on 25 November 2006
I've had many Beatles discs on CD, but oddly they've never really been listened to a great deal. The curous flatness that marred other pre-remastered Great Albums like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is still there . . . because absolutely incredibly, the Beatles back catalogue has never received this treatment. Until now!
I loved the actual sound of this album (though not the concept) from he moment I heard it, and the whole thing is fantastic. Just listen to how the first full song 'Get Back' burst out of the speakers as if the Fab Four were right in front of you. This is how they should sound. Throughout the entire album/collage, I was astonished at the clarity, and how I felt like I did the first time I'd heard them.
The level of invention is high, and some of the cheekier song merges bring a smile every time. The backward track 'Gnik Nus' is a little highlight. It could all have gone horribly wrong - like something from the 'Hooked on Classics' franchise or Jive Bunny, but due to the avoidance of Beatlmania tracks (only Help! and I want to hold your hand) that is thankfully avoided.
But 'Love' is the title and concept of this album, and 'fifth Beatle' George Martin (and son) have defined the word to the letter. What struck me when listening to the album all the way through is how important the late George Harrison was to the 'Beatle sound', either in his distinctive vocal harmonies or introduction of Indian instumentation. I think Martin knew this, and though Lennon & McCartney get their fair share, it's the Harrison aspect I was frequenly reminded of and actually moved by. 'While my guitar gently weeps' is stunningly presented in Martin's arrangement, a beautiful moment in an album which is full of lovely sounds. All of which points to the obvious comment made by everyone else - GET THE ORIGINALS REMASTERED!!!
on 18 December 2006
Don't take any notice of the supposed Beatles fans who give negative reviews to this CD. The point is that the back catalogue + Anthology is already available. This achieves the impossible -- pulling together all that was brilliant about the Beatles -- three of the best songwriters of the 20th century and the most innovative production and arrangements. Most importantly, it demonstrates that they didn't take themselves too seriously -- they all have a go at singing and Ringo features on this collection too. It wins on all counts -- sound quality of classics, innovative combinations of songs. On only one track (Drive My Car/What You're Doing/The Word) does it ever sound a bit like Stars on 45 -- and this is a standout track, reminding listeners of the featured little known McCartney gem. Everyone would like their own favourites featured but there's a limit to what you can get into 80 minutes or so.
on 24 November 2006
I must admit I was very sceptical of this release but had read one glowing review after another so decided to invest in the two disc addition. The first disc, a normal cd is fantastic in it's own right. I have heard this album referred to as a "Mash up" and after hearing it I think this paints an inaccurate picture of what it really is. Rather than sounding like a cut and paste mess the songs are largely original and for the most part flow into one another. The 5.1 surround disc is simply stunning with the best recordings of these songs I have heard. I have a DVD player with the ability to play the DVD Audio format therefore realising the full potential of this disc (high resolution) however this disc will still play in a normal DVD video player and offer exceptional sound. The 5.1 mix is messmerising and the clarity combined with the creative mixing (eg birds,dolphins in the background of a few tracks) gives the album a very contemporary feel almost as if it were recorded last week. These tracks sound so good they actually sound like a live recording. In my oppinion this would be one of the best albums this year and without doubt one of the best 5.1 surround discs available.
on 26 December 2006
I've not long been to Vegas on holiday and turned my nose up at the chance to see 'Love' on the Mirage because I don't think I'm a fan of 'Cirque...' and I thought it was going to be set purely to Beatles tracks. On listening to this I realise how wrong I was and now regret not going to see it. George Martin has proved yet again how important he was to the Fabs' success and together he and his son Giles have produced a new Bealtles album. Forget comparisons with other compilations, this does sound like a new album. John Lennon once said that one of the things he liked best about 'I Am The Walrus' was that no matter how many times you listened to it you always heard something new, well here is a 90 minute example of that idea. The best thing of all for me though is that it has all been remixed so that it can be listened to on headphones without having the drums in one ear and the vocals in another etc as was the irritating fashion in the 1960s. If you're a purist and want everything as it was, leave it alone and don't moan about it. If however you have an open mind, buy it and enjoy!
on 29 December 2006
It's 9.30am Boxing Day morning - rest of the family still in bed. I make a coffee and pick up the Love CD my husband bought me for Christmas. I hadn't asked for it, hadn't really heard anything about it but as a keen Beatles fan with all their vinyl, he and one of my sons thought I might like it.
