All You Need Is “Love”: Review for The Beatles Love Album

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It certainly isn’t everyday that you encounter a band like the Beatles. They were game changers like almost no one in the history of music, with the exception of the inventors of the individual instruments and of the phonograph. The Beatles, compiled from a foursome of Liverpool lads who wore leather and played in clubs, accomplished so much in their 7 years recording career, with 13 studio albums under their belt and countless number one singles. They wrote some of the most memorable music ever to hit the radio waves. In 2006, the Canadian circus extravaganza Cirque du Soleil decided to create a Beatles-themed show, the story revolving around the Beatles and incorporating a Beatles-only score. George Martin, the original band’s record producer, and his on Giles Martin took the original Beatles tapes and, OH NO! mashed the tracks up and remixed them! The final product: amazing. And could we really have expected less from the two them?

            Because George Martin was there for the original sessions and because his son would be using newer technology to create the album, it was a great pairing. But what they did was not some contemporary mash up or remix, using gratuitous synthesizers or sounds; the duo mixed in different elements of the original songs to create a most pleasant sound. For example: The piano riff from “Hey Bulldog” is layered on top of the Eric Clapton guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and that is mixed into the song “Lady Madonna”. It sounds perfect. All three elements sound completely in synch. It would only be those two who would think that those track sections would go so great together.

            The album starts off very serenely, with the vocal track from “Because” and the bird and nature sounds from the single release of “Across the Universe”. This sets the mood that the Beatles are here and it’s “because” we love them so much. It transitions to “Get Back” and then to “Glass Onion”, incorporating elements from “Hello Goodbye” and “I Am the Walrus”. Some of the most moving moments on the album are the subtle things, such as the string climax from “A Day in the Life” (which is used throughout the album). It continues on a journey, as vast as the stage at the Mirage in Las Vegas and as fun as witnessing the Beatles perform live.

Some really great finds are on the album. A heartbreaking rendition for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is on the album, an original acoustic demo that George Harrison recorded that never ended up on The White Album. (It can be found on the Anthology.) The strains are so heartfelt and so emotional, it creates an entirely new feeling for the song. A brand new string back track was composed by Martin and placed in the background, again adding an element of both sadness and true emotion that seems to have been vacant from the released track. It has become one of my favorite songs by the Beatles, and even without Clapton to give the awesome solo; it reaches a new height of emotional resonance.

There’s a great remix of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” as well. If it didn’t sound psychedelic enough, then have a listen. It doesn’t sound too different, but what’s different about it is that it sounds, if anything, a little spookier. At the end of the big climax of the song, it bursts, bangs, explodes into the long, moving, and awesome chords of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”. It’s a full bodied move from psychedelic to amazing and larger than life.

The most fun part of the album for die-hard Beatlemaniacs is trying to spot and name all the elements in the songs, even the smallest measures or only a couple words from a song. Picture you and your friend listening as “Get Back” plays and you suddenly realize something and you smile, probably sit up, and say excitedly, “Oh, that’s the intro to ‘A Hard Day’s Night’!” It’s so much fun for the ones who have been in love with the music and know it by heart; the ones who used to have the original LPs and the posters on their walls; the fans who watched them at Shea Stadium and on the Ed Sullivan Show. Not a travesty, buy any means, this preserves the original intent of the music and keeps it fresh, making it sound new and exciting.

It also provides the younger generation, probably just getting exposed to the music their parents and possibly grandparents listened to, an excellent introduction to the Beatles. Love by no means changes the music or makes it any more different than the original songs; it just adds a fresh element. It gives an introduction to one of the greatest bands in history, which will lead them to discover the original albums and go back to the great Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road. The Beatles sound new, not to say that they’ve ever sounded old, but—(says in old timer voice) kids these days…they don’t know what real music is.

If you didn’t know about this album before but you were indeed a Fab Four fan, you probably nearly had a stroke when I said remix and mash up. But, have no fear, the album is much more. Both fun for the old fans and a wonderful way to introduce the music to a new generation, Love provides a totally amazing experience for the ears. Sounding fresher and newer than they have in years, the Martins did a tremendous job. Each chord resounds more clearly; each piano note sounds more emotional, and each song sounds more fantastical. But, then again, what more can we expect? This is the Beatles.

 Grade: A

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Acoustic Love version:

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