on April 2, 2015
Ok, i have bought Rubber Soul, White Album, Revolver and Magical Mystery Tour from the new Mono releases. They are downright amazing sonically, in every way. i think Help suffers from the older equipment used to record the earlier LPs, and perhaps Master tape degradation. It still sounds good, but not amazing. I notice sibilance in John's voice on some songs, and some tracks just sound kinda dead and flat, not as alive as one would hope. i was very happy that "Ticket to Ride", for some reason, didn't have the problem, it sounds very strong.
on September 26, 2014
If you don't have the 2009 Mono CDs, I believe these 2014 Mono LPs (I also have Revolver and Sgt Pepper.) are better than the Mono CDs and recommend the Mono LPs over the CDs. I believe this analog sound (especially the rolling quality of the bass) is better than the digital Mono of the CDs. I have all the 2009 Stereo and Mono CDs and believe that there's value in having both, because of the different mixes on some songs. Whether it's worth it or not to have both is really up to the individual. I'm glad I bought this LP and do recommend it.
on November 14, 2005
'Help' recorded in 1965, represented the beginning of the musical transition from the Beatlemania period to the more sophisticated areas of songwriting that the Beatles were to begin exploring on their next album, Rubber Soul also recorded in 1965.
Except on the final track, the Beatles finally dispensed with the 'Merseybeat' sound that featured on all their past albums to a greater or lesser extent. There is a more mature approach with some of these songs and arrangements. 'Help' the excellent title track has unusual chord changes at the start, before John launches into the main verse. This is another of his introspective songs, about insecurity. That Dylan influenced the Lennon song 'You've got to hide your love away' is a fallacy. The Beatles were already featuring folk-like material from the off. Eg, 'Love me do', the Beatles first single recorded in 1962 was a self-penned acoustic blues number, featuring Lennon on harmonica, before Dylan had barely released his first album. This song deals with paranoia to a degree, as well as insecurity, eg...
'Everywhere people stare
Each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say...'
This was Lennon talking, hardly Dylan.
The short simple flute solo tacked on at the end is a nice little touch, and was completely novel at the time. To me this has to be the stand-out track.
Yet another first was the ever popular 'Yesterday', where the Beatles, or rather Paul McCartney recorded the song with a chamber music ensemble. This arrangement had never been done by any pop group before. It became one of the most famous of all Beatle songs, of course. It is precisely these unusual touches or arrangements to their songs that made the Beatles stand out against any other group of their time, apart from the originality of much of their material. The other well known track 'Ticket to ride' was a classic single hit released before the album, and has a powerful guitar laden sound behind it.
The remaining tracks range from good to ok. The best of the rest are, 'I've just seen a face' which is an acoustic number, played fast, very much in a folk-music vein. 'Another girl' has a bluesey feel, and has some nice guitar fills by George. 'You're going to lose that girl' is another strong Lennon song with a hook. In fact there is not really one bad song on here, unlike Rubber Soul, which gives Help a more consistent feel to it. However there is hardly one song on Help that matches the very best songs on RS either, 'YGTHYLA' and Help' being two possible exceptions. My only quibble with Help is that they finished the album with 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy', the last time the Beatles were to do a cover version of a song. It would have been that much better if they had chosen the B side of the 'Help single, 'I'm down' which is an all-out rocker by Lennon/McCartney, and far superior to the closing track they used instead.
on November 29, 2007
The film has never looked better, as it's been given a real state-of-the-art restoration. I believe there has been some confusion, and even outright lies, about the true aspect ratio of this film and whether or not it was ever truly a widescreen film, but this appears to be a real widescreen anamorphic transfer. The accompanying documentary about the restoration explains the process, and the interviews with Richard Lester and others involved in the film are fairly enlightening. But the touted missing scene is most definitely NOT there. It is only talked-about, along with some stills from it. Very disappointing, especially as you are led to expect an actual scene by the promotion and packaging of this set. I had to look at the disc a second time, just to make sure I wasn't missing it, or that it wasn't some kind of hidden "Easter-egg" item. But no - it's just not there. By the way, the sound is restored very well too - maybe a bit overbright for my taste, but that's entirely subjective and I just adjusted the treble control down a bit for myself. The stereo mix is overall excellent. As has been pointed out elsewhere, there must be a huge amount of unseen footage locked away somewhere, including the missing scene that we were teased about but not actually given. Tiny bits of footage not seen in the finished film can be seen in the included trailers. Where is it all? They could have kicked in a bit more for this set - or at the very least, the bit they promised us.
on January 29, 2001
First of all, thank the gods that this is the British "Help!", and not the tepid American "Help!" which included only 12 pieces, half of which were instrumental music from the film. (No disrespect to composer Ken Thorne, but this was all part of Capitol's evil scheme to make more product by butchering the British Beatles albums.)
Second of all, the four stars should be considered a relative rating. Just about any other musical group could retire after producing an LP like this with at least three songs ("Help!", "Ticket To Ride" and "Yesterday") you couldn't swing a dead cat without hearing for the next 30 years.
Also noteworthy is Lennon's jab at Bob Dylan ("You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"), his heart-and-soul rendition of "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and his self-denounced "It's Only Love" (always a favorite of mine even if the lyric isn't very good).
