Revolver was The Beatles' seventh album, and marked a pronounced shift in the band's sound as a whole. Revolver was released nearly on the heels of Rubber Soul, but the two albums have very different sounds -- we hear here the introduction of a much stronger electric guitar sound vs. the more prevalent acoustic guitar on all of their previous albums. Some psychedelic influence is here as well -- Revolver's chief achievement is bringing what we now consider the classic '60's sound to the forefront of popular attention. The album is a landmark for The Beatles. From there on out, they would transform their legacy into one of a group that relentlessly experimented and innovated in the studio.
"Taxman", the lead track, featuring a wonderfully rhythmic bass line and an energetic guitar solo that immediately hooks the listener. The album then segues into the deceptively simple, "Eleanor Rigby", my personal favorite track. The lyrics are rife with imagery, and the string backing is wonderfully executed. "For No One" is a bittersweet melody about the end of a relationship, and is also an excellent track. The plucky piano on "I Want to Tell You" is catchy and has a tendency to get stuck in your brain -- in a good way.
I am not a fan of "Here, There and Everywhere". The lyrics are sweet, but the song is far too sleepy for my tastes. I was unsurprised to learn that this was one of the tracks where McCartney was deliberately trying to emulate the Beach Boys. "I'm Only Sleeping" is also sub-par... it feels like a song about nothing, penned by Lennon to extend the length of the album.
Overall, Revolver has a nice cohesiveness to it that was absent on The Beatles' earlier albums. It's a very easy listen -- probably the best album for someone unfamiliar with the band to pick up to get into them, because we hear a solid display of the range of what they are capable of producing. A very solid album.
Next up is Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited.