Fifth Dimension – The Byrds (1966)

Album no. 63/1001

We’re onto the second album by American group The Byrds. They have started to go a bit psychedelic as well, not sure if you’re noticing a theme here?

This album was recorded after Gene Clark had left, which was a bit rough as he was their principal songwriter up to that point. David Crosby and Jim McGuinn stepped up, for better or worse. This is the first Byrds album not to have any Bob Dylan songs on it, and it’s up to you to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. But given how much I LOVED their first album on this list, I’m very much looking forward to this. I hope it’s good. I’ll be really annoyed if it’s not good.

NK: Never.

Standout track

CL: Hmmm. This isn’t grabbing me as much as Mr Tambourine Man. They’ve gone a bit… weird. What is this ‘Mr Spaceman’ rubbish? Come on guys. Oh my, this has really gone downhill. ‘I Come And Stand At Every Door’ is so slow and boring, I was clawing at my ears. ‘2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)’ creeped me out. I don’t want to hear an airplane taking off at the beginning of a song. Planes frighten me. This was a poor way to finish the album. Also, what is a lear jet?

NK: Don’t you love travelling? Isn’t that difficult if you’re afraid of flying? Don’t get me wrong, I hate flying too, but I hate it because I’m taller than the average bear and have trouble with leg and knee room. I think lear jets are the ones that rich people have to fly them about. I also think this album is more interesting than the first one, especially musically.

CL: Let’s be real, there are probably three decent songs on this album – ‘I See You’, ‘Eight Miles High’ and ‘Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)’.   

NK: ‘Hey Joe’ is interesting, but I can see why people got so excited about my guy Jimi Hendrix. I think the best track is ‘Captain Soul’. Is that the one with no vocals that’s basically a series of guitar solos? YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT IS.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: CERTAINLY NOT STRAIGHT AFTER THEIR FIRST ALBUM BECAUSE YOU WILL WEEP.

NK: All the research I do tells me this album is hugely influential in psychedelic circles. Maybe after a few joints it gets a bit better. If you absolutely have it listen to it, try that.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: As we’ve said, we’re moving in a psychedelic sort of direction – a couple of the tracks on here are a bit ‘out there’ (keeping in mind it’s still only 1966). Were these guys on some pretty serious drugs? I certainly hope so.

NK: It has a psychedelic direction for sure, but you know what? I’m still not sold on the Byrds. At least this album isn’t just a bunch of Dylan covers. They were having a go, bless them.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: This was terribly disappointing after Mr Tambourine Man. SO SLOW AND BORING. I’m pretty upset about this. I’m going to need a minute.

NK: I certainly won’t.

Rating

CL:This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Fifth Dimension on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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