OK, I listened to all the Beatles albums from Rubber Soul down to Abbey Road.
1 (tie) The White Album
1 (tie) Abbey Road
3. Sgt. Pepper
4. Rubber Soul
I need to listen to Help, Hard Days Night, and Let it Be still. I think I'll pass on the earlier Beatlemania stuff.
To explain my ranking a bit:
Rubber Soul was a great album from top to bottom, but the songs still lacked some of the playfulness of the later albums.
While I appreciate the experimental nature of Revolver, I found it a little abrasive for my liking. I feel like they could have re-visited these songs and tightened them up a little, and maybe toned down on some of the randomness in them. Tomorrow Never Knows felt like it could have been one of their best songs ever, but was a bit gimmicky sounding, while songs like Back in the USSR and Revolution with similar energy sound much more pleasant.
Sgt Pepper reminds me A LOT of exactly what a tightened up Revolver would sound like, plus it feels like an adventure through some kind of cosmopolitan city and feels very interconnected. I think a lot of hip hop albums took inspiration from this, the story that this album tells. Some really big singles on there, but I feel like the White Album outclassed it, musically, with the sole exception of A Day in the Life. Although, I forgot how interesting this album was as a top to bottom experience.
The White Album is just epic in scale, it reminds me a lot of Rubber Soul, except heavily expanded and with a more playful, edgy, and mature sound to it. I think the song writing on this marks the peak of the Beatles. This one has a TON of my favourite Beatles songs on it, I didn't even realize.
Abbey Road is still at the peak, it is a tighter overall album than the White Album, and is more accessible, I am not really sure it feels all that different from the White Album, just a more crushed down version of it. It has a better ending.
Anyway, that's my initial impression. I'll have to listen to them while high next and get a more informed take.