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Fifth Dimension

The Byrds

1966

Buy At Rough Trade
Fifth Dimension
Album Summary

Fifth Dimension is the third album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in July 1966 on Columbia Records. Most of the album was recorded following the February 1966 departure of the band's principal songwriter Gene Clark. In an attempt to compensate for Clark's absence, guitarists Jim McGuinn and David Crosby stepped into the breach and increased their songwriting output. In spite of this, the loss of Clark resulted in an album with a total of four cover versions and an instrumental, which critics have described as "wildly uneven" and "awkward and scattered". However, the album is notable for being the first by the Byrds not to include any songs written by Bob Dylan, whose material had previously been a mainstay of the band's repertoire.The album peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reached number 27 on the UK Albums Chart. Two preceding singles, "Eight Miles High" and "5D (Fifth Dimension)", were included on the album, with the former just missing the Top 10 of the Billboard singles chart. Additionally, a third single taken from the album, "Mr. Spaceman", managed to reach the U.S. Top 40. Upon release, Fifth Dimension was widely regarded as the band's most experimental album to date and is today considered by critics to be influential in originating the musical genre of psychedelic rock.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.07

Votes

11401

Genres

  • Rock
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Mon Dec 13 2021
2

This album was uninspiring enough that I can't even be bothered to write a proper set of listening notes.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
1

An OK psych folk album, but there is just no reason to have 5 (!) The Byrds albums on this lyst, considering the criminal number of omissions.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

FIVE STARS An all-time classic and a personal favorite of mine. Up to 1966, The Byrds had enough assets in their game to consider they had already established the perfect formula in their very first LP, *Hey Mr Tambourine Man*, and that there was no reason for them to veer off-course three albums in after the success they had. That formula is that cliché most listeners still associate The Byrds with today: use Dylan's shortest, catchiest tunes, cover them by adding melifluous vocal harmonies that are complete u-turns from Bob's rough, nasal timbre and inflexions, wait for those covers to hit the charts, and then cash in. Of course, you could still replace Dylan with Pete Seeger and The Bible (see "Turn, Turn, Turn"), traditional tunes or everything in between. But in its core, the formula didn't change a bit. Not that individual members of the band were frauds and impostors as they performed those skilled transformations. Coming themselves from the US folk scene, they had learned how to translate those folk staples into a more pop-oriented language, but thanks to their original background, they could also instill those rendition with a much-needed sense of authenticity. Both serious and commercial, folk and rock, The Byrds were at the crossroads of everything the sixties were all about. With Gene Clark, The Byrds also had a main songwriter in their ranks, admittedly, and the covers were interspersed with originals, too. But even if Clark seemed like a competent songwriter in his own right, this didn't fool audiences. As influential as The Byrds were on the overall sound of the mid-sixties, they were first and foremost seen as performers. And it was never a problem. The sixties going as fast as they did, it soon became one, however. Especially when Gene Clark left the boat at the exact moment when true authorship started to become a huge plus for pop audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. After Clark's departure, Jim McGuinn and David Crosby had no choice but to step in and increase their songwriting output. That some reviewers have considered that the two guitarists were still in the process of learning the ropes of that trade in 1966 is a little baffling given how the originals on this album could easily be deemed superior to most of Clark's endeavors. The original songs shine throughout the whole LP, leaving many earworms in their trail, from enticing opener "5D" to the John Coltrane and Ravi Shankar-inspired "Eight Miles High", a cryptic track (partly written by Clark before he left) about soft drugs--a tune logically banned on the radio--often quoted as the the first psychedelic rock song ever penned. *Psychedelic*. The word is like that magic carpet on which most of the band members sit Ali-Baba style on the album's front visual. It is a promise to fly to outer worlds of the mind, a promise that's also in keeping with the Sci-Fi themes in some of the songs. "Mr Spaceman" is for instance a tongue-in-cheek country-rock pastiche of sorts referring alien abductions. And the fifth dimension of "5D" is one inspired by Einstein's foray into theoretical physics, not lysergic drugs, contrary to audience's expectations at the time. But such misunderstanding is not necessarily a betrayal of what the song--and the album to which it inspired the name--is all about. Open your mind. Feel that awe (and possible terror, too) when the gates of perceptions are blown far wide. As hackneyed and cliché that philosophy may read today, what's impressive about the album is how fresh, effortless and spontaneous the results of that preliminary foray into a new world appear today. That pop freshness is partly explained by the fact that the Byrds were instigators of that psychedelic trend, and not mere followers of it (the rougher and more garage-oriented version of that trend exemplified by The 13th Floor Elevators came out in the exact same year, for instance). And like many other instigators they were not necessarily understood as they should have been. Short yet insistent bridges and breaks with reverse-tape-recorded guitars, raga-like flourishes and other sitar-inspired riffs abound during the record. The move was challenging for general audiences, yet The Byrds took their chances, catching some fans and even music critics off-guard. The covers were also more interesting and riskier than anything that the band had ever attempted (no Dylan anthem to be heard there). It's a risk that paid off, generally speaking, and nowhere did it pay off more brightly than on that mysterious musical rendition of a poem by Turkish poet Nâzim Hikmet, a quite obscure reference for western audiences. "I Come And Stand At Every Door" is indeed as hypnotic as it is slowly powerful, yet never does it come off as a pretention dirge, so beautiful its intricate harmonies are. At its core, it is a miniature lesson in patience and meditation, one that Crosby would use to great effects again in his own song "Everybody's Been Burned" on the next album. But it's mostly one of many tracks on the album that manages to transcend tts sixties psychedelic context to become something a little more timeless than that, and one can only regret Crosby didn't *really* explore this trend further later on. Obviously, opening your mind also encourages a spaghetti-at-the-wall approach. Even as recently as the last ten years or so, some critics have indeed complained of the topsy-turvy nature of this record marking the Byrds' transition from folk-pop translators of Dylan's repertoire into psychedelic adventurers. But complaining about any lack of cohesiveness here might be missing the point, since the twists and turns in the tracklisitng are part of the appeal here devised for receptive souls tired by standardized listening (and thinking). It's the sort of standard The Byrds had actually set upon themselves during the earliest part of their career, and one can guess they were tired, too. Fortunately, it didn't take them long to find a way out. After *Fifth Dimension*, The Byrds would even use what they had learned from the recording of this preliminary masterpiece to great effects on their two next records, often heralded as their very best. I sometimes wonder why those records, which are a bit of a mess themselves, are never judged as harshly as *Fifth Dimension*. Maybe it's because it takes *more* time for certain minds to open, and that contemporary critical reaction only caught up with The Byrds once Crosby was out of the picture, namely with *The Notorious Byrd Brothers*, leaving the two previous LPs with a more "difficult" critical reputation. But the magic carpet started flying here, with this very album. And to this mind also tired of standardized thinking, it has never flown more beautifully than when it soared like this to the lysergic skies, and beyond them. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 971 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 11 (including this one). Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 7 Albums from the list I will *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 9 Albums I might not be able to judge (some might end up on my final list but it's because I recognize how culturally important they are): 2]

