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The Ultimate Beatles Album

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

We have some huge Beatles fans here at RankStuff. A few of us decided to sift through their discography and piece together our personal 12-track ultimate Beatles albums. There are no right answers, each writer chooses a construction that makes sense to them and justifies it. Goals with my album: - Avoid hits when possible, introduce readers to songs they might not have heard before - Capture a progression of their styles & inspirations Alright, here's my ultimate Beatles album, with links so you can check out each song:

1. Magical Mystery Tour The theme. These bastards made a theme song for their own album. And pulled it off. What would be a joke, throw-away idea to most bands turned into a legitimate great song for the Beatles. Magical Mystery Tour is undeniably pleasant, with surprising range. The high pitched, 'rollllll up' transitions into the vocal breakdown 'The Magical Mystery Tour Is coming to take you away!' with perfect contrast. This was released near the peak of their experimental phase, listen for the orchestral sounds and ad-libs in the background. I considered using the Srg. Pepper theme for this spot, but MMT is a bit more off radar & hopefully some readers will hear this for the first time Also I like to imagine the chorus, 'Roll up!' as a pun-recommendation for the listeners to roll a joint for this masterpiece of an album. Link: Magical Mystery Tour

2. Two of Us

Two of Us is an all-time feel good song. One to have in the back pocket when you're feeling down. It also represents the band well as a whole. This track features a classic Paul bass line, vintage Ringo drums that just work, subtle lead guitar from George, vocal harmony contributions from everyone, all revolving around elite lyrics and a clear musical idea. Two of Us highlights the bands core strengths near the end of their run. Fellow RankStuff writer Adams coined this as the perfect road trip song. It makes you nostalgic for things you never experienced. Also it's a pun, the 2nd track, TWO of us, you see it.

Best lyric: You and me chasing paper Getting nowhere On our way Back home Link: Two of Us 3. Fool on the Hill

4. If I Fell To close out the A side, I'm showing the range of the Beatles relationship songs. If I Fell is the beginning. A whimsical, hopeful feeling before the bit begins. The lyrics are an inner voice considering the implications of a relationship. Flashing back to their early work, this is the first 10/10 Beatles song for me. The vocal cheat code is in full effect with flawless harmonies in this one. It features a unique set of guitar chords that builds suspense to the chorus. And the chorus is perfect. I had to break my own 'no hits' rule for this one. It's too good not to include. As a bonus, listen for the subtle voice crack from Paul at 1:46 The voice crack adds authenticity. It shows that these songs were recorded live in a studio, so an occasional imperfection is bound to slip past. Link: If I Fell 5. Girl The mid relationship song. Girl is a song of conflict. Of being hopelessly attracted to someone that's playing games with you. In your gut you know it's destined to end badly, but you cant seem to stay away. Girl is heavy with feelings of a faltering relationship. The sigh during the chorus captures this idea perfectly. I mean, it's called Girl... When I first read that title I laughed to myself, 'come on John couldn't you find something a little less on the nose?' But now I get it. Best Lyric: She's the kind of girl You want so much It makes you sorry Still you don't regret a single day Link: Girl

6. For No One The end of the relationship & the A side. This song hollows out your insides. It makes you a shell. The girl left you. Shit got real. She's better off and you're alone. And here's Paul McCartney to narrate your every thought in poetic detail. The idea that a tune from 50+ years ago can hollow your gut on command strongly indicates an effective song. For No One is the first McCartney sad-masterpiece. A precursor to the more well known songs Yesterday, & She's Leaving Home. Best Lyric: And in her eyes You see nothing

No sign of love Behind the tears Crying for no one A love that should Have lasted years

Link: For No One ALRIGHT, time for the B-side... Onward, reader!

