Paint it White

The White Album, 1968

I’m quite a huge Beatle fan, having discovered them only in my first years in college. Since then I indulged in lots of Beatles, drowning my ears with Sgt. Pepper’s, Rubber Soul, The Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, and even the anthologies. The White Album, however, remains to be unheard in my playlist, so I gave it quite a chance before trashing it in my ‘panget na album’ list.

And yes, the patience paid off and listening to the White Album proved to be an experience. It appears to me as one of the most holistic Beatle album in their discography. It has some hints of their iconic, moptop ‘chuwariwap’ skiffle (With the Beatles), their drug-driven psychedelic experiments (Magical Mystery Tour), McCartney’s cheesy ballads and very raw rock and roll characteristic of their Let It Be record. It is indeed their whole musical repertoire in one album.

I will cite some notable songs: Lennon’s Glass Onion seems to give us an idea of his foreboding departure from the band, as it summarizes his career with a rather sarcastic take. Happiness is a Warm Gun is a very complex song, even having some polyrythmic instances that really shocked me, and maybe all the listeners who regard the Beatles as pure, shallow pop. While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Helter Skelter gives us some taste of proto-metal elements (here comes the devil’s horns!) that, again, may shock ignorant metalheads who nothing beyond Cradle of Filth and the like.  Blackbird is yet again another complex handpicked song, a staple for guitargod wannabees.

The album also has gems for Ringo and Harrison fans like Don’ Pass Me By which balances the hardcore-ness of the Lennon and McCartney songs. Revolution 1 and 9, on the other hand, are characteristic of Lennon’s increasing leaning for politics and artistic weirdness (Revolution 9 in fact sounds like Lennon and Yoko’s Two Virgins).

The White Album then is really one of the most musically mature albums that the Beatles has ever made. Better to go beyond “All My Loving”, “Hey Jude” and other Beatle staples, folks.

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