The album represented a major artistic development for the Beatles, as they branched out from their original sound. All the songs on the album were written by members of the group. New instruments, such as the sitar on "Norwegian Wood", were used, and the influence of other contemporary artists like Bob Dylan could also clearly be seen. The lyrics also showed a new maturity, as they began to explore other subjects besides romantic love.
Until Rubber Soul, the Beatles' previous albums had not been released in the United States with the same lineup as their British counterparts. To increase profits, their record label, EMI, split their albums up and added alternate takes and B-sides, so that American audiences were forced to purchase additional Beatles albums (Something New, The Beatles' Second Album, Beatles 1965). As the Beatles became more aware and defensive of the artistic composition of their albums, they became more protective of the makeup of their albums. Beginning with Rubber Soul, all of their American albums matched the British versions (with the exception of Magical Mystery Tour).
- Drive My Car (Lennon/McCartney)
- Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (Lennon/McCartney)
- You Won't See Me (Lennon/McCartney)
- Nowhere Man (Lennon/McCartney)
- Think For Yourself (Harrison)
- The Word (Lennon/McCartney)
- Michelle (Lennon/McCartney)
- What Goes On (Lennon/McCartney/Starkey)
- Girl (Lennon/McCartney)
- I'm Looking Through You (Lennon/McCartney)
- In My Life (Lennon/McCartney)
- Wait (Lennon/McCartney)
- If I Needed Someone (Harrison)
- Run For Your Life (Lennon/McCartney)