A young review of the old: Rubber Soul

Elena Hanna reviews The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul”, a 55 year old album, to discover what all the hype around classic rock was about


As a teenager who predominantly listens to hip hop, I have often been lectured by adults about how our mainstream music will never compare to the “oldies,” including classic rock. 

Influencing a whole era with its sentimental value, music has the power to spark both controversy and unity. Every generation has a distinct popular culture which favors one genre of music, leading people of one generation to be biased against other generations’ music. 

Many adults regard classic rock as “one of the best genres of all time.” Although I had my doubts, I wanted to discover if their regard has truth to it. 

Dipping my toe in the waters of classic rock, I gave the album “Rubber Soul” by The Beatles, one of the most iconic classic rock bands, a shot. 

Although “Rubber Soul” is nowhere near as popular as The Beatles’ other albums, such as “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be,” it is perceived as The Beatles’ most mellow album, prior to the experimental albums they would later release.

“Rubber Soul” is not the type of album I would typically listen to, but I cannot deny the energy the songs radiate onto the listener. The lyrics are meaningful, and the instrumentals smoothly contrast both uplifting and gloomy moods. A majority of the numbers are beat-driven, which helps define the album’s overall theme.

One of the most popular songs in the album is “Norweigan Wood,” influenced by John Lennon’s affair. The instrumentals are simple and cozy, setting a tone any listener can find comfort in, while the lyrics are complex and afflicting. I found the song to be interesting due to how contrasting the different aspects of it are, but how fluidly they manage to mesh together.

Nonetheless, I do have some critiques for the album: the songs sounded similar instrumentally, and there was not a diverse range of topics being sung about. A majority of the songs were about romances going wrong, and to some extent, I found the album to be repetitive. 

I often struggle to understand particular popular culture references of the 20th century, but the album was relatively timeless. Regardless of the few critiques I had for it, The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” was a well-produced album as a whole.

At the end of the day, my heart will always belong to hip hop, but I appreciate the style of classic rock. The atmosphere differs greatly from modern music, and I love learning more about prior popular cultures that contributed to the film, literature, art, fashion and lifestyle of several generations.