Starostin re-reviews Sgt. Pepper

Online reviewer George Starostin has just posted another review of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this time as part of his working down the list of the RateYourMusic site’s “Top Albums of All Time” list. (Pepper is currently at #18).

I love the whole review, but here are a couple of my favorite song-by-song comments:

ʻLovely Ritaʼ – oh, that triumphant cry of “RITA!” leading into the piano solo break. It’s one of McCartney’s most Pythonesque numbers ever, a hilarious send-up of, let’s say, “traditional British values”, and the exuberant piano chords of the break are the climactic peak. Although the weird tacked-on psychedelic coda, which, honestly, has more in common with ʻStrawberry Fields Foreverʼ or ʻFlyingʼ than with meter maids with little white books, should probably get an honorable mention as well.

‘Good Morning Good Morning’ – it’s one of those Lennon anthems to stone-cold boredom that he does so well (and boy can I relate!), so I think the best moment here is simply when he starts singing in that tired, cynical, sneery tone of his: “Nothing do do to save his life call his wife in . . . ” Although I’m really a big fan of Ringo’s drumming on here: he seems to have locked on to John’s bitterness and gives a fairly mean-spirited performance to match.’


“Should I take off the hat, guys? C’mon, tell me the truth.”

Nice to see this album get what I at least think of as its due, when the tendency these days seems often to be to knock it. I’m thinking of forming my own society, The Unironic Appreciators of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now if I can just get Ray Davies to write us a theme song . . . .

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  1. Avatar Sir Huddleston Fuddleston wrote:

    That top 100 list has two Radiohead albums in the top five, with OK Computer getting the award as the GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME. Thus the entire exercise can be dismissed as bullshit.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      FWIW, I don’t think Starostin is trying to argue for the importance of this list as such, just using it as a way to look at albums people feel strongly about at the present time.

  2. Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

    Rather, Sgt. Pepper is a study in the construction of an alternate reality, one that would not be too far removed from real life, yet would also differ from it ever so slightly in almost every aspect, like a typical impressionist masterpiece. There’s no other Beatles album quite like this one; there’s no other album, period, quite like this one, that would construct such an alternate reality with such a great balance of whimsy and seriousness, experimentation and traditionalism, humor and sadness, catchy hooks and tonal atmosphere.

    Love this. Now I forgive Starostin for his earlier comments. 🙂

    Part of the charm of this album, as it relates to the construction of an alternate reality, is that it was borne of out a felt need. It wasn’t just conceptual; it was an “only if” type of reaction to the group’s growing disenchantment with their own fame. No other group had ever done that, and with the exception of Prince (who changed his name a few times for the same reason) no-one else has done it since.

  3. Avatar Mike Taylor wrote:

    I am late to this party, but on the offchange that anyone out there feels that what the world needs is yet another review of Sergeant Pepper, here is what I wrote about it in an ongoing series of my ten desert-island albums. I hope it’s of interest to someone.

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