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Thu Sep 16 2021
3

Je croyais pourtant avoir été clair dans ma critique de la semaine dernière au sujet des Byrds et de leur incapable leader Gene Clark... Je vais donc devoir me répéter. Gene Clark et sa bande de joyeux singes n'apportent aucune plus-value à la musique. Ils reprennent un coup l'air de La Marseillaise (cf Eight Miles High), plagient ensuite le bon vieux Jimi (cf Hey Joe) même si ce dernier n'a sorti son tube que l'année suivante, et se permettent de clore leur album avec deux morceaux indisponibles dans votre zone géographique. En résumé, un immense foutage de gueule.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Exit pop stars The Byrds, enter psychedelic folk rock pioneers The Byrds. Very very good.

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Tue Jun 18 2024
4

A little sloppy and a lot trippy. Eight Miles High is maybe the most 60s song there is. Interesting to hear a song with anti-war lyrics about Hiroshima and soon after a weird rendition of the gunning-down-my-woman song Hey Joe (so much cowbell).

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

That was a fun slice of time. Way more varied and sonically interesting than I would have expected. Hey Joe was a pretty wild cover.

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Wed Jun 26 2024
3

Not sure I’d consider this an essential Byrds record, “8 Miles High” is the pretty clear standout, and the singles are also highlights, but the version of “8 Miles High” on their 1970 record, (Untitled)/(Unissued), is probably the version to hear - they jam it out and play with an intensity that few of their peers, *cough* The Grateful Dead *cough*, could ever hope to match. Sorry for the coughing…the pollen is really bad this year. …and if you listen to that version, be sure to follow it up with the next track, “Chestnut Mare”, which, metaphorically speaking, is one of the weirdest songs ever written. 5D isn’t a “great Byrds album” for me, it’s a good one, for sure, but they hadn’t really transitioned into psychedelic folk/rock quite fully yet and I’m not sure 5D rises to the level of “must hear”.

