When I awoke
I was alone
This bird had flown
I lit a fire,
Isn’t it good
-Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flow)
This album is abnormally comfortable. For reasons that elude me, Rubber Soul is the Beatles album I default to for a casual, relaxed listen. Revolver is close contender, but it’s a bit too experimental and masterpiece-ish to fill the same effortless void. Even my favorite Beatles album (Abbey Road) is too intricate and emotional for me to want to pop in more often than this humble LP. I know that makes zero sense, but whenever I listen to the organic instruments, commonplace themes, genre-mashing, and simple-but-sharp lyrics of Rubber Soul, I go into a different state of mind. That’s not to say Rubber Soul is unremarkable or a guilty pleasure; neither could be farther from the truth. Help! was a prototype, this is the finished product.
The fact that this album has less artsy flourishes then most “classic” Beatles albums calls attention to its greatest, most underappreciated attribute: Rubber Soul (in this geek’s opinion) is the greatest Beatles album PURELY in terms of composition. There have been Beatles albums with better playing, better production, better singing, better lyrics, better ideas, and better overall music…but NEVER better melodies. I believe the melody to be the single most important part of a song, making the skeleton of Rubber Soul one of my favorites before we even get to the meat. The meat makes it even better. Yum.