Listening to: Rubber Soul (09 Remaster). Sweet Heartbreak
For me, "Rubber Soul" is one of those personal milestones. One of those where I remember the place that I when I first heard the singles on the radio. It was December of my senior year in high school. What a time and what a perfect record for it.
Loving the Beatles anyway and being at that cusp age -- still a kid but coming up on being grown up. Newly registered for the draft. Wondering what post-high school would be like, slightly aware of Vietnam and slightly more aware Civil Rights but totally immersed in being a 1965 teenager in The Class of '66.
So along comes this totally transformative record. Pop music but so different. Experimental pop, I guess. Different rhythms, different instruments, and ideas that just weren't on the radar. We were stunned by this album. And loved it.
Dylan got us to think about stuff, and, OMG, the Stones certainly put an edge on pop, but with "Rubber Soul" the Beatles formally became the spirit guides of the baby boomers.
It always was a beautifully crafted record, ImHO. Imaginative and moving and great fun and, I thought, crisp and clear.
Until today. Now I'm listening to the 2009 digitally remastered re-release of "Rubber Soul" and it's a whole new experience. So open and bright and truly clear and fresh. So beautiful and so incredibly different.
You will hear people say that it is as if a layer of mud has been removed from the old recordings. Believe them. As good as the '65 vinyl mix is, it is nothing compared to this.
Each voice comes through as if you were party to the recording session. Each buzz and catch of a vocal chord. Each nuance fretting and fingering. New drama in the vocal interpretations.
You can actually hear a smile in Paul's voice in "Michelle". There are new notes that appear in the wonderful bass lines of "Drive My Car". And the slide guitar solo in that cut becomes a whole different marvel of musical taste and even production skill. Wow!
I said "heartbreaking". Well, it could be my personal connection to the album but I have a feeling that I'm going to feel this way for every single track in the remastered Beatles collection. The clarity is breathtaking and fun to listen to, but what also comes through so beautifully and so perfectly is these four guys, who we knew so well and loved so much, just doing what they do. Doing it so well -- so much better than we even thought at the time -- and having such a good time doing it.
It's wonderful. It brings a giant smile but so many other thoughts, feelings, rememberances, fullnesses, and emptinesses. I'll leave it to other people to list and discuss all of the feelings. They are a flood -- like the memories John sings about in "In My Life". It just makes your heart hurt a little bit.