The Beatles – White Album (1968)

AllMusic Review: Each song on the sprawling double album The Beatles is an entity to itself, as the band touches on anything and everything it can. This makes for a frustratingly scattershot record or a singularly gripping musical experience, depending on your view, but what makes the so-called White Album interesting is its mess. Never before had a rock record been so self-reflective, or so ironic; the Beach Boys send-up “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and the British blooze parody “Yer Blues” are delivered straight-faced, so it’s never clear if these are affectionate tributes or wicked satires. Lennon turns in two of his best ballads with “Dear Prudence” and “Julia”; scours the Abbey Road vaults for the musique concrète collage “Revolution 9”; pours on the schmaltz for Ringo’s closing number, “Good Night”; celebrates the Beatles cult with “Glass Onion”; and, with “Cry Baby Cry,” rivals Syd Barrett. McCartney doesn’t reach quite as far, yet his songs are stunning — the music hall romp “Honey Pie,” the mock country of “Rocky Raccoon,” the ska-inflected “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” and the proto-metal roar of “Helter Skelter.” Clearly, the Beatles’ two main songwriting forces were no longer on the same page, but neither were George and Ringo. Harrison still had just two songs per LP, but it’s clear from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the canned soul of “Savoy Truffle,” the haunting “Long, Long, Long,” and even the silly “Piggies” that he had developed into a songwriter who deserved wider exposure. And Ringo turns in a delight with his first original, the lumbering country-carnival stomp “Don’t Pass Me By.” None of it sounds like it was meant to share album space together, but somehow The Beatles creates its own style and sound through its mess. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Back in the U.S.S.R.” McCartney 2:43
2. “Dear Prudence” Lennon 3:56
3. “Glass Onion” Lennon 2:18
4. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” McCartney 3:08
5. “Wild Honey Pie” McCartney 0:52
6. “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” Lennon, with Yoko Ono 3:14
7. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (George Harrison) Harrison 4:45
8. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” Lennon 2:47
Total length: 23:43
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Martha My Dear” McCartney 2:28
2. “I’m So Tired” Lennon 2:03
3. “Blackbird” McCartney 2:18
4. “Piggies” (Harrison) Harrison 2:04
5. “Rocky Raccoon” McCartney 3:33
6. “Don’t Pass Me By” (Richard Starkey) Starr 3:51
7. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” McCartney 1:41
8. “I Will” McCartney 1:46
9. “Julia” Lennon 2:57
Total length: 22:41
Side three
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Birthday” McCartney with Lennon 2:42
2. “Yer Blues” Lennon 4:01
3. “Mother Nature’s Son” McCartney 2:48
4. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” Lennon 2:24
5. “Sexy Sadie” Lennon 3:15
6. “Helter Skelter” McCartney 4:30
7. “Long, Long, Long” (Harrison) Harrison 3:08
Total length: 22:48
Side four
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Revolution 1” Lennon 4:15
2. “Honey Pie” McCartney 2:41
3. “Savoy Truffle” (Harrison) Harrison 2:54
4. “Cry Baby Cry” Lennon, with McCartney 3:02
5. “Revolution 9” Speaking from Lennon, Harrison, Ono and George Martin 8:15
6. “Good Night” Starr 3:14
Total length: 24:21

 

Schill Score: 9.25/10

Listen to Album Below

Comments are closed.