2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Lovable, Often Neglected Gem,
This review is from: Help! (Audio CD)
On Beatles For Sale, the band had made their first forays into a Dylanesque style of folk-tinged guitar pop. Songs such as I'm a Loser, I Don't Want to Spoil the Party and No Reply had hinted at an insecurity at the heart of Lennon, which was beginning to brim out more obviously than before.
However, that album was not totally in that mode. The big single Eight Days a Week was still guitar-pop, and others songs such as Rock and Roll music were as much part of the roots/rock and roll scene as before.
Help! continues this odd disparity, this strange mixture of styles. There are the straight-out guitar pop songs such as the title track, Night Before and Ticket to Ride and there are the dylanesque folkier numbers; You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, It's Only Love, I've Just Seen a Face and Yesterday. In between, there is the country Act Naturally and the country-esque Another Girl.
Overall, it is a massive leap in quality from the previous album - the singles ensure this. However, there is also something else going on with Help! that makes it such an intriguing album. It is the first of the band's middle period that takes in Rubber Soul and Revolver, a run of albums which are marked by an even quality lacking in the band's first efforts.
Indeed, there are only really a few weak tracks You Like Me Too Much, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, and possibly Act Naturally. Overall though, only Dylan could compete with such a strong selection over 14 songs.
Help! was, and is, a linchpin of the Beatles output. Some of the attention that should have been afforded it has often been deflected to the superb Rubber Soul. This is unfortunate as Rubber Soul would cast a shadow on any album with which it was compared against. Taken on its own merits, and if you look a little deeper, Help! is the first of The Beatles Folk/Rock albums (at least in part) and may be one of the band's most lovable records.
It is a shame that the cd is not available in a remastered format. As with the rest of the catalogue, this would help restore some of the warmth that can be heard on the original L.P. The mastering itself is very clear, but you may need to fiddle with your equalizer to try and give this version the depth of tone it should have.