More mature and musically complex than the fairly conventional albums that came before, Rubber Soul was the band's most serious project to date. Both the tasks of songwriting and recording were more seriously undertaken. George Harrison's sitar shows up for the first time in "Norwegian Wood"; John Lennon starts to stretch lyrically in "Nowhere Man." The album is #5 on Rolling Stone's list.
No. 3 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest albums, Revolver was by far the band's most ambitious studio project to date. One song, "Tomorrow Never Knows," employed every techno-trick in the book from mechanically-filtered voices to a backwards guitar track. Beyond all the trickery, however, the album included some classic songs—"Eleanor Rigby," "Good Day Sunshine," "I Want to Tell You," "Got to Get You into My Life," etc., etc.
Rolling Stone called Sgt. Pepper's the greatest album of all time (and the Beatles' best)—not just for its music but also it conceptual basis, cover art, and studio technology. The musical and lyrical depth introduced in Rubber Soul and Revolver was taken a step further in this album, which ranged from quaint ("When I'm Sixty-Four") to controversially psychedelic ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds").
Another Rolling Stone top ten album, this 1968 release contains some great music. But the tensions within the band were starting to surface and, as a result, the conceptual coherence of Sgt. Pepper's is a thing of the past. Rolling Stone called it an "exhilarating sprawl" nicely capturing Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison's maturing but now diverging talents.