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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beatles Album Review: With The Beatles

The greatest band of all time? Quite possibly. The Beatles have been the sound of many generations since they walked onto that stage in New York and into the hearts of millions. No, not the Monkies. It's the Beatles!
Now the debate that plagues many Beatles fans (and pretty much all music lovers) is, what is the greatest Beatles Album? There are always the same names thrown into the mix. Revolver? Rubber Soul? Yellow Submarine? Well, maybe not the last one. Infact, none of them! Ladies and gentleman, I give you THE greatest Beatles album ever...

With the Beatles!

It Won't Be Long

10 seconds into this song and I'm hoping the title is meant to reassure the listener that the next song is coming. IT WONT BE LONG! YEAH! IT WONT BE LONG! YEAH! IT WONT BE LONG! YEAH! Kill me. *sighs*. There's a nice rythm to it I guess. An odd country feel to it aswell. Drumming is solid aswell. Most redeeming fact is probably that it's only 2:15 seconds long.

Score: 5.2/10

All I've Got to Do

Ah much improved. A smoother, Smokey Robinson feel to this. A song written with the American market in mind. In contrast with the previous track, this song seems much better than it probably is. Significant because it is the first time in rock and roll where the bass is vital to the song. It's a decent song anyway, and I, personally, really like it.

Score: 7.8/10

All My Loving

A.K.A. the best damn Beatles track before '64. Seeing McCartney live recently, he plays this song after playing Something, as a tribute to George. As he puts it (probably not in these words) "to lift the mood with a happy song". And that's what it does. You could play this after the Funeral March, and one person would feel happier for a while. It'd be highly inappopriate, but that's beside the point. This song personifies the innocence of early 60's British rock. It was this song that said to people that Paul equally matched to John on the songwriting side.

Score: 8.6/10

Don't Bother Me

Written and sung by.... George??? Yes, this was the first time a Harrison-only compostition had appeared on a Beatles release. And how did he do? Well, as he put it, "it's a fairly crappy song". Now he's being a bit harsh. It's....ok. Very unusual with the theme of the Beatles' songs at this time. All in all, ok. Not much else to say, a bit of an elevation from "fairly crappy", don't ya think?

Score: 6.2/10

Little Child

Little Child. A song written by L/McC, originally intended for Ringo Starr to sing (he instead sang "I Wanna Be Your Man"). Paul McCartney describes it as "album filler" and that's pretty much it. Nice accordion though...

Score: 6.0/10

Till There Was You

The first cover of this album. Originally a Meredith Wilkins song for the musical "The Music Man". This song was part of their set while performing in the Star Club in Hamburg, and they perfomed it at the Royal Variety Show. A nice, slow ballad, which gave a stark contrast with their other songs, such as Twist and Shout. While listening to this, I could swear I heard other Beatles songs in there. Beautiful guitar from George in perticular.

Score: 7.8/10

Please Mister Postman

A song originally by the Marvelettes, and rather famously recorded by the Carpenters in '75. A song they used in their set in the Cavern circa '62. It had since fallen out of their regular set, and took some time to get it right. As always, the harmonies are perfect here. Solid, consistent drumming yet again, and a good R&B addition to their back catalogue. But as with the majority of their songs of this time, it doesn't really hold up. Even with this, it's a decent track.

Score: 7.2/10

Roll Over Beethoven

Yeah! Now they're really cookin'! I know it's not Johnny B. Goode, but god dammit I love me some Chuck Berry. Rather than his first composition, this is where George shines. Beautiful guitar, bang-on perfect! And the vocals aren't too bad neither.

Score: 9.0/10

Hold Me Tight

Crap filler. Off key singing. Forgettable. Moving on.

Score: 4.8/10

You Really Got A Hold On Me

A 1962 hit for (Smokey Robinson and)The Miracles. A motown song. Nice rythm. I really, really like this song. The harmony from George is superp here. Beautiful piano from George Martin (must remember, these are the days when none of the Beatles could play piano). The drums seem really out of place at times, which is odd. Besides that, a smooth song mixed in with the likes of Chuck Berry works perfectly.

Score: 8.6/10

I Wanna Be Your Man

Stop.... Ringo time! Although this song was released first by a little known English Rock band called... the Rolling Stones, or somit like that, this is a L/McC composition. It's a decent little rocker, but I don't really like it. Mainly when he's singing the chorus. It just doesn't sound right- the guitars, I mean. The guitar and bass don't work for me there.

Score: 6.7/10

Devil In Her Heart

Originally written as "Devil In His Heart" by Ricky Dee in '62, this song was sung by George. It seems a little bit generic to me. It's an okay song, don't get me wrong, but there's dozens of this same song floating around.

Score: 6.4/10

Not a Second Time

A John Lennon composition. Some nice piano here again from George Martin. The fills by Ringo here are just beautiful, a return to drumming form. This, in my opinion, is one of Lennon's finest vocal performance up to this point. Although the actual lyrics are fairly simple and repetitive, the way Lennon sings makes them seem unique and perfect.

Score: 8.1/10

Money (That's What I Want)

When you retrospectively compare this to later Beatles songs (particularly Lennon's Imagine), this song is a complete contradiction. Does that make it bad? No. If anything, it makes it better by adding some humour (see Working Class Hero by Lennon). Do I even need to say that the piano here is really good? Okay. If you ask someone now what song they remember from this album, this is most likely going to be the first thing they mention. That speaks for itself.

Score: 8.7/10

Total Score:

101.1/140. (72.2/100)

Well, I knew this wasn't going to happen...

Beatle Facts!

Album: Although it's the second Beatles album, it is the first released in North America, with the prefix "Beatlemania" (in Canada).

It Won't Be Long: The song was never performed live or at any of the group's BBC sessions.

All My Loving: According to Alan Weiss, "All My Loving" was playing on the sound system at Roosevelt Hospital emergency room when Lennon was pronounced dead after being shot on 8 December 1980

Little Child: The phrase "sad and lonely" which appears in this song, also appears in the song "Act Naturally", which the Beatles covered (with Starr singing) for the album Help!.

Till There Was You: When introducing this song at the Royal Variety Show, McCartney commented that the song "had also been recorded by our favourite American group, Sophie Tucker". This tongue-in-cheek comment by McCartney unwittingly began an urban legend that 'Till There Was You' was an old Sophie Tucker song, when in fact, there is no record of her ever performing the tune.

Roll Over Beethoven: This version of "Roll Over Beethoven" was used in the film Superman III directed by Richard Lester who also directed The Beatles' first two films, Help! and A Hard Day's Night.

Hold Me Tight: McCartney wrote a different song called "Hold Me Tight" for a medley included on his 1973 solo album Red Rose Speedway.

You've Really Got A Hold On Me: The song was performed once again in 1969, during the Let It Be recording sessions, and featured in the 1970 documentary film, Let It Be.

I Wanna Be Your Man: As earlier reported, the song was first released by the Rolling Stones. The writing of this song was finished by Lennon and McCartney in the corner of a room while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were talking.

Not A Second Time: The song was recorded in nine takes on 11 September 1963 at Abbey Road Studios.

Money (That's What I Want): "I Need Some Money," a song John Lee Hooker may have been performing live for some time previous to 1959, has lyrics that are similar to "Money (That's What I Want)", with only slight gramatical improvements in places.

Thank you, until next time, it's off to the Toppermost of the Poppermost.

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