There are some well-crafted songs on the album. "Mother Nature's Son," was a song quietly crafted my McCartney alone, wanting to get it right. This song could be played as a Scottish ballad, and bespeaks McCartney's heritage, as, "Mull of Kintyre," would later. Other McCartney songs hearken back to his parents'/ancestor's Dance Hall style, which Lennon dismissed as, "granny music."
But, all Beatles were simultaneously seeking out their individual roots, while also trying to craft examples of standard styles, e.g., Lennon, with, "Yer Blues." Each Beatle had his own idea of his own musical identity: McCartney: Dance-able, structured, lyrical, traditional pop. Lennon: Blues and early hard rock and roll. Starr: American country and R&B. Harrison: Carl Perkins, Motown girl bands, R&B. Harrison was also deeply inspired by the Indian music his mother played whilst he was en utero.
All members were united by Skiffle and the Mersey beat, as much as they were united by R&R, folk, and George's strange new ideas concerning the Sitar, the Moog, and LSD, etc. George was more of a driving force than most people realise, even when it came to artistically challenging the egos of Paul and John. This time was one of great fracturing. I think that, after they fled from India, and the great Guru who had incorrectly been believed to have been a sexual jackass, back to England - I think that they were all a little embarrassed by their gullibility and folly.
And so, according to my theory, each of these males set off alone, trying to rebuild their egos, musically, because of their injured pride. And each somewhat though less of the others. So, a lot of energy was released during the White Album, but which resulted in about 1/2 the songs being created by only one Beatle, alone. And, I think that Paul might have been most at fault in this, becoming so perfectionist and demanding, and perhaps isolationist.
So, an interesting thing that I noticed was that, in a few of their songs, both John and George seem to reproduce Paul's vocal sound when they did their backtracks. This will have to be investigated further. But it seems that George imitates Paul in, "Savoy Truffle," and John imitates him in at least two of his solo songs. Maybe, George and Paul felt a little incomplete, without the old Beatles sound of paul accompanying them. or, maybe they wanted that they could be as good as, if not better than, Paul. Who knows?
Anyway, this album was innitially considered by some critics to be too much of a Pastiche. Along the meaning of that word, being, "Imitation of earlier artist/s" - I would say that, yes, there were imitations of more standard blues, rock, etc., etc. But, it could better be said that the Beatles branched out to make an album of very accessible variety. And they added their own stamp of genius, taking each genre farther. What is so wrong with one more song, in any genre, so long as it is good? And these were great.
In my opinion, the White Album is a great introductory album for new, younger, experimental, open-minded listeners. Great for boys. I shared my love of this album with other friends of mine, when we were younger teens. And, many tracks are silly enough for little kids.
Along the meaning of the word, "Pastiche," being, "An incoherent assortment or collection" - well, that is partly true, and to be expected from the variety of styles - along with the avante guard leanings. But, as I have said, rearrange the songs, and the album sounds very coherent. It was just their stupid egos which resulted in a more slap-dash work, as in requiring alteration of each artist's contributions, or lumping all the 'animal songs' together in a block. At least one Beatle HATED Revolution 9, and so it got stuck near the end, inorganically. And so on.
I believe George and Ringo were only allowed two songs each on the album, which was an injustice, considering George had so much material to offer, and the long-running Revolution 9 was not exactly a popular piece of art. Although I loved that 'song' when I was young, looking back now, I see it more as a bunch of overindulgent boys pigging out on the tape machines. With their piggie wives.
[When I wrote the earlier post in the White Album, I was thinking of the word to use, meaning, "Pastiche.' I came up with the word, "mish-mash," instead of pastiche or hodgepodge. The word, "mish-mash," figures into a possible upcoming post re: coincidence].
On another subject, I just wanted to mention a hypothesis I have re: Beatles... Many of their song started off with 'loving commands', which drew the listener into a dream or a comfortable place. "All My Loving" was the Beatles' opening number on their debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964 - and it opened with the phrase, "Close your eyes, and I'll kiss you..." Which is a killer come-on for countless post WW2 teen girls, right? And, so, there are other songs, too many to mention right now, like, "Turn off your mind, relax, and float down-stream," or, "Picture a place.. with rocking-horse trees...", etc. Good thesis material for some music student.
PS - The song, "Sexy Sadie,' was written as a retort to that suspect Indian Guru, Maharishi Whatever. So, the depiction of Sadie, in, "Across the Universe," is more of an American misinterpretation or fabrication.