The white album sounds like an anthology; every Beatle wrote songs that were then accompanied by some or all the others. The variety of the album is one of his declarations of intent, extending the "Sgt. Pepper" idea that the music of the Beatles was no longer linked to format, age or style. The songs recognize and influence with parody influences and peers: blues, country, doo-wop, lounge songs, jazz of the years 20, psychedelic, concrete music, orchestra easy listening, baroque harpsichord, bossa nova, Jamaican bluebeat, English brass band, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys. For the Beatles of 1968, it was all a fair game.
Some songs from the White Album reacted to the turbulent socio-political climate of 1968. One was the "revolution" of Lennon, who was skeptical of the radical but ambivalent demands for change that the Beatles recorded twice. : like a rocker at full volume that shared a single with "Hey Jude" (released in August 1968) and the most casual shuffle, "Revolution I", in the White Album, in which Lennon sang, "When you talk about destruction / You do not know you can count on me – "Harrison's piglets" grinned for the self-complacency of the upper class, "Lennon's continued story of Bungalow Bill" mocked the exaggerated trophy hunters. Paul McCartney's "Blackbird" was a folksy, pedophile and luminous paean to the civil rights movement.
But the white album was more intriguing and bizarre than actuality. It is sequenced to maximize its contrasts. It covers a joyous hard rock rauco with "Helter Skelter", almost private reflections in "Julia", existential bitter complaints in "Yer Blues", philosophical reflections in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", drollery in "Rocky Raccoon" and tape Mysterious -loop collage in "Revolution 9."
The infinite sense of spontaneity of the album is its most complete illusion. After a not perfect "Blackbird" attempt (Take 28), McCartney reflects on the best way to sing it: "I think it's quieter," he says. Other outtakes show refined texts – Harrison strips the clichés of "While My Guitar Gently Weep" – and constantly evolving grooves as in "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." In an absurd, deliberate 13-minute account of "Helter Skelter," the Beatles become the psychedelic jam band who were too disciplined to dedicate themselves to vinyl.