The Beatles - Yellow Submarine
Oct 4, 2020
The Beatles revisited part 12/16

The dreaded Yellow Submarine soundtrack album... yeah, I still don't like it. Okay, I admit, I at least appreciate some of the songs a lot more than I used to, but this still sits as the most inessential moment in The Beatles' entire career, and an album that would have honestly been better had it not been released as a proper Beatles record.

I guess the best way to start off this review is by saying that this album really isn't as bad as a lot of people would have you believe. I mean, sure, you could say that I'm kinda contradicting myself by saying this while my score is so relatively low when compared to every other Beatles album I've rated, but I mean more those people who claim this to be a truly awful album, as if it has absolutely no worth and is "just a glorified greatest hits record." While that last statement isn't too far from the truth, it's still far enough that it becomes a pretty big stretch to call it that. The thing is, while it does include two already released Beatles songs that were massive hits, this album is mostly previously unreleased material, as well as a George Martin orchestral piece taking up an entire side of the album. So yeah, while I can see where you're coming from by saying it's just a glorified greatest hits record, it really is pretty far from the truth.

But with that said, that brings up the first of many criticisms that I and many others have towards this album, that being that it's barely even a Beatles album. Out of these thirteen tracks, seven of them are George Martin orchestral songs with absolutely no contributions from any of the Beatles. That alone makes this album by far the most difficult and off-putting album in The Beatles' entire discography. It's much more of a George Martin album than it is a Beatles album. And when you keep in mind the fact that the songs made by The Beatles here were either already released material or songs that were pulled out of the vault, you have to think about how much of this record was made with the band's permission.

The entirety of the second half isn't exactly bad, but it's just your average orchestral soundtrack album. It's something that you know hearing in the film itself would make sense, but listening to it as its own entity like you would if you listen to this album, it just comes off as really odd. Like, you're listening to The Beatles' discography and suddenly twenty minutes of orchestral nonsense comes up. That alone would make this The Beatles' worst. It being so drastically different from anything else The Beatles have done and it having likely no input from any of the actual members of the band just makes this one disappointing album.

Then there's the issues with the first half, the Beatles half. The thing is, this side is, admittedly, somewhat solid, but even saying that, it's still easily the weakest run of tracks from any Beatles album past Hard Day's Night. Hell, you could probably make the case that it's the worst run of tracks in The Beatles' entire discography. It's just so disjointed and lacks any and all cohesion. And the fact that Yellow Submarine – by far the most universally disliked classic Beatles song – makes yet another appearance in their catalog really isn't going to win anyone over. Also, I genuinely think that All Together Now is the weakest song they made during their psychedelic period. Hell, it may be Paul McCartney's worst song he wrote while in The Beatles. It's just a genuinely bad track. Maybe not terrible, but compared to literally everything else he wrote during his run with The Beatles, it's incredibly dull, and sonically it doesn't make up for it at all.

I will say, though, that they did George a huge disservice here. Only A Northern Song is actually really good, although I wouldn't call it one of his best. It's All Too Much, on the other hand, is phenomenal, and would be considered a classic today had it appeared on Sgt. Pepper, the album he wrote it for. But no, he was pushed out of an easy achievement for an appearance on their least interesting album. Oh, and they also did Hey Bulldog dirty. While I'm not as big of a fan of this track as most people are, it's definitely a song that deserves the classic status it has gotten, and it's a fucking shame that it ended up on an album like this. Also, All You Need Is Love is a brilliant track and all, and easily one of the best moments of the record, but it honestly feels out of place here. It works much better in the context of Magical Mystery Tour, and hearing it again in an album like this just feels off.

All in all, I don't think that Yellow Submarine is terrible or anything like that, but easily the worst Beatles album and the only one that is in the red. It's just a mess of a record, being made up of unreleased material, already released material, and an orchestral part that doesn't include the band whatsoever. This is just an album that really didn't need to be released. Like, sure, release the film by all means, but releasing the soundtrack as a genuine release in The Beatles' discography? Nope, they didn't justify that at all. Honestly, I think this is one take that everyone can agree on. While it certainly has some stand out moments, the fact that more than half the record isn't even Beatles material makes this one record that no Beatles fan is ever going to return to considering they have twelve other studio albums worth of material that's far superior to the actual content provided by the band themselves here. Hey Bulldog and It's All Too Much definitely deserved better, and Only A Northern Song is good too, but everything else is just unnecessary.

Favourite Tracks: It's All Too Much; All You Need Is Love; Hey Bulldog; Only A Northern Song

Least Favourite Tracks: All Together Now; The entirety of Side B


Original review:
April 27, 2019
Score: 42

I'm confused as to how this even came to fruition. I absolutely adore Revolver, but even I have to admit that Yellow Submarine is one of the weaker tracks on there, and I think most people would agree with me. So to make an entire album around this one song just seems stupid. But it's the Beatles, right? They can't do any wrong, can they? Well, it seems that even they couldn't make an album this pointless any more interesting.
So, apparently this album is supposed to be the soundtrack for an animated movie that I have actually never even heard of, which I guess makes the latter half make more sense. However, that doesn't make it any more tolerable. The first half was actually pretty decent, consisting of four new Beatles songs and two already released songs. Even if it were just those six tracks on their own, I still wouldn't say it's my favourite Beatles record, but I would still think it was a lot better. The thing that really drags it down is the uninteresting orchestral tracks on the latter half. Maybe they make more sense in context to the film, but listening to them on their own is just a chore.
In the end, Yellow Submarine is quite possibly the worst release from The Beatles, and I don't really see anyone argue against that fact, and I doubt anyone can ever disagree. It's just a pointless record.

Favourite Tracks: All You Need Is Love; Hey Bulldog; It's All Too Much

Least Favourite Tracks: Sea Of Monsters; Sea Of Time; March Of The Meanies

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