I put it in the CD player and switched the amp over from aux input to CD, forgetting that the volume is cranked up when using aux. I heard the Across the Universe intro and then suddenly, John's voice burst through the (big) speakers with the opening notes of Because. I grappled for the remote to turn the volume down but stopped - it sounded so fresh, so new, so amazing. The harmonies came in and it was absolutely brilliant. Sod the volume, I left it as it was and just soaked it in - family, and neighbours no doubt, getting a somewhat rude awakening!
It was incredible. Suddenly I was on a magical history tour - I had been transported back almost 40 years. I felt the same excitement that I had felt way back then on getting a new Beatles album for Christmas and rushing upstairs to play it on my then crappy record player. But this was far, far better - the sound was amazing. I hadn't listened to any Beatles for years, avoiding the tired compilation CD's and my old vinyl stopped sounding good a long, long time ago but I found I knew every word to every song. In spite of the familiarity, due to the Martins' clever and creative mixing, bits of songs were mixed in with others making it a real voyage of discovery - like a new album, you simply didn't know what was coming next, which in turn made it even better. That's Piggies in there, that's from Nowhere Man etc. I was in my element.
My husband looked round the door, put his fingers in his ears, cast his eyes heavenward and said it was like watching a teenager - exactly!! I had forgotten what it was like - suddenly I remember the things I was doing, feeling and listening to then. It was like my life had been paused whilst I got married, had a family and grew up - now I have pressed the pause button and let it carry on playing. What an experience.
No, it is not new material as one reviewer said - how could it be? - but if you grew up with the Beatles and you want to feel like a teenager again, buy this and play it as loud as you can but on a real hifi with speakers not an MP3 player with headphones, and preferably in a room on your own so you don't make too big a fool of yourself. You will love it!
on 10 December 2006
This CD is a potentially controversial remixing of the Beatles cannon by their producer George Martin and his son, Giles. Their last major compilation, 2000's 1, is still the best-selling record of the decade. The Beatles legend refuses to die, which is not a huge surprise since their song-writing prowess and studio genius have yet to be equalled.
`Hear the recordings for the first time...' runs the marketing sticker on the case. Listening to the album is indeed a weird, out-of-body experience if one knows all their recordings very well and is one of their legions of fans who's spent a lifetime obsessing over every note of every arrangement of every song. Now nothing is really sacred and everything is mixed up in a very Beatle-ish way. (Ringo has been quoted as saying that this is EXACTLY the type of mucking around with their own legend that The Beatles would have loved).
The producers have used notes, riffs and tiny fragments of the whole Beatles' oeuvre as instruments in a whole new canvas. Post-Modernism has finally hit Pop music.
Get Back, for example begins with the opening chord of A Hard Days Night followed by the guitar and drum solos from The End, and is swept into being with the orchestral crescendo from A Day In The Life before transforming itself seamlessly into Glass Onion through echoes of Hello Goodbye and Penny Lane's trumpet flourishes. Taxman's guitar solo steals onto Drive My Car. The sweeping strings of Goodnight act as a new intro to Octopus's Garden. Sun King is played backwards as Gnik Nus. Why Don't We Do It In The Road drums break into Lady Madonna.
The splendid remastering is, alone, worth the price of purchase. Hearing the album is like being able to fly into the grooves of those old vinyl records and gaze in awe at their magnificently newly-polished, glistening contours. Many of the songs such as Eleanor Rigby and Strawberry Fields, which are monoliths of popular culture, now have the chance to become monoliths of sound.
The highlight for me is George Martin's elegiac and sublime new string arrangement for While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Even at the age of eighty and fighting deafness, the Fifth Beatle has yet another musical jewel to offer. Christmas has come early for Beatle fans.
on 5 December 2006
Yet another new Beatles album that doesn't actually offer any new Beatles material. Previous releases such as `Live at The BBC', `Anthology 1,2 and 3' all served a purpose. The `Yellow Submarine' Songtrack was slightly less forgivable and `Let it be...Naked' seemed to be partly Paul McCartney's way of exorcising a few demons regarding Phil Spector's string treatment to `The Long and Winding Road'. Add to this the `1' album and the release of the American versions of the original albums and for some, the response to the news that `Love' was to be released to accompany a `Cirque De Saloeui Show' (a glorified circus in Las Vegas) was a lukewarm one at best.