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Fri Jan 28 2022
2

Folk, blues and traditional. Fairly bland, felt a little like a contractual obligation album.

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Tue Sep 15 2020
5

Awesome - hadn't heard Mr Spaceman in ages! Love that guitar tone.

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Fri Sep 25 2020
5

only tambourine man but this is betta

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

Ho lala this week album selection is refined to my psychedelic tastes. LSD and carpet ride is all I have been aspiring to my whole life. Loved this album very much. So very mystically 70s!

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Du bon vieux rock qui s'écoute tout seul

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

A fantastic album, just an absolute joy to listen to

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

The Byrds is another band I grew up with and loved. Memorable Bob Dylan covers included My Back Pages and Mr. Tambourine Man. Fifth Dimension is the first Byrds album that did not include a Dylan cover. However, it does include some traditional songs such as Wild Mountain Thyme and John Riley. The progression from the traditional songs to songs like Eight Miles High and Mr. Spaceman is what makes this album stand out. The Byrds' experimentation and innovation may have helped generate the Psychadelic Rock genre. However, they always kept their folk rock roots. The harmonies of McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman are beautiful. It is no wonder that Crosby, Stills, and Nash followed with great harmonies. Finally, McGuinn's 12 string Rickenbacker adds to the signature sound of the Byrds and is in evidence on this album.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

That was sweet! Such a trip!

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

There is such a thing as 1D chess, 2D chess, 3D and 4D most well known. But The Byrds were out here playing 5D chess, way back in 1966! From beyond far out, they proved themselves to be less interpreters of the increasingly mercurial Dylan but as the more consistent American rock band of their age (Beach Boys notwithstanding), giving us indelible gems that not only became emblematic of their era but also stood the test of time. Fifth Dimension is an important step forward.

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Very good harmony and rhythm. Really liked this one!

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Mon Jan 09 2023
5

Really solid folk rock album. I enjoyed this immensely. Rest in peace David Crosby.

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Thu Jan 26 2023
5

PREFS : 5D (Fifth Dimension), Wild Mountain Thyme, Mr. Spaceman, I See You, What's Happening ?!?!, I Come and Stand at Every Door, Eight Miles High, John Riley MOINS PREF : Captain Soul

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Sun Feb 05 2023
5

Top echelon stuff, this. A touch of absolute genius, when it comes to arrangement.

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Wed Mar 29 2023
5

Psychedelic folk by some of the greatest. Love it.

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Wed Apr 19 2023
5

I honestly love David Crosby the more I listen to him. Hell yes to the tightness on display too.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
5

absolute genius. 1966 and what a blend of voices and harmonies, rock, folk and some Shankar inspired sounds... Thought provoking and hopeful lyrics. Love it

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Fri May 12 2023
5

Great guitar work here. Harmonies slick as always. The more Britishy folk vibes are here. Would have given it 4 but giving it 5 cause the haters made me love it more.

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Sun Aug 13 2023
5

Psicodelia na dose certa, a guitarra do Crosby garante o envolvimento da viagem entre o folk e blues.

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

Had never listened to the Byrds but I really enjoyed this ablum! A mix of styles and sounds, but all a great listening experience

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

I like this album quite a bit, it's one I listened to semi frequently before I started the 1001 albums thing and it's one I'm going to continue listening to after. It's fascinating to listen to music from a birth of a genre and that's exactly what you get from 5th dimension with psychedelic rock. Tropes that would become staples are first taking shape here.

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Sun Apr 28 2024
5

When "Notorious Byrd Brothers" came around as album #13, I had of course heard of them and their Tambourine Man but I'd been largely ignorant about who they were and what they actually did. Some jangle pop folk rock, no? That album ended up in my favourites. So does this, even more so, because I've also since realized how much I like David Crosby ('Notorious' should have been a 4 probably, but I don't care, this isn't a contest). Bottom line: when The Byrds were like *this*, they were possibly the best 60ies band that side of the Atlantic.

