The Beatles, Revolver

Revolver comes in second on my best Beatles album list, second only to the exalted perfection that is Abbey Road (q.v.), more tight and focused than the White Album and less full of itself than Sgt. Pepper. Despite that, though, it is adventurous and varied, and while it is not as rarefied or polished as Abbey Road that in and of itself makes it rather more interesting. Besides old throwbackish favourites like "Taxman," "I Want To Tell You" and "Got To Get You Into My Life," it also includes the technologically dazzling (and stylistically sudden) "Tomorrow Never Knows" as well as "I'm Only Sleeping," mixing backwards tracks and Indian-inspired guitars into primal and otherworldly harmony; George Martin's indispensable light touch production shines through on the strings on "Eleanor Rigby" and the Byrds-esque "She Said She Said" but for me most poignantly on the tragic "For No One," reminding me of crushes dashed and bygone days, and if "Love You To" is a little heavy on the tabla and "And Your Bird Can Sing" a little light on sophistication, there's no sin in being merely just good. While some of these tracks (notoriously "Yellow Submarine") might get overplayed a bit on your local oldies station, consider it a compliment paid to a particularly innovative and transformational album from a band that's had quite a few of them. In these overproduced times a little imperfection goes a long way. (Content: mild adult themes on "Love You To.")