The fact that Sir George Martin and his son/fellow producer Giles Martin had produced the album of remixed tracks did help to suppressed some of the scepticism and give the album slightly more credibility. After all Sir George did state when the `The Anthology' venture was finished it would we his last Beatles project. He was hardly likely to come out of "Beatles retirement" and not make a good job of it.
The Las Vegas Circus extravaganza with it's own purpose built arena required a Beatles soundtrack, and once it was decided that it would be actual Beatle music that was used, rather than some sub standard cover versions, George Martin and son were on board. However, rather than compile a potentially new greatest hits package to follow the `Red' and `Blue' albums and the `1' album, it was mooted that with the consent of the surviving Beatles, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the tracks would be remixed to provided a fresh soundtrack to accompany the show.
With this album there was of course always the potential for it to go disastrously wrong. What if they ruined it? Putting a jungle beat on `Blackbird' or a New Rave slant on `We Can Work It Out'? This is after all the holy grail of popular music.
As soon as the soundtrack begins however, there is no need to have such concerns. The magic that is The Beatles music takes over; bringing a big stupid grin, and even the most harded Beatles fanatic will fall in love with the band all over again.
The album begins with `Because', John Lennon's heroin phase ode to...well everything really. Loving the world because its round, loving the sky because its blue etc etc. It sets the tone for the album. It's a rework of the acapella `Anthology 3' version. It's mixed into a different timing and the silences between vocal lines give a spellbinding mood of anticipation and tension. It suggests that something quite wonderful is coming...and it is.
The backwards crescendo from `A Day In The Life' (again from Anthology 3) builds into the unmistakable opening chord from `A Hard Day's Night', then we hear the drum solo from `The End' and before we have time to draw breath were into `Get Back'. McCartney's (alleged) veiled sideswipe at Yoko Ono has never sounded so powerful. The drums and bass sound huge and the customary Beatles shivers occur once more. It morphs into `Glass Onion', Lennon's Aching "oh yeah's" repeat and repeat and in surround sound it does genuinely fell like were on some sort of lysergic acid trip. We hear the guitar from Lennon's beautiful `Julia' and a police siren (having not seen the Cirque Du Soleil show I can only guess that this in linked to the death of Lennon's mother), we hear a snatch of `Hello Goodbye' and by now all scepticism has flown off to somewhere else entirely and were in love with The Beatles once more. We hear a remixed version of `Eleanor Rigby' with a string intro but then, rather disappointingly, (apart from a count in) we hear a straight forward version of `I Am The Walrus' - a track that surely would have leant itself better than most to a jolly good bit of experimentation from the Martin's. Following this we get a simulated live version of I Want To Hold Your Hand' - close your eyes and its February 1964 and your in the audience at the Ed Sullivan show.
`Drive My Car' mixes in the solo from `Taxman', snatches of `The Word' and an exeprt of `What Your Doing'. `Drive My Car' mixes with the solo from `Taxman'???? surely that shouldn't work....but it does! Gloriously.
`Gnik Nus', origionally thought to be `a new one' is Sun King backwards (see what they did there...!) and again is an accapella version not sounding too far removed from something from Brian Wilson `Smile' from 2004.
Following this we get two numbers from George. `Something' (all wobbly and slowed down at first) and the eerie `Blue Jay Way'. Then there's one of the albums many highlights. `Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite, I Want You (She's So Heavy) and `Helter Skelter' all mixed together. The end of `Mr Kite' moves into the riff at the end of `I Want You (She's So Heavy)'. From this we getting snatches of McCartney's most powerfully ragged vocal. His `Helter Skelter' performance. Truly exhilarating. It sounds like it was recorded last week - not 38 years ago by a group of spaced out hippies who probably weren't even talking to each other that day!
We then get a straightforward version of `Help!', `Blackbird' without the vocals and `Yesterday'. From `Help!' and `Yesterday' we again come across the only real problem with this album. When we hear the normal versions of The Beatles songs (bizarre as it may sound) we are disappointed.
As a celebration of the Beatles music `Love' holds a good balance between the remixed versions and the versions we are familiar with. For the casual Beatles observer these old faithful versions may be seen as a welcome break from the ten seconds of this here, the ten seconds of that there, but for any Beatles buff it may be disappointing that not all of the tracks have been given the full remix treatment.
One track that doesn't suffer from the familiarity problem is `Strawberry Fields Forever'. It sounds like three versions are mixed together as one. John Lennon's original demo from `Anthology 2', an early laid back take from the `Sgt Pepper' sessions and the brassed up version that Lennon later rejected in favour of `a bit of both'.
Following this, `Within You, Without You' mixes almost perfectly with `Tomorrow Never Knows'. Harrison's Indian pop song (as he once slightly misguidedly put it), with the Lennon `Monk on a Hill Top Chant' (as he definitely misguidedly put it!) make perfect sense together and the drums give the track an almost break beat feel.
`Octopus' Garden' begins with the strings to `Good Night' before excitedly kicking into the song whole. We get `Lady Madonna', `Here Comes The Sun', `The Inner Light', `Come Together', `Dear Prudence' an extended coda to `Cry Baby Cry' ("can you take me back where I came from, can you take me back...") shortened versions of `Revolution' and `Back in The USSR', McCartney's outro yelps on the latter are way way louder in the mix than they are in the original version.
`While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is the only track to have anything new added that was not actually recorded during the Beatles career. A string section to complement George's acoustic demo version. It is a definite highlight and a genuinely mesmeric moment, only punctuated by George's scouse drawl "I don't know why, you were inverted, no one aleeeeerrrtid you..."
Then album then takes us to what must surely be the encore to the Cirque Du Soleil show. `A Day In The Life'/'Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)'/'Hey Jude' and `All you Need Is Love'.
Again `A Day In The Life' does not seem to have had too much of a reworking but sits perfectly at this stage of album. Hey Jude is shorter and three quarters of the way through breaks down to the terrace chant synonymous with a Paul McCartney solo gig. A previously drowned out bass line comes to the fore and shows McCartney's ability to groove along with the best of them.
`All You Need Is Love' closes the album and again we hear snatches of `Good Night'. We also hear John Lennon in typical animated Beatles spirit style signing off with "This is Johnny Rhythm saying good night to ya!" And with that, comes the end of this Magical History Tour.
`Love' is an album that will be enjoyable for both the casual observer and The Beatles fanatic. Although some tracks will disappoint (conesuers) owing to their over familiarity in an album based on remixes. As a sound collage (especially in the 5.1 surround sound version) the experience is amazing and the tracks that are reworked make the whole exercise a worthy one. It's not sacrilege as some might say and it's certainly not a pointless venture. Sometimes you forget why you love something only for it to completely blow you away when you least expect. Hat's off to the Martin's, you did a splendid job!
on 30 November 2006
Astounding in as much as here we are listening to pieces music that were originally produced around 40 years ago and yet still manage to see off the young guns!. The talent of these men was gigantic and all the hyperboyle is for once true. I for one am glad the Beatles never reformed, what else was there to prove or create? They stepped away leaving a legacy that will never be outdone and one that is burned into the history of popular music. The production and clarity of the 5.1 mix is another astonishment and brings decades old music crashing back into life as though it was made yesterday.This album is a wonderful time capsule of brilliant music that still to this day is emulated by musicians worldwide and loved and listened to by millions.
Yes, this is as good as everyone says. It's not an attempt to make something new of the Beatles, but does very succesfully distill out the essence of the band, in a way which lets you hear them afresh. It also helps you remember what a good band they were, because skillful use of the master tapes has pulled out lines, such as Ringo's drumming, which you don't really hear in the originals.As for being able to do this on a home computer; a). you'd need the master tapes to be able to do it properly, as this isn't simply a splicing together, it's an extremely skillfully and sensitively done collage and, b). if you were that good you'd be doing it for real, not writing ill-informed reviews on Amazon.
on 1 February 2007
Stop whingeing all you negative reviewers. Yes you are entitled to you opinion, but remember this: NOBODY MADE YOU BUY IT (or in fact listen to it!). If you don't like remixes (and lets face it, publicity was big enough for you to know what you were buying)go back to the originals.
This album is a fabulous example of the Fabs being at the forefront of musical creativity, where they always have been. Their music is the benchmark by which everyone else sets their standards.
In addition, the sound is incredible and shows that their entire back catalogue is crying out to be remastered. Perhaps this will bring us closer to hearing what George Martin heard "All those years ago".
Look elsewhere if you want a track by track review of the album, personally I think it is creative, current and a truly fantastic soundscape. Enjoy!!!