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Rubber Soul

"The Beatles"

Jun 07, 2019

Landing with Rubber Soul

Written by @JorgeDiaz from Electro Arpegio / 6 mins read

In previous Narratives, I have referred to the transition they had to go between what were the beginnings of The Beatles and their evolution towards what would be the most enriching musical testimony of the twentieth century in terms of pop and rock music. In the year of 1965, the band was in full creative height and enormous commercial pressures to satisfy a world public increasingly hungry for their music. At the same time, the experience, the comfort of dedicating to the composition without having to worry about money as in their beginnings (and the beginnings of almost all the musicians in history) plus the natural need for change that exists in every human being, they pushed John Lennon and Paul McCartney towards an evolution that begins to be reflected precisely in the album Rubber Soul. Curious to experiment with other sounds and instruments and anxious because their lyrics said something more than the simple message that characterized their previous successes and technological progress to improve recording techniques (at that time every little step in the improvement and refinement that recording studios could offer was a great advance for musicians and composers) motivated them to deliver an album that, for me, represents the end of the bridge that begins in Beatles For Sale, to land on this album that would be the confirmation for all their fans about the course who would take the band and the personal, spiritual and musical growth they were experiencing. All those who followed the band at that time knew that they had to be prepared to listen and assimilate unpublished things in the work of the Fab Four if they did not want to stay behind with glories that belonged to the past, outdated styles and naive lyrics. What until now the world knew of the four of Liverpool, with some exceptions in past records, would have to take a quantum leap and the quality with which the group had been required to work for this record, would be an unprecedented fact. Although that same year was previously released Help!, the differences with Rubber Soul are evident and they tell us about a maturity that would bear great results in the short term. In addition, I think it is thanks to the compositions of this album, the variety of influences and styles used to create each song, which allows the appearance of a key man for what would be the musical and exponential growth of the band: George Martin. In practically the whole album you can see the hand of a musician educated in other genres, but passionate about making musical arrangements to some guys who, by then, had nothing to prove, they were already the favorites of pop music lovers all over the world.

Of letters and music

The first encounter I had with Rubber Soul, was most surprising. I was just beginning to master the guitar and the challenge I faced was playing the arrangement of "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" included in this album and that represented to gain prestige among the friends who also shared the love for the music of The Beatles and the pleasure of playing instruments. I must confess that it was relatively easy to learn it by heart because technically it does not represent great difficulty; however, the richness and beauty of the arrangement fulfilled the function of learning and the pride of being able to play it in front of everyone. But one of the songs that most impressed me with its lyric and that unique style that these four had for making the songs were endearing, and turning them into hymns for entire generations, was "Nowhere Man.” Its letter describes stages we all go through and in which we feel a great uncertainty to discover who we are and where we are going. Chorus and main guitar print the hallmark of his music and he has been with us since then. For fans of rock, the song "Drive My Car" makes us feel goosebumps, especially when those of us who have had the privilege of being present at a Paul McCartney concert and listen to it live, performed by him and with the intensity of the new sound equipment, it's fantastic! But what drew a lot of attention when it came to releasing the album were the songs "Michelle" and "Girl" which are, without a doubt, the best example of the search to compose in different styles and the masterful contribution to the arrangement and music that for me is the fifth member of the band: George Martin. I am sure that by that time nobody expected songs like those on the album and interpreted in that way by their authors. That's why I consider Rubber Soul the last third of the bridge between what they were and what they came to be. I imagine the face of surprise of many of their fans and the enormous expectations that this album generated in them. But I also imagine the happy face of The Beatles and all those who got involved in this great project by listening to the final product when it went out to the stores around the world and the radio stations craved to play.

Of all my life

A special mention for my favorite song of my whole life: "In My Life", one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read and heard, expresses exactly what I felt and still feel having found the love of my life 18 years ago. I do not think there is another poem that exceeds the meaning of this one for me and I do not say it because I believe there are no others equally sublime and full of feeling, in fact, I have to accept that the lyrics of "In My Life" are relatively simple, however, the transparency of the soul and the purity of the feelings with which it was written, for me is simply divine. And also, for what it means in my personal life. One of the things that impressed me most about this song is that its author, John Lennon, was not yet twenty-five years old and came from a rough environment of the port of Liverpool, where the fights in pubs and loud music contrast with the sensitivity shown when writing this beautiful poem.