The Beatles


The Beatles present a formidable challenge to a reviewer due to the unquestioning adulation of the Baby Boomers, who tend to think everything they did was the greatest thing ever. My father is a true Beatles believer, and trying to argue that The Beatles did produce some atrocious crap, both as Beatles and in their solo careers, is like trying to convince a Republican that global warming and racism are in fact real.

I see The Beatles’ work in four phases. The Beatlemania phase of high energy, memorable melodies and unremarkable lyrics reached its peak with the superb A Hard Day’s Night, then petered out once the grind of non-stop touring and rushed recordings took their toll. In their peak period, from Rubber Soul to Magical Mystery Tour, they took Dylan’s cue that it was okay to write subjects other than teenage romance and proceeded to expand the sonic boundaries of popular music, producing albums and singles that certainly qualify as art. Phase three, from The White Album to Abbey Road, was characterized by creative atrophy, poisonous group dynamics and extreme overconfidence that the public would hang on their every note and every word and pronounce even the most mindless stuff pure genius. The final phase consists of their universally disappointing solo careers. The Beatles are still cherished today, but really, neither the group nor the individual players produced much in the way of greatness after the “Hey Jude/Revolution” single in 1968.

So, don’t expect dogmatic adulation when you read my reviews, but an objective look at an important development in music history and human culture.

Here is the list of all my Beatle reviews, from Please Please Me to Flaming Pie: