me when they are indeed fatal. Pepper feels alive and well to my ears, so I'm not going to bother with whether the songs would stand out as campfire songs on an acoustic guitar. The product as released is an amazing album.

Hope that makes sense.

The reason I mentioned the "revolutionary" thing was because I was throwing my own thoughts into the mix on the issue of acclaim and subsequent decrease in acclaim for Sgt. Pepper's. "Listening with 1967 ears" has nothing to do with when you were born. If you love the album for its music, that's fabulous. Most of the praise I see amounts to "put yourself back in time to 1967... isn't this album amazing!" Well, sure, it probably was amazing when it came out in 1967. However, it's not that time period anymore and people shouldn't have to do that to fully appreciate something. They should be able to listen to it and rate it now without that thought process. And it's esteem in recent times is on a downward slope, whatever that may mean for anybody who cares. I think the title of "most revolutionary album" instead of "greatest album" would be more fitting for it at this point.

The Rolling Stone thing was just a joke. I know how seriously people take their lists around here. Besides, what are the chances that Pepper's wouldn't at least make the top 3 of that Rolling Stone list?

Where we differ on the album is you think most of the songs are good. I do not. There is, of course, no shame in excellent production. I just wish they put as much work into the actual songs as they did into creating the production for each one. You can put all the icing you want on it, but as long as the cake is made of dirt and hair, it's not going to be a good cake.
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« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2015, 03:15:03 PM »

Yeah, I guess I was taking your post as some direct response, and I wasn't getting it as a response. No problems.

I really do think the songs are good, though! I think you're in the majority on this and I'm in the minority, but for whatever reason, I fully believe in those songs. Just love 'em to death.

On the "of its time" topic, though, while it wasn't what I meant to defend Pepper, I would say there is absolute value in being perfectly of your own time, even if you're irrelevant afterward. And an album like that could honestly be the best ever, if it was just so perfectly of its time. I think there's real value in that. That said, I also love the slow burners. I just have a strange approach, I think, where I think music is so many different things that there are many different ways to be great. That's also why I feel weird rating and ranking things.
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« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2015, 10:57:00 PM »

1 - Rubber Soul
2 - A Hard Days Night
3- Meet the Beatles
4 - Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
5 - Abbey Road
6- Revolver
7- Beatles VI
8- Beatles '65
9- Magical Mystery Tour
10- The Beatles
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« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2015, 12:44:23 PM »

But, one thing has always been surprising to me and that has been the overwhelming praise of Rubber Soul and Revolver. I just don't get it, and I'm not trying to start anything. It's a lot like Brian Wilson's love of Phil Spector and specifically "Be My Baby". I appreciate and enjoy Spector's work very much, and "Be My Baby" is a great record. But it never knocked me out or blew me away like it did with BW and other music fans. With Rubber Soul and Revolver, they are usually at the top of polls, but those albums just don't get to me like the other Beatles' albums. I think Rubber Soul and Revolver are both consistently good albums, but, to me, they don't have the "high points" that the other albums have.

Agreed. Especially with Rubber Soul, yes, it's a good album, but for me it does have a few dull, gimmicky tracks like Girl, Michelle, and average stuff (for them) like Wait, Run For Your Life and most of side 2 in general really, In My Life excepted.

Revolver is very good indeed at times, but I listen to it mainly for Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, I'm Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows, the latter obviously one of their greatest tracks.

It has amused me that, in the last 25 or so, the Brit Pop crowd in the '90s and many polls seemed to go mad for these more 'conservative' albums while claiming Pepper and Mystery Tour as 'shallow' or 'self-indulgent'. I've long felt if you put Sgt Pepper together with the best tracks from MMT and you'd have the ultimate Beatles album certainly Beatles as sonic innovators with inspired song-writing. I mean, an album with Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, A Day in the Life, Within You Without You, She's Leaving Home, I Am The Walrus and Blue Jay Way ...

As they are, I'd say I love Abbey Road and White Album the most. I never really 'got' the White Album until I got the remaster. The original CD release always sounded dull and muddy to me, while the remaster was truly a revelation. Songs and lyrics that were previously unclear and muffled were now pristine and understandable. From being one of my lower ranking Beatles albums, it probably now ties for number 1.

Am talking about the UK versions of these albums.
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« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2015, 02:35:53 PM »

Please, let's concentrate on the original UK releases! Otherwise there's no comparability between listings.

And "Magical Mystery Tour" doesn't count as a regular Beatles-LP. Nowhere! Because it and was never conceived as such, for any market. It was originally a Double-Single/E.P. in Britain and Europe and a compilation album made by Capitol in the States a few weeks later. It just doesn't compare to the others in terms of context and artistic intention! It's as fruitless as ranking "Endless Summer", "Bona Drag" or "The Masterplan" with "Pet Sounds", "Your Arsenal" and "Definitely Maybe"!
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« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2015, 10:52:34 PM »

Please, let's concentrate on the original UK releases! Otherwise there's no comparability between listings.

