This Bird Has Flown

<i>A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles’ Rubber Soul.</i> Various Artists. <i>Razor & Tie.</i>

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Rubber Soul may not be the Beatles’ best album—you’ll never get a consensus on that subject—but it did signal their intention to make more grown-up music. This Bird Has Flown does what a good tribute album should, honoring the source material while offering fresh perspectives. And it’s entertaining to boot. Although faithful versions from the likes of the Donnas (“Drive My Car”) and Dar Williams (“You Won’t See Me”) have a nostalgic glow, the more daring covers cut deeper. The Fiery Furnaces reinvent “Norwegian Wood” as a Bob Dylan song, suggesting John Lennon was a disciple; Ben Harper brings a snappy reggae tilt to “Michelle” without losing the tune’s melancholy sweetness. And the Cowboy Junkies turn “Run for Your Life,” one of many mean-spirited songs, into a menacing stomp. Revolver, anyone?

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