Review Summary: "...When you're listening late at night, You may think the band are not quite right. But they are, They just play it like that."
Before actually speaking about this particular release, I should state that this particular effort was meant to be seen as a film soundtrack rather than an actual Beatles' album. After all, this particular effort was really more of an excuse to release previously recorded content that were never used. Yellow Submarine
, both the film and it's soundtrack, can be seen as the final product of The Beatles' Psychedelic era. The album truly reflects the sound of 1967's Magical Mystery Tour
, as the Psychedelic influences are much more evident than previous releases.
Yellow Submarine is divided into two sections; the first part being actual songs written by The Beatles, while the other section contains instrumental scores that are featured in the actual film, written by their producer George Martin. During The Beatles' Psychedelic phase, George Harrison in particular, developed a reputation for his anomalous contributions to the albums. But these particular Psychedelic compositions don't contain his usual influence of Raga/Indian music. Yellow Submarine "truly" begins and ends with George Harrison's compositions, "Only A Northern Song"
and "It's All Too Much"
. Both songs share similar aesthetics, though "Only A Northern Song"
uses a barrage of eccentric noise samples that are used to create a Psychedelic atmosphere. "It's All Too Much"
, is a bit easier to conceive as it has a much more pop-oriented orchestration, while relying on guitar distortion to create a Psychedelic effect. The lyrics also reflect George Harrison's usual philosophical ambiguity.
The compositions written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney have a more conventional structure. "All Together Now"
, is a Skiffle acoustic piece with the same "sing-along" nature as the eponymous track, "Yellow Submarine"
. "Hey Bulldog"
, has a more elevated pace than the rest of the other tracks, as it displays a return to a typical Rock and Roll sound. The orchestral ballad, "All You Need Is Love"
, yet again serves as the denouement for the first side of the album as it did in Magical Mystery Tour. The second part of the album contains compositions written by the fifth Beatle, George Martin. All of the orchestrations are instrumental passages used in the film. The film scores all share a similar sound of amalgamated structures containing classical music, Raga, and of course, Psychedelic influences.
Again, Yellow Submarine is more of a collection of songs released to compliment the film, and not an actual Beatles' effort. Perhaps one of the more evident reasons this release is overlooked lies within George Harrison's experimental contributions. For example, "Within You Without You"
from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
, is often ignored for it's anomalous nature but in reality, the song contains a rich presence of spirituality and intellectualism. "It's All Too Much"
, may lack the Indian mysticism but there is a similar feeling of spirituality within the music and it's lyrics. In reality, there is a much higher purpose within Harrison's contributions as something to meditate than in Lennon and McCartney's traditional "catchy" compositions. But even here, in this collection of previously released material and songs that were ignored over time, lie some interesting experiences. Yellow Submarine may always be the ignored or forgotten release by the band, but for fans of The Beatles, it at least deserves a listen.