And "Magical Mystery Tour" doesn't count as a regular Beatles-LP. Nowhere! Because it and was never conceived as such, for any market. It was originally a Double-Single/E.P. in Britain and Europe and a compilation album made by Capitol in the States a few weeks later. It just doesn't compare to the others in terms of context and artistic intention! It's as fruitless as ranking "Endless Summer", "Bona Drag" or "The Masterplan" with "Pet Sounds", "Your Arsenal" and "Definitely Maybe"!
The Beatles and Apple consider it a proper album - that's why it was available on cd long before the other American albums. I love the US albums, though, grew up with them. MMT was my first Beatles album, followed by Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Hey Jude, then A Hard Days Night, Help, The Early Beatles, and Beatles VI.
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« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2015, 12:46:38 AM »

Please, let's concentrate on the original UK releases! Otherwise there's no comparability between listings.

And "Magical Mystery Tour" doesn't count as a regular Beatles-LP. Nowhere! Because it and was never conceived as such, for any market. It was originally a Double-Single/E.P. in Britain and Europe and a compilation album made by Capitol in the States a few weeks later. It just doesn't compare to the others in terms of context and artistic intention! It's as fruitless as ranking "Endless Summer", "Bona Drag" or "The Masterplan" with "Pet Sounds", "Your Arsenal" and "Definitely Maybe"!

"Magical Mystery Tour", "Bona Drag" and "The Masterplan", unlike "Endless Summer" (the big odd one out in your list), all are predominantly made up songs unavailable on other albums. So they get filed alongside the albums proper and get listened to just as often. More often in some cases. The Beatles/Apple recognised the utility of the MMT album when the CDs came out, if not before. I only left it off my list because I forgot about it. I'd rank it quite high.
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« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2015, 09:29:58 PM »

Magical Mystery Tour
Revolver
Rubber  Soul
Hard  Days Night
Help
Abbey Road
Sgt. Pepper
Please Please Me

The rest of them are  not  of consequence  to me
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« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2015, 07:28:50 PM »

1 - Rubber Soul
1.25 - Sgt Pepper
1.25 - Revolver

... the middle ones are almost a tie, hard to rank them ...

12. Beatles for Sale (would be better if it had fewer covers)
13. Please Please Me
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« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2015, 07:46:42 PM »

Please Please Me at the very bottom? Wow. That album was - the WHOLE dang thing - was recorded in one day. ONE. DAY.

Number 13? wow.

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« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2015, 11:41:58 AM »

Please Please Me at the very bottom? Wow. That album was - the WHOLE dang thing - was recorded in one day. ONE. DAY.

Number 13? wow.

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Slight correction - 10 of the 14 songs were done in one day.  Still an amazing feat of course!

Rank the albums - very hard, it always depends on my mood.  But like most, Rubber Soul and Revolver are probably the top two overall.  I think A Hard Days Night is one of the best, certainly of the first 5 albums it's the best (all 13 songs are Lennon-McCartney originals, no weak Harrison song, and no weak Ringo sung song, high energy, great sound quality, the Mersey Sound at it's peak). 

I like With The Beatles over Please Please Me as their songwriting matured big time, they moved to 4 track, and John didn't have a cold!

Beatles For Sale is an enigma.  You have 8 superb originals, and 6 covers.  Rock and Roll Music, Honey Don't, Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby, Mr. Moonlight, Kansas City are all dated covers that could have been on Please Please Me - although they all sound great.  Words Of Love is the best cover, but I am a big Buddy Holly fan.  Had I Feel Fine and She's A Woman been included instead of two covers, it would have been much stronger.

Help! is very good, but it too has some covers that could have been passed on and some weaker original material for a change (Tell Me What You See, You Like Me Too Much).  Interesting to note that That Means A Lot was available and was passed on (I like it).  Act Naturally was a better choice than If You Got Trouble for Ringo.  Dizzy Miss Lizzy is a powerhouse vocal from John, but again, it was technically filler for lack of original material.  They could have used I'm Down or Yes It Is, but they wanted the fans to have value.

Sgt Pepper I love, but it's more art like Smile so I don't play it as much.  MMT to me is just a collection of singles and EP tracks, not a cohesive album.  White Album and Abbey Road are both great. 
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« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2015, 12:57:07 PM »

Please Please Me at the very bottom? Wow. That album was - the WHOLE dang thing - was recorded in one day. ONE. DAY.

Number 13? wow.

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It's a good album, it's just that it happens to be the least good of all their albums IMO.
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« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2015, 06:28:44 PM »

Please Please Me at the very bottom? Wow. That album was - the WHOLE dang thing - was recorded in one day. ONE. DAY.

Number 13? wow.

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What does that have to do with anything?
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And, for anyone who has actually experienced them, surfing and cars carry PLENTY of emotion and life experience. They can carry as much metaphor as any Van Dyke Parks clever epistle.
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« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2015, 04:27:33 AM »

 1. Revolver
 2. Rubber Soul
 3. A Hard Day's Night
 4. Abbey Road
 5. The Beatles
 6. Sgt. Pepper
 7. Magical Mystery Tour
 8. With the Beatles
 9. Beatles for Sale
 10. Help
 11.Please Please Me
 12. Let It Be
 13. Yellow Submarine
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