The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965) Stereo Remaster

Craig in Indy

Your cool Uncle
Oct 3, 2009
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Circle City
Rubber Soul (1965)

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Just as a little personal historical note, this is the first Beatle album that I was aware had an impact on the girls in my class (I think they tended to think of this as the first really “romantic” Beatle album). I’d say a conservative estimate would put about 96% of them in love with Paul. This would have been the 6th grade. Come to think of it, it might have been the first time most of them had romantic notions of any kind, at least to the point where they talked about it. A lot.

1 – “Drive My Car”

Much better low end than on the original. The bass line in the opening, and the kick drum both have a weight and definition that weren’t there before.

2 – “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

The opening acoustic guitar in the right channel has a teeny bit more weight and texture, but the difference is subtle and somewhat slight. Again, the bass seems to be up in the mix a bit more than before. The sitar in the left channel has a bit more sparkle, and if I’d ever heard one in real life, I’d suggest this sounds more like that would have. ;)

3 – “You Won’t See Me”

Greater dynamic range here than on the original, and the drums have a slightly more real sound than before. Same comments on the bass on this song as I’d mentioned on the previous ones. I’m guessing that’ll hold true for the rest of the album. The most obvious differences seem to be in dynamics and a boost in the overall level. The other changes are more subtle.

4 – “Nowhere Man”

One of my favorite Beatle songs, this one’s opening vocals benefit a lot from a goose to the lower mids/upper bass, which helps bring the lower harmony line out more and generally makes it sound more fully fleshed-out. The bass guitar line is much more distinguishable than before, where it was kind of a muddy imprecise mess. Whether you can hear individual notes though will probably depend on your speakers and how they interact with your listening environment. It sounds different on different systems, and it can seem kind of wooly and a tad boomy. I also think it’s a bit easier to distinguish George’s voice on the background vocals, which is fun. Oh and the lead guitar rings out a little nicer, too.

5 – “Think for Yourself”

Better highs, better lows, better dynamics. Even the tambourine is better – much more easily identifiable as a tambourine.

6 – “The Word”

Similar improvements here. Nothing in particular to note, though.

7 – “Michelle”

Much nicer high end extension. Ringo’s rimshots in the right channel really pop out now. Other improvements are similar to those noted above.

8 – “What Goes On”

Again, the better high end extension makes the drums, among all the other instruments, stand out so much better. The transients of the strikes can be heard easily, and it makes the whole kit sound much more like it’s in the room with you (even if it isn’t as loud as that would make it – though I guess you could always turn up the volume).

9 – “Girl”

Once more, it’s that extra little bit of highs that works wonders here, even more than the better bass. It just adds so much missing texture to everything, from guitars and percussion to the vocals. The ragged edge of John’s voice is very evident here, and sounds so much more real because of it.

10 – “I’m Looking Through You”

Like most of the others, there’s just a little more of everything here. No giant revelations, though, at least to my ears.

11 – “In My Life”

Those highs again, wow. The rhythm guitar in the opening has a nice “growl” I hadn’t noticed before, even if you only really discern it in the quiet moments between the lead guitar lines. And once more, the drums really sparkle.

12 – “Wait”

Like the others, this is just so much more nicely filled-out than before. All across the frequency spectrum there are improvements and added definition. I’m liking this remaster more and more as I go through these songs.

13 – “If I Needed Someone”

The lead guitar that begins this, one of George’s finest songs, just knocks you back in your chair in comparison to the original CD release. All the other improvements I’ve mentioned on previous songs are here in spades.

14 – “Run for Your Life”

It’s too bad that such an iconic Beatle opening riff has to be associated with pathological possessiveness and borderline misogyny (something that Lennon later said he regretted, stating that he’d wished he’d never written this song, at least the way it is). But that editorial aside, the same round of sonic improvements are heard here.

Overall, I was expecting improvements here to be similar to what I heard on Help!, but this is much better. An album that was enjoyable for the quality of the music is now even more fun to listen to, as you can get “inside” the music in a way you never could before, even though the original CD (if not LP) was also in stereo. This is one of the most exciting of the remasters so far, IMO.

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