The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


2.0
poor

Review

by hyperboleking USER (5 Reviews)
July 23rd, 2007 | 114 replies


Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dreadfully over-rated, during this 40th anniversarry of the Summer of Love, it's time to re-evaluate the album most easily associated with that movement.

The Beatles were the single most influential rock group in history. With every leap the Beatles made, society took it with them. From their outspoken frankness on the issue of drugs in public to their studio experimentation on their later albums, it seems everything the Beatles did had a profound effect on our culture, the effects of which still last today.


With the release of Revolver in 1966, the Beatles solidified themselves, once again, as the most inventive group in rock n' roll. Though they played a bit with psychedelic textures on their previous album, Rubber Soul, the Beatles really broke through with Revolver. From the opening hard-rocker "Taxman," cynical of government and the concept of taxes, to the children-friendly "Yellow Submarine," to the album closing "Tomorrow Never Knows," the beginning of the psychedelic explosion of the late Sixties, the album was nothing if not revolutionary. This left a lot of expectation for their follow-up, expectations which unfortunately, the music establishment believed had been met. The album is an unoriginal, pretentious, boring experience.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band took hundreds of days in the studio to record, and there's no denying: The studio trickery is impressive for the time. But overall, the quality of this album is well below its predecessor, for several reasons.

It must first be noted that Sgt. Peppers seems to follow the exact template set by Revolver. Basically, its pacing isn't original one bit. As mentioned above, Revolver starts with a hard rocker. Hmmm.... surprise, the first song on Sgt Pepper is the self-titled track, which is a hard rocker. The mid-point of Revolver was a wacky children' song; Sgt. Pepper's mid-point is a wacky children’s song called "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!," this time with a circus theme. Revolver closed with a psychedelic freak-out? So does Sgt. Pepper, which closes with "A Day in the Life." I understand sticking to a working formula. But I don't understand how an album could be praised so for its originality when its format is a carbon copy of the previous one.

Speaking of originality: has anyone stopped to think about the fact that Sgt. Pepper really wasn't the first concept album? Mothers of Invention, The Beach Boys ("Pet Sounds" was claimed by Paul as a huge influence on this album), and The Kinks are all bands more likely to claim the "first concept album" title. And besides, even John Lennon once shot down the idea that that Sgt. Pepper is a concept album, announcing that his songs were never written to match any sort of theme. And indeed, only a small fraction of the songs in the album even seem to have anything to do with Sgt. Pepper or his band. 3 loosely related songs= concept album? Then Twisted Sister's "Stay Hungry" has been seriously underrated all these years.

But ignore all these facts. Alas, this album was revolutionary because of the cover! Before Sgt. Pepper, no one put so much thought into album covers! Of course, after Sgt. Pepper no one put so much thought into album covers, either, because there's no need for an album cover to have a collage of about a hundred different photographs and a bunch of cardboard cutouts inside. It's pointless.

But wait! We can't forget the drug references either! This album was revolutionary on the drug references front, because it contained songs with references to drugs just like every other rock album that came out that year, AND just like the album the Beatles had released the year before. Earth-shaking.

Actually, the truth is: Sgt. Pepper wasn't revolutionary at all, lyrically. The social and political messages of Revolver and other albums from other bands at the time are not here. The Beatles traded in social conscience for childish garbage like "...Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

Past Sgt. Pepper's utter lack of originality, we find pretentious pieces of over-tweaked, over-processed music that rarely, when not so cluttered with dizzying effects, allows a bit of musical genius to bleed through. One can't deny the uplifting nature of the optimistic tone of Ringo's voice in the chorus to "With A Little Help From my Friends," for instance. But of course, that's overwhelmingly the exception. This album is chock-full of useless pretension. The opening song features horns and applause sound effects, I suppose to make us feel like we're all sitting around watching Sgt. Pepper's band. Of course, we don't know and never will know a thing about Sgt. Pepper or his band because the concept is never developed. That's pretension if it ever existed. Or how about a five minute song consisting of an annoying sitar line in "Within You Without You," written by George? Psuedo-Eastern music vibes were one of the most annoying components of the psychedelic era, and this song sits only behind The Doors' "The End" as Offender #2 (the sitar track on Revolver earns number 3). And what's with all the stupid animal noises? And the orchestra? And the Vaudevillian crap? And the orchestra? If we can thank any one album for the garbage prog rock bands of the 60's and 70's, it is this album and this band. Thank you, Paul McCartney; we just love Yes and Genesis and Rush and ELP and Kansas.

Every track on this album is also weighed down by over-production. It would have been nice to hear some singing. Instead we hear robots, drenched in reverb, reciting words like they were programmed into their motherboards. I would love "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" if it actually sounded like John Lennon was singing with some degree of emotion. Well, I don't know that I would love it, actually. It would have to have some lyrics that made sense for me to love it. But compared to the rest of the album, it would stand out if it had some emotion. Ultimately, that is why the entire album fails. The emotion is gone and the production tricks are in, and it has stayed that way in many cases ever since this album.

