Rubber Soul [2012 LP]by The Beatles
While the Beatles still largely stuck to love songs on Rubber Soul, the lyrics represented a quantum leap in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and complex ambiguities. Musically, too, it was a substantial leap forward, with intricate folk-rock arrangements that reflected the increasing influence of Dylan and the Byrds. The group and George Martin were also beginning to expand the conventional instrumental parameters of the rock group, using a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," Greek-like guitar lines on "Michelle" and "Girl," fuzz bass on "Think for Yourself," and a piano made to sound like a harpsichord on the instrumental break of "In My Life." While John and Paul were beginning to carve separate songwriting identities at this point, the album is full of great tunes, from "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "Michelle" to "Girl," "I'm Looking Through You," "You Won't See Me," "Drive My Car," and "Nowhere Man" (the last of which was the first Beatle song to move beyond romantic themes entirely). George Harrison was also developing into a fine songwriter with his two contributions, "Think for Yourself" and the Byrds-ish "If I Needed Someone." [A remasterd vinyl version was released in 2012.]
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When The Beatles first released LPs in the 1960s, each record surpassed the previous one. "Rubber Soul" is no exception. It represents an evolution in their recording career. It shows more polish than their previous records and the songwriting tops any of their previous efforts. As the recording technology of the 1960s progressed, so did The Beatles experimentation in the studio. "Rubber Soul" is one of my favorite Beatles' LPs (although I can't really choose a favorite) because it set more precedents and pushed the envelope just a little more. They were no longer apprehensive about "thinking outside of the box." I bought the LP version (I already bought all of the CD versions in the late 1980s). The bass end is smoothe and the high end is crisp. I enjoy the analog sound of the LPs more than the digital sound of the CDs. The mastering process for LPs, even if they are taken from digital sources, gives the record a more "true" (high fidelity) tonal quality. Of course, I have a great system in which I run my turntable through analog inputs. I also have some vintage JBL Studio Control Room Monitors. Considering the quality of my system coupled with the quality of the vinyl pressing, I have the means to hear "Rubber Soul" and other LPs the way they were meant to be heard. A side by side comparison between the CDs and the LPs makes it obvious that the LP quality far surpasses the current digitally remastered CDs. On 09/09/09 EMI intends to release new digital remasters of The Beatles' catalog on CD. The CDs of The Beatles UK and USA versions were done in 1987. Digital music has come a long way since the '80s. They will be in special packaging that will also contain the original liner notes. EMI has been working for years to get this catalog remastered. These new EMI versions will be released worldwide. I hope they are everything that they are promised to be. Audiophiles have been complaining about the 1987 versions since they were first released. Finally EMI is listening. I highly recommend purchasing the LP version of "Rubber Soul." Also, if you MUST buy it on CD, buy the EMI/Toshiba/Japan versions which are also available from Barnes and Noble. But definitely look into the new versions when they are released on 09/09/09.