The Story of Pepperland

Reading so much about The Beatles and after reading a lot of analysis of the songs, the albums and the expressions.I really thought of writing up the theory we have developed about Side B of the album Yellow Submarine. The whole side is just a collection of 7 instrumentals composed by George Martin. Using these 7 songs and without uttering even a single word, Beatles come up with a whole story/plot about a civilization/city that grew up, rose to power and finally died down, only to be revived again. The city of Pepperland. This combo of 7 songs is what turns the otherwise ordinary album into something worthwhile, something to be amazed and wondered at!

1. Pepperland – The story of the place, the music is calm, nice, pleasing to the ear and gives an altogether happy feeling. Seems like they are talking about a kingdom which lived happily and peaceful. Something like what we read in mythology or the history books, when we are made aware of the existence of the city of dreams, which we would like to live in.

2. Sea of Time – the tunes are a lot softer and sound a bit more mature, the fun and the happiness might not be there. This instead is an indication of the calmness and the depth of the civilization and the culture of Pepperland, how they got through the Sea of Time, scaling various peaks of development in the process. The tones take a bit of a darker side at times, only to be replaced by the happy tunes like Pepperland. The sounds also take an Indian turn in this one (Signifying India by Pepperland? Anyone’s guess)

3. Sea of Holes – Just an extension of the previous one, while the music becomes a bit more sophisticated and a bit less happy than the previous one, otherwise this 2:20 song doesnt have a lot to say. The darker tones are not immediately replaced by the happier ones unlike the prev one, but a sense of mystique is developed with the music.

4. Sea of Monsters – Extension of previous ones again with a deeper sense of mystery. We finally see the first signs of the dangers coming, there are the bugles being sounded and the tone becomes pacy at times, suggesting urgency of the events going on, and by the Title, we can make out that the sea of Monsters has finally reached the wonderful city of Pepperland.

5. March of the Meanies – This is where we leave the joy and kiddishness of Pepperland and come to some real pacy music. This is where the real story starts. No relief is given and from the beginning the tunes are pacy and chilly, giving you an indication that the army of the Meanies is finally approaching. The song is all about the tension mounting up and the action which is going through Pepperland, which is being ravaged by the army of the Meanies. With small sharp sounds at the end signalling the beginning.

6. Pepperland Laid Waste – Coming to the last part of the action, the opposing armies had already reached Pepperland and are at their work (so it seems from the music), there is a sudden outburst of life at times in the form of some pleasing music but such phases are very brief and occasional, and to be replaced by the fast and pacy tunes signalling the anti-life events going on in the place. And the final blasts at the end, expressed by the use of sufficiently high volume (which can be VERY Exciting, “under the influence of some substances”, a must try). The blasts finally signal the end of the war, and Pepperland as the title of the song suggests is laid Waste.

7 .Yellow Submarine in Pepperland – At the end of the darkest night, comes a dawn, and every war finally gives away to peace. The exact message Beatles are trying to give in the song.Pepperland might have been laid waste, the people might be injured and dying but there is always a ray of hope, there’s always music to comfort you and soothe your soul. After the blasts in the last song, we finally try to come back to the tone of Pepperland. The change is not easy coming after such a tragedy, and thats what we see, the fruit of happiness is trying its hard to break out of the crust, though there are many disturbances in the middle, but in the end its the triumph of life and human spirit over all difficulties.

PS: All of these tunes are composed by the 5th Beatle, george Martin (except the last one).


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