That is probably why I hate the fact that this album was so undeniably influential. Granted, I don't think it was quite the achievement the Lennon-worshipping music press at the time predicted ("a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization," my foot), but this albums influence is still visible today: much pop music contains no emotion, much pop music is overbearingly pretentious, and much pop music contains no worthwhile message. For all of which we can thank Sgt. Pepper and his stupid band. And the Beatles.


user ratings (3119)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
burton.and.gas
July 23rd 2007


641 Comments


nice one for daring to give it this rating, i'm sorta like disagreeing, but myself i don't like many of these songs on this album, but i appreciate them, i'm more of a "revolver" man you see. All in all my favourite tracks are Tracks 1, 3, 12 and 13, and they're the only ones i like, but people are going to disagree with you aren't they?

hyperboleking
July 23rd 2007


407 Comments


"Speaking of originality: has anyone stopped to think about the fact that Sgt. Pepper really wasn't the first concept album? Mothers of Invention, The Beach Boys ("Pet Sounds" was claimed by Paul as a huge influence on this album), and The Kinks are all bands more likely to claim to the "first concept album" title. "

That should actually say "...more likely to lay claim to the 'first concept album' title." Sorry for the error. is there a way to edit reviews once you post em?

hyperboleking
July 23rd 2007


407 Comments


burton-- yes people will disagree. what can i say? i write what i want to write and as long as i'm not breaking any guidelines or the moderators are fine with it, i don't feel obliged to answer to anyone. you should see my sabbath review, lol.

i'm with you on revolver. some truly breathtaking songs on that album.

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 23rd 2007


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i like

you can edit your reviews by clicking my profile

descendents1
July 23rd 2007


702 Comments


Hyper, you should see what people consider great on this site and you'll see why we'll all be up in arms.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 23rd 2007


3773 Comments


You are my sort of reviewer. good job.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

MyRamona
July 23rd 2007


1088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review breadbin. Although I disagree with about 93% of what you say, this happens to be my second favourite beatles album. Trips me out, which for me oozes originality .

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
July 23rd 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

review is okay, I actually read the entire thing which is suprising considering the length. There are some argument flaws or things that you just felt like picking on for the fact of picking on (album cover), but nothing that destroys your argument completely. I simply don't know enough about the albums to back up your points.

oh and it's anniversary This Message Edited On 07.23.07

711
July 23rd 2007


1341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So what music do you like?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2007


16440 Comments


Do you even know what music is?

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

711
July 23rd 2007


1341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The review was good. I like the album a lot, but I'm sick of everyone thinking they have to like the Beatles just because everyone else does and they were influencial or whatever. Half the kids today who say they love the Beatles have never heard them. Kids wear Beatles t-shirts and hoodies and think they should because their dad owns the Beatles Greatest Hits on vinyl and they never listened to it.

711
July 23rd 2007


1341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Who cares if the album follows a formula?

Hyperbole king does obviously, he wrote the review. Thats a stupid question.

At the bottom of the review it says "was the review well written?", not "do you agree completely?"This Message Edited On 07.23.07

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2007


16440 Comments


Did you hear that? He LIKED Revolver!



So I guess he does know what music is, Crysis.


Thank god, I was starting to lose hope.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
July 23rd 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah well people do not get the concept of about the "was this review well written" yet, but still this review shouldn't have any votes either way, because it really is just chilling in the middle of the two. Because at times it is well written and other times it is just a rant-esque argument.

hyperboleking
July 23rd 2007


407 Comments


My Nevermind review was deleted, so I reposted it with more details about the album, though comparing the original to some of the other reviews on here, it already should have had enough. Check it out and give me your thoughts.

FR33L0RD
July 23rd 2007


1464 Comments


[quote=Crysis]Do you even know what music is?[/quote]
lol
This Message Edited On 07.23.07

hyperboleking
July 23rd 2007


407 Comments


hahaha. thanks fr33lord. Yeah, crysis doesn't like me too much. some people don't understand how to take something with a grain of salt.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2007


16440 Comments


Yeah, crysis doesn't like me too much. some people don't understand how to take something with a grain of salt.


I don't hate you. I just hate the fact that you post reviews which aren't very well written. This is the only review you've posted so far which is good (I gave you a positive vote if you didn't notice)This Message Edited On 07.23.07

hyperboleking
July 23rd 2007


407 Comments


i never claimed you hated me, mate. if you hated me i would assume you're nuts for getting mad over someone posted reviews on a website. i think my reviews are pretty well written. true, they're negative and they are over the top, but that is the style of writing. it is a bit polemical. underneath that there are some very real points about the content. i think people are missing that.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2007


16440 Comments


Just keep writing reviews like this one and you'll be fine, your Black Sabbath review and your Nirvana one were pretty bad. I hope to see a positive review soon so I know what you do like to listen to.



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