The Beatles present a formidable challenge to a reviewer due to the unquestioning adulation Baby Boomers express for everything they did. My father is a true Beatles believer, and trying to point out to him that The Beatles did in fact produce some atrocious crap during both their Beatle years and solo careers is like trying to convince a Trump supporter that global warming and racism are in fact real.
I see The Beatles’ work in four phases. The Beatlemania phase of high energy and delightful melodies reached its peak with the superb A Hard Day’s Night, then petered out once they had run out of enthusiasm and new ideas. The peak period, from Rubber Soul to Magical Mystery Tour, is when The Beatles expanded the definition of pop and produced albums and singles that remain the highest expression of art in rock music. Phase three, from The White Album to Abbey Road, was characterized by creative atrophy, poisonous group dynamics and extreme overconfidence that the public would cherish anything they did, even when they knew deep inside it was crap. 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 anything approaching greatness since 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: