The White Album is probably one of the most diverse albums put out by The Beatles. It’s a mix of emotions and ideas that calling it a concept album doesn’t really fit.
Sgt. Pepper is a concept album, and a remarkable one at that, but The White Album doesn’t have that same consistent flow or narrative.
Released in 1968, this massive album was made during another period of transition from the band. While it does feature a few of the early soft catchy hits The Beatles were famous for, a majority of the album is comprised of songs made to convey emotions of the individual band members.
So yes, you get your Martha My Dear, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (a personal favorite), and Birthday, but those are expected.
No one expected the telling I’m So Tired, where John Lennon speaks less of his lack of sleep and more of his growing weariness with the band itself and how he missed Yoko Ono.
Meanwhile George Harrison used the Eastern Philosophy of I Ching as a basis to express what happens when the world turns to woe. Choosing a random book, turning to a page and finding the first words of the page to be “gently weeps”, Harrison started to play. A man who helped sing to the whole world that “Love is all you need” saw that no one had listened. So he and his guitar cried for us all.
Of course that’s not all that the band did on this album, but you’ll need to read.more about that on Part 2, which goes up Friday May 20.