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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “It’s Beatlemania, remastered! “

    Its Beatlemania, remastered!

    Daily Wildcat reporter Brandon Specktor sat down with all 13 remastered Beatles classics Sunday and recorded his thoughts at http://twitter.com/EndlessBeatles. Here’s his final take on every album.

    Please Please Me (1963): Simple, campy, ‘50s-infused fluff; an unlikely springboard for one of the most diverse careers in rock music. “”Twist and Shout”” is vintage John Lennon, even if his sandpaper-y growl is the product of a terrible cold. He should’ve been sick every album.

    With the Beatles (1963): Already, the sound is noticeably denser and deeper than the album’s predecessor (especially remastered), but still reliant on ’50s crooning and well-known covers. “”Till There Was You,”” the only Broadway tune the four ever covered, is an unexpected album highlight, ripe with bongos and acoustic sincerity.

    A Hard Day’s Night (1964): The onset of a stylistic evolution, straying from covers and one-note pop songs, but damn short (longest song = 2:43). Contrary to popular rumor, “”Can’t Buy Me Love”” is not, in fact, about prostitutes.

    Beatles for Sale (1964): Amped-up blues covers make the album the most rocking to date, but still don’t solidify the band’s unique sound. “”Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey”” is a delicious dish of 12-bar blues, and uses vocal harmonization the way it oughta be: subtle.

    Help! (1965): Audible proof of each Beatle coming into his own; home to the first of the uniquely Beatles hits like “”Yesterday,”” camp free! The derivative middle third of the album is redeemed by the finale: “”I’ve Just Seen a Face,”” “”Yesterday”” and “”Dizzy Miss Lizzy.”” Greatness.

    Rubber Soul (1965): Symptomatic of the poetic rock style that would soon embody the Beatles. “”Girl”” is as melancholy as “”I’m Looking Through You”” is upbeat, making the latter third of the album an infectious rock ‘n’ roll mood swing.

    Revolver (1966): “”Taxman”” kicks things off with an incendiary McCartney solo that puts their debut to shame. The strings resound on the remastered “”Eleanor Rigby,”” “”I’m Only Sleeping”” bristles with bass and Lennon’s voice is at its soporific best. Ringo’s subtle, rattling cymbals and the harpsichord feel of “”For No One”” make for one of the most aurally complex remasters yet. An increasingly experimental aesthetic creates a sonic depth that begs to be replayed.

    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): The rise of the avante-garde Beatles provides an aural feast, but ultimately consists more of artsy-fartsy show than substance. “”A Day in the Life”” concludes the album with deep, echoing gravitas before degenerating into record-skipping chaos.

    Magical Mystery Tour (1967): Reflective of Yoko’s presence, the album is ethereal and all over the place; least guitar-driven of any Beatles effort. The distorted, faraway vocals of “”Blue Jay Way”” are nothing short of haunting. Bad trip, man!

    The Beatles (The White Album) (1968): A few annoyances, but overall the most ambitious and stylistically varied Beatles endeavor ever. If this album were reduced to a single, indispensable track, it would be “”While My Guitar Gently Weeps,”” no contest.

    Yellow Submarine (1969): Unless you’re a fan of the film, four original songs and theatrical instrumentals mark this album a mere accessory. The remastering makes it much easier to be distracted by the bells, whistles, kazoos and xylophones in “”Only a Northern Song.””

    Abbey Road (1969): The culmination of seven years of musical experimentation, this album is the Beatles at their most rocking, emotional best. The mini rock opera from “”Mean Mr. Mustard”” to “”The End”” might be the single greatest 10-minute span in Beatles lore.

    Let It Be (1970): A heartfelt, bare-bones goodbye from a band that single-handedly defined the music of the ’60s. Phil Spector’s “”Wall of Sound”” leaves “”Across The Universe”” dense and all-encompassing. John Lennon is not just a voice, but a presence. Georgie’s triumphant solo coupled with Paul’s booming organ make “”Let It Be”” totally chill-worthy. Not a bad way to go out.

    — Brandon Specktor

    Past Masters, Vol. 1 and 2: Every bit as essential as any of their albums, this 33-song set includes all the official Beatles tracks that didn’t make it onto their albums, from classics like “”Hey Jude”” to oddities like “”You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).”” The first disc is the strongest, with incredible rockers like their cover of Little Richard’s “”Long Tall Sally”” and indelible hits like “”She Loves You,”” but the overall weaker second disc begins with a powerful sweep of songs — ””Day Tripper,”” “”We Can Work It Out,”” “”Paperback Writer”” and “”Rain”” — so strongly redolent of Swingin’ London you’ll start snapping your fingers and grooving away like Austin Powers on a cold rainy morning.

    — Justyn Dillingham

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