Last week Robert Hilburn argued that the "Sgt. Pepper" LP--despite remaining a "landmark work"--is not the Beatles' best album because it is weighted down by seven songs that "represent the longest stretch of mediocre material" the group ever recorded. Calendar letter writers were not pleased--by a 9-1 ratio.
After many years of reading Hilburn and watching him pick the winners who really measure up to his high standards, which combine current fashion with the lame Hilburn/rock ethos (the utterly repulsive Bruce) Springsteen, Sex Pistols, X et al.), the pattern has become clear.
All of his favorites are obvious in their maudlin-simpleton "uplifting" rock message (Springsteen) and safe in "Establishment-bashing" rock outrage (Sex Pistols).
The interesting thing about "Sgt. Pepper" and the White Album is that they elected not to be safe and that their creativity was unparalleled, while being accessible.
Keep on rockin', Bob.
LOUIS VAN DEN BERG