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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD (album) cover


The Beatles



4.33 | 971 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Let's set some cliches to rest. Sgt. Pepper isn't the first prog album - although A Day In the Life gets closest to prog with its mulit-part structure, we're still firmly in psychedelic proto-prog territory here. Nor was it the first concept album - hell, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash had recorded concept albums long before this one, and only three songs (one of them a reprise) actually engage with the alternate band concept.

What it does represent is the Beatles coming together after taking a two month break in which each of them pursued their own side projects and interests, before coming together to produce an album which represents the culminations of all the experiments that had been sputtering to life with Help! and matured through Rubber Soul and Revolver. What do we get? A rock update of Victorian music hall schmaltz.

Now, to give it its due, it's a much more consistent album than they'd turned in for a good long time, mostly because they found a context where the inevitable Ringo song actually felt like a logical part of the flow of the album for once. But over time I find myself less and less impressed with it; sure, it was groundbreaking for its time, but we aren't living in that time and never will again, and there's better places to go for this sort of psychedelic stuff without the annoying, cloying tweeness and naivity and the sense of hollow overcalculation that blights the Beatles back catalogue. I don't even find A Day In the Life that profound any more; increasingly the seams between the different parts of that weird stitched-together Frankenstein of a song seem more jarring and obvious.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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