2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
My take on the stereo version,
This review is from: Magical Mystery Tour (Audio CD)
In my opinion, Magical Mystery Tour is one of the very best Beatles albums. I actually like every single song on this album, yes even the most whimsical ones. But the movie stinks, you say? Well, don't watch it. Just listen to the music. With great songs like Fool on the hill, Strawberry fields forever, I am the walrus, Penny Lane and others you can't go wrong.
I would like to make a specific point about the stereo version of this album. Some people complain about the stereo sound picture, with drums sometimes coming from the far left and instruments changing place from one verse to another and so on. I think these people entirely miss the point. Today a stereo picture is drawn to give the sound a certain width, to make it sound as neat, pleasant and comfortable as possible. But in 1966-67, when pop groups started to take more interest in the recording procedure and stereo was still a pretty new thing, a stereo picture often had a different purpose. Back then, stereo was often more like a cool thing that was used for interesting and stunning effects. A bit like 3D glasses during the 1980's. If you watched a movie with 3D glasses you certainly weren't expecting the movie to look more pleasant and admirable. You just expected it to look... well, cool. This is how stereo was regarded during a short period in pop history. "Wow, it sounds like the drums are coming from somewhere else than the guitar and ooops they suddenly changed place, what will they think of next?"
Everything in history has at some point been something new and interesting. Magical Mystery Tour gives us a valuable look at how things sounded when stereo was something new and interesting. Sure, I wouldn't mind a new "proper" stereo remix of this album to go along with this one. But instead of putting this version down, try to enjoy it for what it is. It's an interesting piece of pop history.
The mono box version is also good of course, with slightly altered mixes of some songs, most notably Strawberry Fields Forever.
And whichever version you choose, you'll have a bunch of great songs. That's the nice thing about the Beatles - no matter how experimental they became, they always took their time to write some genuinely good songs to go along with it.