Great Album, great remastering
Flabbadydoo | 07/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you already have the album and were wondering whether the remastering was worth the purchase, let me say that it is. The sound in greatly improved and it is like a new listening experience. Much more detail is present to the music and I heard things that I never heard before--trumpet notes I never noticed, percussion parts such as maraccas that were lost in the mix are now present and alive. I must say that I haven't enjoyed all the remasters, but this album definitely benefits. The packaging is also very nice and they finally included the booklet that came with the original album---as it should have always been. In addition to the comic that tells the story from the movie, there are many other interesting notes about the album.
As far as the album itself, it is fantastic. In a sense it represented a step back from the concept album that was Sgt Pepper, but the music continues in the wildly experimental psychedelic vain. It actually harks back to earlier Beatle albums in its structure in that side one is songs from a film and side two is comprised of additional tracks--just like "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!"
Though the songs lack the concept and cohesion of Sgt Pepper because of how it was put together, song for song, I think this is the better album. It sounds almost like a greatest hits album, especially since side two is basically the singles from 1967 that were collected together to complete the album. Some of these were double A sides, so there is barely anything weak sounding. In the remastering, The title track is electric and alive like never before--also "I am the Walrus" is mind blowing. "Magical Mystery Tour", "Fool on the Hill", "I am the Walrus", "Hello Goodbye", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", "All You Need is Love" makes 7 hit songs on one album. That alone should make this one of the best albums ever. Of the other four selections, "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "Your Mother Should Know" are good songs and pleasant to listen to, but lack the polish of the others in that they both fall short lyrically. "Mother" doesn't go anywhere lyrically and seems more like an idea for a song than a finished product. "Baby" has an inane line about keeping your money in a zoo!, but is otherwise very good. I wish John had spent a few more minutes on that. It is interesting to note that the melody for the verse of this song was ripped off in the Jackie DeShannon hit "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." Blue Jay Way is deary but atmospheric, conjuring a feeling of brooding and full of dread. I don't listen to it very much, but curiously my 15 year old son loves it. "Flying" is simply filler from the movie.
I am glad that this American Album was left in the Beatles cannon, since it is one of the few American albums that was superior to its British counterpart, which was just the film songs on an EP. Though this is off topic, I also prefer "Meet the Beatles' to "With the Beatles" because it includes "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "I Saw Her Standing There" and a lot of the cover songs were left off, making it a stronger collection of songs and much more Lennon/McCartney. I also prefer the trio of American albums "Rubber Soul" "Yesterday, and Today" and "Revolver."
By shaving songs off other albums and creating the third, Capitol gave each one a unique flavor not present in the British counter parts. Rubber Soul is much more folky, because the more rocky songs "Drive My Car" "Nowhere Man" and "If I needed Someone" are left off and a couple of folky songs left over from Help are included. Like-wise a few rocky songs from Revolver are left off--"And Your Bird can Sing", "She Said She Said". Capitol took these songs and a couple of singles-"Day Tripper", "We Can Work it Out" to create the third album. As a result, "Revolver" sounds much more progressive and psychedelic, Rubber Soul more folky and the newly formed third album, sounds like a fantastic collection of mid-sixties rock (aside from the ballad "Yesterday"). I am sure some of this preference comes from the fact that I am American and this is how I first experienced the Beatles. Otherwise, I am perfectly satisfied that the British catalog has more artistic integrity and is overall much stronger.
I am glad to have this fabulous album in this form to listen to, and whenever I run across someone who doesn't understand what the fuss about the Beatles was, this is one I want to play for them. It is a classic and any serious music fan should have it.