55. The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)
1. Drive My Car
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won't See Me
4. Nowhere Man
5. Think For Yourself
8. What Goes On
10. I'm Looking Through You
11. In My Life
13. If I Needed Someone
14. Run For Your Life
This is when The Beatles turn, and obviously for the best. Rubber Soul is the big turning point from run of the mill rock music to something else. Something truly original. Are they the best band in the world? No, not really, some songs here are insufferable as is the case of Michelle. A bit too sacharine for its own good. On the other hand Nowhere Man is a completely unromantic song, which is something different for the time.
Even the cover design is original, The Beatles have become such a household name that they don't even need to have their name on the album cover. Just the album title. Of course the Stones had done this before -- with their debut album! And they didn't even had the album title on the cover! -- but not for the US market.
Still, this is a pretty amazing thing and quite a contrast to the albums I've been reviewing. You got sitars and mandolins in a rock album! Lyrics wise they are at the top of their game and good examples of this are Norwegian Wood and Girl. On the downside (or upside depending on your preferences) there's the obssessive/psychopathic Run For Your Life about how they'd kill a girl who betrayed them.
Still, here is where you can get the real big change in the 60's and therefore it's essential hearing and one of the best Beatles albums. Buy it at Amazon UK or US
1. Norwegian Wood
2. In My Life
4. Nowhere Man
The exact meaning of the title "Norwegian Wood" remains a mystery. The name of the song is mentioned in the first verse ("She showed me her room / Isn't it good? / Norwegian wood?") and again in its last line ("So, I lit a fire / Isn't it good? / Norwegian wood?"). Some say that "Norwegian Wood" may be a pun with a nickname of a strong variety of marijuana. Others claim the final line of the song implies that the singer burned the home of the girl (the apparent official version, according to McCartney) using the furniture as fuel, or burned the girl's furniture in the fireplace. The producer/fifth-Beatle George Martin was asked what the text was about and answered:
My wife is going to give me a hard time for saying this. It was one of John's indiscretions. I remember we were sitting at the veranda outside our hotel rooms in St. Moritz and John was playing at his guitar and working out the text: I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me. He felt that Cynthia had tricked him to marry her. "Norwegian Wood" was a play on the words "knowing she would".
Lennon stated that he had used "Girl" to indirectly slam the Catholic church. By referring to "pain [leading] to pleasure," he expressed his conflicting views with the religion.
Run For Your Life:
Reflecting his [John Lennon's] negative, even misogynistic view of male-female relationships at the time, the song lyrics establish a threatening tone towards the singer's unnamed girlfriend (referred to throughout the song as "little girl"), claiming "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man". Lennon designated this song his "least favorite Beatles song" in a 1973 interview.