Apropos of nothing, I am prompted to share my pleasant experience listening to White Album last night, which I have not attended in its entirety for many years. It came about because one of the guys in my musical clutch ("group" is too strong a word), had a hankering to play Happiness is a Warm gun, which we've been having a blast with. Lots of interesting quirks that I hadn't fully grasped as a listener. It is such a different experience being on the other side of the stage!
Anyways, enough time has passed since last listen that I was blown away. Now, even the songs I didn't much like feel like they have purpose, the most easily accessible still have plenty of charm, and the highlights are no less astonishing in their brilliance. Such an audacious combination of bold vision, matchless song writing, and stylistic breadth presented with such beautifully crafted sound. When are we going to get a remaster? That's something I'd happily pay for.
Also heard some new sounds, being my system is much improved since my last listen. For example, the recorder in Glass Onion continues faintly through the strings piling over it, and there's an interesting droop as it ends its phrase.
Considering the place of the White Album in the band's opus, it reminds me of certain albums in other bands' careers: Radiohead's Kid A; Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom; Talking Heads' Remain in Light. Is there an archetype here, of brilliant achievement just before decay, not necessarily their "best" work, but their most audacious, as if the artists achieve maturity with an Icarus-like stretch from which they can only retreat?