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Tue Apr 30 2024
5

New favorite Byrds album of the book so far! I'm clearly way too young to be making this declaration, but this album must have been considered ahead of its time...I'd actually probably suspect most Byrds albums are considered as such. I never realized how important they were to music until this boom though. Favorite track: Eight Miles High

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Sun May 05 2024
5

Folk rock, psychedelic rock. Lovely harmonies, a very calm and peaceful album. I really liked the atmosphere of the songs, just mellow and almost hypnotic. Incredible guitar work, with drums and bass really flowing together. Pretty cool learning that this album is thought of as the first psychedelic album ever released. Also worth mentioning that this album as produced masterfully, everything is so clear when it needs to be, my only gripe is that it's mixed where pretty much each instrument is panned to one side or the other. And it doesn't stay consistent either. That aside, everything about this album was beautiful. Absolutely loved it all. Might listen again, I think visiting this bands other albums would be cool as well. 4.5/5

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Mon May 06 2024
5

Was very happy when this popped up. I grew up with the Byrds and love this - great music, vocals, harmonies.

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Tue Jun 18 2024
5

This popped up on my screen and for a brief moment I was ecstatic! I hadn’t imagined that this list would acknowledge The 5th Dimension… Wedding Bell Blues! One Less Bell To Answer! Up Up and Away! I had thought that the closest I’d get to this was the Laura Nyro album “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” album we had some time ago where we heard the original “Sweet Blindness”. Never mind… This is Fifth (not 5th) Dimension by The Byrds. Oops. This was quite good. Pretty much what I expect from The Byrds by now but I really liked it. The bonus tracks were pretty great too. Still, I can’t help but think one could trim down those five albums from The Byrds to make room for The 5th Dimension.

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Sun Jun 23 2024
5

Fifth Dimension represents a pivotal shift towards psychedelia, blending folk rock with experimental sounds and introspective lyrics. Released in 1966, it features standout tracks like Eight Miles High and Fifth Dimension, showcasing Roger McGuinn's distinctive 12-string guitar and the band's harmonious vocals amidst a backdrop of innovative studio techniques. Despite initial mixed reviews, the album has since become a landmark in psychedelic rock, influencing generations with its adventurous spirit and musical exploration. NUMBER OF BANGERS - 9 STAND OUT TRACK - What's Happening?

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Fri Jun 28 2024
5

The Byrds had such an amazing sound. It’s sad they weren’t around too long. Their harmonies were so pleasant and their style was such a beautiful blend of folk and rock. I loved this album!!

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Thu Jul 18 2024
5

Great album with some of my favorite tracks

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Wed Sep 30 2020
4

This album was pretty good but kind of samey to me. I couldn't really distinguish between most of the songs, but I liked the sound. I think this folky kind of rock is pretty cool and I would listen to more of it.

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Fri Oct 23 2020
4

A nice album. Nothing of a surprise, given what I've heard of them, but this was pleasant to listen to.

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Mon Sep 28 2020
4

funky as hell, video game music typa thing from a AAA trailer for fallout or something.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

I enjoyed this and should listen again

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Fri Jul 09 2021
4

Strong start with the title track, and I'd never heard their excellent version of "Wild Mountain Thyme" before. The rest of the album sounds like a Byrds album. Definitely worth listening to when you're in the right mood.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

One of the best folk rock album of the sixties. Modern sound to it.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

I really like the guitar tone and their use of vocal harmony. It's almost like a more rock-y Simon and Garfunckel.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
4

Pretty good. Not my favorite Byrds album. 7/10 1. Eight Miles High 2. Wild Mountain Thyme 3. 5D (Fifth Dimension)

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Tue Mar 30 2021
4

Right from a Wes Anderson movie. Happy, folksy, druggy. David Crosby style harmonies. Fun, 60s listen. Lots of variety. Definitely enjoyed it.

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Sat May 01 2021
4

Jai bien aime, plus experimental et pousse que l’autre album de byrds dans cette loste.3.5

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Thu May 20 2021
4

Some decent tracks but probably not anything I’ll come back to. I think something that I’ll nitpick about several 60s albums on this list that are in the rock/folk/psychedelia area have production that sounds fuzzy (mostly on the guitars and vocals) and that decreases my overall enjoyment of them. 7

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

Nice 60s vibes. Beattles style in some parts, but less moving

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

Agradable y muy melódico. Un gran avance

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Mon Mar 01 2021
4

"Eight Miles High" Released: March 14, 1966 "5D (Fifth Dimension)" Released: June 13, 1966 "Mr. Spaceman" Released: September 6, 1966

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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

Los Beatles de California, muy crema

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Thu May 20 2021
4

7/10. birb. Their version of Wild Mountain Thyme was a bit lame, actually

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Mon Jun 14 2021
4

A classic psychedelic sound- guessing it's the inspiration for a lot of later work given the year. Somehow, it holds up today. A pleasant amount of variety in each song.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
4

Now that's folk-rock. One of those bands that I often heard about but never listened too. I was surprised

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Reminded me of Crosby, Stills and Nash mixed with the Beatles a little bit. Good but I'd have to be in the mood for it.

