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.
Let's hear it for Hilburn!
It's about time someone finally expressed what is obvious to any objective person. The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album is one of the more inferior of their catalogue. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoy the Beatles and their music, and "Sgt. Pepper" is indeed a fine album.
But upon comparison with the group's other releases, it doesn't stand up. The "Help!" "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" LPs (British versions) are the height of the Beatles' creativity, and are excellent for their demonstration of maturity, and more completeness and depth in song writing.
Now I don't agree with the great cultural and artistic influence of the album. It is difficult, however, to call it the best album of all time (that distinction belongs to the Clash's "London Calling"), when it is, in fact, superior to only "Please, Please Me," "Let It Be," and possibly the White Album among Beatles releases.