7. Yer Blues What better way to rebound after the front side breakup than singing the blues. After their early years, the Beatles made a point to stray away from standard 12-bar blues songs that were common at the time. They saw it as low hanging fruit and a stylistic trap. But towards the backend of their run, on their most experimental album (White Album) Lennon decided revisit their roots & indulge the raw Blues. And he absolutely crushes it. This song features a legendary live performance from a one-off band called The Dirty Mac. The Dirty Mac has the mind-bending line up of John Lennon on rhythm guitar & vocals, Keith Richards on bass, ERIC CLAPTON on lead guitar, and Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix experience) on drums. Please for the love of god watch this video it is truly one of the great performances of all time. An insane amount of talent on display. Watch this video right now it is a true YouTube Gem The play on words, Yer Blues, further adds to the genius of this song. It's an anti-blues, blues song that just works. 8. Piggies This one's a rabbit hole. First off, George Harrison deserves a spot on this list. This is one of his gems off the White Album. Second, this song is a direct reference to a great book, George Orwell's, Animal Farm. Third, Piggies somehow became a mantra of the Manson murders (one of those cultural cliches that make my eyes glaze over) but it's an interesting detail. Okay, there's some background. Now for the actual song.... Piggies is fun on the surface, but the lyrics hint at something darker. If you know the story of Animal Farm, you know where the ideas are headed. For example, the lyric "And for all the little piggies, life is getting worse" and the ending climax, "Clutching forks and knives, To EAT THE BACON!" I love this song on many levels. The open ended lyrics contrast beautifully with George Martin's orchestral arrangement. It's fun, catchy, subtly dark, and inspired by a classic piece of British literature. Piggies is sort of song only the Beatles could pull off. Link: Piggies 9. Tomorrow Never Knows Tomorrow Never Knows, the last song on Revolver, marked a turning point for the band and music generally. This song took a bizarre mix of nonsense sounds, backwards guitars, voice effects, lyrics, and somehow blended them together perfectly. No one can recreate this song. It's un-coverable. Truly unique. Tomorrow Never Knows proved that nothing is off limits. That with the right combinations, bizarre sounds can work together in the context of a song.

Ringo's drums are absolutely crucial in this one. They hold the chaos together and drive the song forward. The lyrics are brilliant. The seagull sounds are echoing. The backwards guitars are all over. Tomorrow never knows pushes the group to their creative limits. It's insane to think the "She Loves You" Beatles era was only 3 years behind the release of this experimental masterpiece. This album, Revolver, marked the only year (1966) that the band only released 1 albums worth of material (they normally released 2 albums a year). They took their time with it, and tried many things for the first time. They had mastered their songwriting craft by this point, but instead of staying stagnant and releasing similar material, they kept pushing. They kept experimenting. And this is the result. Best Lyric: Lay Down all thoughts Surrender to the void... But listen to the colour of your dreams

It is not living

Or play the game "Existence" to the end Of the Beginning Link: Tomorrow Never Knows 10. Happiness is a Warm Gun

There are certainly misses in the White Albums nearly 2 hours of sounds. But lows allow for highs, and this song might be the peak. If you haven't heard this one before, isolate yourself and click the link below. The ending is absolutely killer. Some of the most chilling lead vocals ever recorded. Many people associated this one with drugs, when in reality Lennon just saw the title phrase on the cover of a gun magazine in the studio. Lennon had an extra gear with his vocal capacity, which he only brought out on special occasions. You can hear it on Twist and Shout for example. But this is my favorite instance of it. The backup vocals "Bang bang, shoot shoot!" are a great touch as well. A twist on the old 50's choir cliche. One of those songs that's seared in my memory. I can picture the first time I heard it perfectly. I was in awe. I had to hear it 100 more times immediately. Check it out for yourself: Link: Happiness is a Warm Gun 11. Carry that Weight The backside of Abbey Road includes a special series of mini-songs. Although they're often grouped together and labeled "The Long One" or "The Medley" I felt that counting them as one song was cheating for this project. So I decided to pick my favorite from the Medley, which is Carry That Weight. An iconic, powerful, catchy chorus carries this song to greatness. It's simply impossible not to sing along. BOY! YOU'RE GONNA CARRY THAT WEIGHT! Link: Carry That Weight 12. The End The final cut from Abbey Road and this compilation album. The end of the Beatles studio era and too many other things to name individually. This song features the only recorded Ringo drum solo. In his classic style, it's simple, iconic, fits the song and blends seamlessly back into the finale. The other 3 Beatles decided to share the groups final guitar solo. Each member plays 1 bar of the solo before rotating to the next; from George, to Paul, to John. Over and over. They split the solo up and let their individual styles shine. A sort of musical analogy, as this is recorded right before they split off to their solo careers and life as individuals. An iconic example of the sum being greater than the parts. A perfect ending to the greatest run in music history. Best Lyric: And in the end The love you take Is equal to the love You make Link: The End ______________________________ That's my album. I love this band, i'm thankful they exist in this simulation & their material is accessible for free on YouTube. Hopefully this introduced you to a few songs you haven't heard before. Let us know what you think and what your album would consist of. Farewell, -Brewer

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