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Thu Aug 05 2021
4

I really enjoyed this one. Quirky and all over the place and very of it's time for sure, but what a time. Particularly like the wild guitar playing on this one.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
4

some really wacky guitar parts (Eight Miles High) that sound like a small mammal running up and down the fretboard. love the trippy vibes, the 60s must have been fun

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

Good album. Nails the cool, chill, transcendental, raw, dirty energy of 60s LA. The lyrics, transitions and sound mix can get a bit clunky at times. Love the sitar/guitar sound, the harmonies abd there are some standout parts from the rhythm section. 3.5 but giving a 4.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

The sound of psychedelia. Perhaps not quite as good as their earlier "classic pop" but still beautiful harmonies.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

Great album! Lots of variety Favourite tracks: Hey Joe, Wild Mountain Thyme, Mr. Spaceman

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

Really easy listening, can't really fault it. Nothing jumps out as an absolute banger but equally nothing jumps out in the other direction either. Been listening for this for 4 hours on repeat I think.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

60s album? Check. Psychedelic? Check. Has to be a 4/5 then doesn't it really? That it does, that it does.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
4

Like so many albums from this time, you can feel the beginnings of psychedelic music

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

I love this. It's incredibly uneven, and feels as though there wasn't much consensus internally regarding direction. But that's the kind of album I love; a bit scattered, but intensely artistic throughout, with a real sense of building a new movement for pop music.

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

My late grandmother loved this band, so this album reminds me of her.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

There are some original songs, some are average

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Thu Feb 24 2022
4

Pretty good early psych rock. Didn't realize 5D was about the theory of relativity...

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Fri Feb 25 2022
4

A solid offering, again highlighting their folky style of rock. Good guitars and harmonies against some strong songwriting.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

I love Eight Miles High - a cracker of a song. And there are some other good tracks there. I'll go back to it.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
4

Mom can we listen to The Beatles? We have The Beatles at home. The Beatles at home:

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Sun May 08 2022
4

começando a chamar na psicodelia

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Sun May 08 2022
4

This is my third Byrds album. It also happens to be the first Byrds album that doesn't rely on any of Bob Dylan's songs. He may not have his songs featured, but the influence is still heavily there, at least early on. Better than 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo,' not as good as 'Mr. Tambourine Man,' 'Fifth Dimension' was an interesting, sometimes psychedelic ride with the Byrds that ultimately didn't really wind up anywhere super noteworthy.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Fine record, has a few nice moments of harmony but nothing inherently outstanding.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

Such an influential album. Guitars are spectacular

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Wed May 25 2022
4

Var ekki að dansa neitt sérstaklega við fyrstu hlustun, en þessi vinnur verulega á við aðra. Oftast skemmtilegt létt sjöunda psychadelíurokk og ágætlega flutt. Ekkert meistarastykki, en vel áheyrilegt.

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

Really disjointed, but still a great listen. You've got to be in the mood for a little bit of everything. This is the one where they didn't need Gene Clark (or Bob Dylan). Best track: Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)

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Thu Jun 23 2022
4

The Byrds continue their jangly folk rock sound but delve into psychedelia, who would popularize the genre. Early usages of psychedelic pop are employed here: cryptic surreal lyrics, beautiful yet ominous singing, raga-structured guitar, and cloudy repetitive instrumentals where everyone seems to do their own thing. Sounds like they're still trying to copy Bob Dylan with the vocals in "5D" and harmonica in "Captain Soul." Some early country rock with "Mr. Spaceman." As a fan of their jangly guitars and harmonious singing, there were only a few songs I didn't care for much. It's a fantastic effort as always. Favorites: Wild Mountain Thyme, I See You, What's Happening, Eight Miles High, Hey Joe, 2-4-2 Fox Trot, Why

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

Ahora sí, algo de The Byrds que realmente me gustó y que me hizo debatir entre 4 y 5 estrellas. Si bien todavía tienen sus momentos de voces en coro muy dulce y armonizado, el resto del disco tiene grandes momentos, en especial un sonido de la guitarra muy rasposa, como con algu de blues pero con psicodelia al mismo tiempo. Entiendo mejor como es que esta banda fue tan importante influencia.

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Sun Jul 24 2022
4

The best Byrds album? I prefer having Gram Parsons in the mix, but this works.

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