Review Summary: The beginning of a new era of The Beatles - one filled with drugs, blues, and some of the finest songs they've ever recorded.Beatles for Sale
marked the beginning of a new era of The Beatles. No longer were George, John, Paul, and Ringo four naïve boys writing about topics like girls and young love; they were finally growing up and started to develop their mature side. On here, their influences range from artists like Bob Dylan to Carl Perkins, fit with relatively dark songs and more realistic lyrics than ever before. This release featured the return of cover songs, six to be exact, which was a drastic change from the entirely original A Hard Day’s Night
. This time period was also the beginning of The Beatles’ drug use. Although it was only marijuana at the time, its effects are somewhat apparent in the back-to-basics approach they tried on this record.
Beatles for Sale
begins with a number of Beatles classics. ‘No Reply’ is a standard Lennon-McCartney song, albeit a darker one, telling the story of a man trying unsuccessfully to contact his unfaithful girlfriend. The tone of ‘No Reply’ already sets it apart from previous Beatles albums, since openers ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ ‘It Won’t Be Long,’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ were some of the more upbeat songs on their respective albums. Bob Dylan influenced ‘I’m a Loser’ features one of the two times Lennon hits a low G and makes one wonder why he doesn’t show off his low register more often. After the slow waltz of ‘Baby’s in Black,’ the album really starts rocking with the appropriately titled ‘Rock and Roll Music,’ only to be slowed down again in the lovely ballad ‘I’ll Follow the Sun.’
The middle of the album is where things don’t quite come together. ‘Mr. Moonlight’ is just unpleasant to the ears and is possibly the worst song The Beatles’ have recorded up to this point. Blues medley ‘Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey’ is a fun song, but not necessarily something you'd want to hear on a Beatles record. The only single ‘Eight Days a Week’ brings the album back to form though. It’s the most feel-good song on the album and has the infectious chorus:
Hold me, love me, hold me, love me.
Ain't got nothin' but love babe,
Eight days a week.
Buddy Holly cover ‘Words of Love,’ one of my personal favorites, is a very light-hearted pop song with a jingly melody guaranteed to put a smile on your face. ‘Every Little Thing’ has a similar effect, well placed after Ringo’s bluesy sole-singer on the album, ‘Honey Don’t.’ The closer is among the weakest of Beatles’ albums closers, something they would become excellent at in later releases (‘Run for Your Life,’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ ‘A Day in the Life’), but being the staple George Harrison sung song on the album, it’s not a bad listen by any means.
Beatles for Sale
may be the most overlooked Beatles album, but it’s a crucial element in the development of The Beatles. Their transition from a feel good pop band to a legendary progressive rock and roll band began here. You can tell The Beatles were in a different state of mind, taking their sound back to basics and honoring the roots of rock and roll itself while also taking their sound to places its never gone before. Of course this could be cause of the ridiculous amount of pot they smoked at the time, but I digress. Beatles for Sale
saw the maturation of one of rock and roll’s biggest legends, and although it’s no Sgt. Pepper
, it has its share of classics that wont be forgotten any time soon.
I’m a Loser
Baby’s in Black
Rock and Roll Music
Eight Days a Week
Words of Love