Paul makes his mark with the jubilant "I've Just Seen A Face" and the melancholy, oft-covered "Yesterday". George is typically understated with his solo-work and Ringo, well, typically Ringo, with an unabashedly country rendition of "Act Naturally".
This album would be followed by the landmark, culture-altering LPs "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" and could be considered the last of the "Beatlemania" albums.
on February 28, 2016
This encore release was one of the first to become Sold Out on CDJapan, along with Past Masters Volume 1 & 2, so I purchased those from Amazon. Anyway, this is NOT an audiophile review. I am reviewing this release from a purely aesthetic point of view. This stereo HELP! mini LP SHM-CD is quite nice. The laminated mini LP cover is excellent. This version is almost identical to the In Mono box Version, except of course, the mono vs. stereo identifications in the upper right hand corner of the front cover. What caused me to deduct a star from my review is the one flaw many of the mini LPs in this set unfortunately feature. When looking at the album from the back cover, it is apparent that the folded flipback flaps were not glued as flawlessly as the mono counterpart. A slight misalignment causes gaps in the corners and a spine that just isn't as perfect as the mono version. Not a major drawback, but disappointing nonetheless. On a positive note, this encore release features a resealable outer sleeve with a blue sticker (as opposed to the 1st pressing red sticker), a nice OBI, the 2009 booklet identical to the one released with the digipak version, and an additional booklet with song lyrics in English. Also included is a rice paper sleeve and the reproduced paper sleeve to house the disc itself, as it was with the original UK-released album. The actual disc features a reproduced PARLOPHONE lable. Overall, a good collectable.
on October 9, 2009
After the very world-weary and tired-sounding 'Beatles For Sale', the Fab Four got some of their mojo back on 'Help!'. Several songs recapture the bright, infectious melodies of their early work, while there is also a greater degree of experimentation present. For the first time, The Beatles incorporate outside musicians in the form of a string quartet and flutes, and there is also an incresing use of keyboard instruments. The folk rock influence of Bob Dylan is also more prominent in the more downbeat, reflective lyrics. Overall, 'Help!' is stronger and more consistent than its predecessor, although there are still some signs of hangover in the form of covers and a couple of weak songs. Also, with the obvious exception of 'Yesterday', the album is very heavily front-loaded, making it sound a bit stronger than what is actually is.
The first half of 'Help!' holds its own against any previous Beatle album, not just in the well-known singles 'Ticket To Ride' and the title track. Lennon's folky 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' is one of his most under-rated songs, while 'You're Going To Lose That Girl' seems most reminiscent of their early work. McCartney's 'The Night Before' and 'Another Girl' begin to incorporate the insecure, biting themes of Lennon, while 'I Need You' is the better of the two Harrison tracks.
In the second half, only 'Yesterday' is of a similar quality, one of the band's best and most well-known songs; ironic, given it's effectively a McCartney solo track. The simple acoustic ballad with string quartet accompaniment is the clearest sign of the development that would become evident on 'Rubber Soul'. Apart from that, the two covers, 'I've Just Seen A Face' and 'Tell Me What You See' are pleasant but not up to the standard of the first half. Harrison's 'You Like Me Too Much' is clumsy, and Lennon basically disowned 'It's Only Love'.
'Help!' is a transitional album in many ways; parts of it anticipate the more creative and mature direction they would persue, while others hark back to the band's boy-ish early work. In fact, 'Help!' is really the last Beatles album to be primarily "fun", and the last to portray the band as young, joyous, enthusiastic, and clean-cut. The creativity, maturity and seriousness of 'Rubber Soul' would be a pleasant surprise. With 'Help!' the first tentative steps in this new direction have been taken.
on May 28, 2008
The Beatles-Help ****
Help! is far from the five star classic it is being labeled but it was a precursor to what was to come from the boys. Just around the corner the four lads would release five of the greatest albums in music history, so for me this plays as a warm up lap around the recording studio.
The title track 'Help' really was a personal cry for help from John Lennon, and not to mention on of the groups best. 'Yesterday' is the very best song McCartney ever recorded, it also went on to become the most covered song in history with well over five hundred version to date. 'Hide Your Love Away' would have fit better on Rubber Soul but is a nice addition to Help! ''The Night Before' is pretty catchy and Paul was really on to something here, and 'Ticket To Ride' might be the strongest thing The Beatles ever recorded. John was a true genius. As for the rest of the songs, honestly they are take it or leave it, and just because they are the Beatles does not make them great songs.
Once again while I don't think this is necessarily a classic I do think it is worth owning and one of the best 'early' Beatles albums.
on December 28, 2014
It is heavy vinyl, but not perfectly flat. This is disappointing but doesn't affect the sound. The sound could be louder, though. Packaged inside and out to be identical to the original UK edition (not referring to collector's tastes, but music lovers).
on September 6, 2004
The Beatles' music had been increasingly getting more interesting in 1965. Help is filled with catchy songs but is far different from any other early Beatles album. The last two tracks, "Yesterday" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" exhibit the band's full virtuosity. With "Yesterday," they prove they can make music beautiful and use sorrowful lyrics. (They'd tried before, but never had made a song like "Yesterday"). On "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," the Beatles stay true to their Chuck Berry/Little Richard-like roots and play a riff that will be stuck in your head for hours.
As a whole, Help isn't that much different from A Hard Day's Night or Beatles for Sale, but it's the best example of the Beatles early pop stuff and a perfect album for Rubber Soul to follow.