It’s long overdue that I go through some of the greatest Beatles albums to rank their songs – maybe not all of them, but I’ve missed a few of my favourites and it’s time I put that right (so I probably won’t do their first five … or “Yellow Submarine”, for that matter).
“Rubber Soul” was arguably their first masterpiece, and I believe it to be around about this time that they transcended rock / pop norms to create something truly unique and marvellous. How would I rank all of the songs?
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14 – If I Needed Someone
The most forgettable song on the album, “If I Needed Someone” isn’t one of Harrison’s best.
The guitar work is more simple than I know he can do, and the vocals are so basic and uninspired that it becomes infuriating.
13 – I’m Looking Through You
A good song ruined by some annoying production (the only time I’ll disagree with a George Martin decision), “I’m Looking Through You” is excellent for 90% of the run-time.
It’s a great set of McCartney lyrics, inspired by his strained relationship with his wife at the time, but the electric organ-thingy that plays in my right ear destroys the entire listening experience.
12 – What Goes On
Good ol’ Ringo does what he does best, but you’d be hard pressed to find somehow who likes this song as more than just a silly filler track.
It’s simple, like most of the other Ringo-sung songs, and the melodies hardly do anything interesting.
11 – Wait
Initially I liked “Wait” quite a lot, but for some reason it just seems to diminish with every listen.
I guess the unusual chorus melodies started to put a strain on my listening experience after a while, but at least the verses are fun enough.
10 – You Won’t See Me
While “You Won’t See Me” is just as one-note and simple as the songs below it in my ranking, there’s just something about it that’s so fun.
McCartney’s verses and bridges are good enough, and the rising vocals in the choruses are incredibly catchy.
9 – Run For Your Life
“Run For Your Life” has received a bit of bad press nowadays for its creepy lyrics, but I like it for the unique perspective and storytelling.
Lennon’s vocals are electric, and it’s one of the most energetic songs on the whole album. A good way to cap things off.
8 – Think For Yourself
The better of the two Harrison tracks, “Think For Yourself” shares a lot of the same sass as “Don’t Bother Me” – and I love it.
The production is excellent, and the sudden shift from verses to choruses and back again works surprisingly well.
7 – The Word
Simple yet effective, the Beatles are at their best when they’re preaching “The Word” of love.
The descending guitars in the verses adds a nice bit of drama, and if the chorus lyrics had a bit more depth this could have been a classic.
6 – Nowhere Man
That acapella intro has become somewhat iconic, and the rest of the song is pretty great too.
I’ve never been to infatuated with “Nowhere Man”, as it sounds a little too much like something from “Beatles For Sale” (an album I dislike), but the vocal harmonies are enough to keep me invested.
5 – Girl
Lennon seemed to have this uncanny ability to write lyrics far beyond his years, and “Girl” boasts some of his very best.
“Did she understand it when they said that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure, will she still believe it when he’s dead?” Still gives me chills when listening to it.
4 – Michelle
Fun fact – “Michelle” was the only Beatles song to win the Grammy for “Song of the Year” … that travesty of justice aside, it’s a great track.
McCartney’s vocals are very laid-back and smooth, and his French pronunciations aren’t half bad. It sort of sounds like a drunk French man crooning away at a bar piano, singing into his empty glass – and I love it.
3 – Drive My Car
An energetic start to the album, “Drive My Car” has always been one of my favourites from the band’s early years.
McCartney’s bass and vocals are electric, and the guitar solos sprinkled throughout are quintessentially Beatles.
2 – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
There are a couple of absolute show-stoppers on “Rubber Soul”, and the first of these is the fantastically psychedelic “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.
Lennon’s wishy-washy vocals and lyrics are so disorientating and ethereal, and you can tell the band were starting to dip their toes into hard drugs for the first time (a trend that would give their next few albums a peculiar style).
1 – In My Life
Lennon expertly writes “In My Life” as if he’s an old man looking back on his life with regret and nostalgia – how on earth did he manage to write this in his mid 20s?!?
The vocal harmonies are sumptuous, the lyrics are stupendous, and the guitar riffs are instantly memorable. All in all, a perfect song.
Aaaand that’s my list! Until we get onto the other Beatles albums, you can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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