Music Reviews

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Dreaming Fantasy of Mythic Endeavors

 

        Color. Imagery. Fantasy. Arrangement. Fashion.Themes. These became remarkable conservatories of creativity that would never suggest a location in an orthodox genre again. Apothegms are not permitted in one of the most profound storybooks of music ever created or recorded. This album is the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ of creative expression in music. In this episode, The Beatles are at the height of their artistic expression and generation-capturing privileges. No other album in their career would influence so much in the current, and so much in the later. For a brief moment of lapse in time, The Beatles unleashed a Renaissance of rhapsody and mythical alteration of musical reality, complete with whimsical alter-egos and fantastical interludes of razzmatazz instrumentation and poetical spirals of fictional serenades.

        In moonlight shades of song and arrangement, lyrical quality transfigured the traditional performances of composition. With Sgt. Pepper, lyricism became a wizardry art. The parting of the waters in Rock music were being carried in the womb of the 1960’s in this work. Enter the song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”; here, John lennon became the grandmaster of rock lyric imagery, or, Pop Rock, if you will. “Newspaper taxis and Rocking Horse people’ are replete examples of fantasy intertwined with kaleidoscopic vision. Lennon doesn’t stop there. ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’ is a merry-go-round of dizzy sounds clashing against a prismatic oracle of a ‘splendid time’ that ‘is guaranteed for all.’

        The astute presentation of a glamourous show and spectacle frazzles the listeners perception of reality and entertainment; it forces one to listen to the album further, which promises to be both a transfigurative and enlightening odyssey.

        On Paul McCartney’s end of the spectrum, the compositions are more garnished and upbeat with positive statements and cheery mood swings that encapsulate his and Lennon’s songwriting ability as a divine team of illustrious and flamboyant sonnetists. In careful augmentations such as ‘Lovely Rita’ and ‘Fixing a Hole’, McCartney sketches, for his audience, various pastiches of musical improvisation and intricate melodic flow of backing vocals and amalgamating piano harmonization that creates in the song an almost stage-like production of a Broadway apercu.

        Then, of course, there are drug references on the album. How could they be left out? The 60’s were a crusade of free thinking and experimentation with mind expansion, one that drug taking was, somehow, expanding a person’s creative energy to its fullest potential. In any event, the deep chasm that abounds on the surface of Sgt. Pepper is hardly capable of undermining the much deeper achievements that are in the abyss of the work. At the end of “A Day in the Life”, there is a recording of sounds that only dogs can hear; the human element of acoustics is truncated into slivers of deafness resulting from astute techniques of divine engineering for the time period of its salient breakthrough. Vignette symphonies, comedic episodes of laughter, eastern Indian music, fashionable attire, and refulgent performances done on heterodoxical instruments such as oboes and harps, recolored musical constitution, especially what could be implemented on a rock music depository. The album’s features and prophecies are not out of date. Sgt. Pepper stands with confidence against the pillar of time. When listening to it again, there is no room for repetition. Like an explorer crossing a mercurial ocean, the anxiety of roguery and, perhaps, magic awaits the next listener.

Sgt. Pepper is a remarkable tale; it is a story written in music; it is an opera played with drums, guitar, and double tracking, which was a technique in recording quite new for the time. It is a rebirth of the art form. It was a gift for the listener, the poet, the musician, the composer. Sgt. Pepper excelled in all branches of musical notation and astronomy. It also redefined the physics and mechanics of structural composition and lyrical metaphor. It is the work of that which all else is compared. Most importantly, however, Sgt. Pepper was the musical testament of The Beatles themselves. This is album that brought them into the brightest age of their creative panorama. They were transfigured from calibrated musicians to transcended virtuosos. The ordinary dream of four youngsters from Liverpool was instantly conveyed into a labyrinth of exploration, invention, and imagination of which The Beatles have been cited estimably for. Eternity has claimed the prize. No other recording in Rock Music has bequeathed so much to so vast an audience as this citation has done. Its ascendency is entombed in the continuing chronicles of musical distribution and integrity.