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Help! [UK]
Help! [UK]
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Return to Form..., November 1, 2001
This review is from: Help! [UK] (Audio CD)
This album was a return to form after "Beatles for Sale." It would be the last album by the band that contained a cover, although it only contained one, 'Dizzy Miss Lizzie.'
Like "A Hard Day's Night" the album follows the Soundtrack and Non-Soundtrack Side formula. The first half of the album shines with some introspective songwriting from Lennon. 'Help' and 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' took him into a new stage of songwriting. This would be more completely manifested on "Rubber Soul."
The second half of the album also features first rate material such as 'Yesterday' and 'It's Only Love.' This would be their last album of somewhat innocent material though. Their drug period was now kicking into gear, and the songs would soon take on new meanings as they branched out into unprecednted subject matter. This is, in short, the last album of their early years.


Beatles for Sale (1990)
Beatles for Sale (1990)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Most Underrated Beatles Album, November 1, 2001
This review is from: Beatles for Sale (1990) (Audio CD)
This is a quality album. The punishment of the Beatles' schedule probably contributed to the inclusion of six covers here, but the covers are not bad as some have suggested. 'Rock and Roll Music' particularly stand out among them.
Above all, the originals here are first rate early compositions. 'Eight Days a Week' was slated to be the Christmas single of 1964 as they prepared to release this album, but John Lennon simply came up with 'I feel Fine' overnight. Clearly it was a fertile period for their songwriting. 'No Reply' and 'I'm a Loser' foreshadowed the introspective songwriting that was to soon to come from Lennon. And as far as relatively unknown Beatles' songs go, I absolutely love 'What You're Doing.'
Nevertheless, this was a step backwards after "A Hard Day's Night." The release of this album was just too rushed. The band would not repeat this mistake again until the end of their career.


A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Early Milestone, November 1, 2001
This review is from: A Hard Day's Night (Audio CD)
This was the first Beatles album to consist solely of original songs, and it is their best album from the early years. The material was written under enormous time constraints. Lennon and McCartney were given the task of writing half an album worth of material in under two weeks...while they were touring in France.
The result was magic. They wrote enough songs to fill an entire album, all of which were used for this, the UK version. The first half is the "soundtrack side." This includes some of the best early songs the Beatles wrote: 'If I Fell,' 'And I Love Her' and the title track to name a few.
The "non-soundtrack side" is equally compelling. 'I'll Be Back' is one of my favorite early songs by the Beatles. The bottom line is that there is not a bad song on the album. While we consider this as a necessary criterion for a great album in 2001, back in 1964 must albums simply contained a few hits and filler. The Beatles changed this formula with "A Hard Day's Night," as they would change so many throughout their career.


With the Beatles
With the Beatles
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Getting Better..., November 1, 2001
This review is from: With the Beatles (Audio CD)
"With the Beatles" picks up where its' predecessor left off. There is the same balance of covers and originals here, and the formula works just as well.
The Lennon-McCartney numbers have improved on their previous efforts, something they would constantly manage to pull off for quite a few years. 'All My Loving' is simply an early gem. In addition, there are other early classics such as 'It Won't Be Long' and 'Don't Bother Me.' My personal favorite though is the relatively unknown 'All I've Got To Do.'
The covers are again well polished, and some argue that 'Roll Over Beethoven' and 'Money' actually better the originals. This is debatable, but they are excellent renditions.
The Beatles' songwriting was picking up some serious steam though, and pretty soon they would cast aside the covers that filled their early efforts.


Please Please Me (1990)
Please Please Me (1990)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A promising start, November 1, 2001
This review is from: Please Please Me (1990) (Audio CD)
This is, put simply, a good debut album. With this album the Beatles began showing other artists that they could write their own material.
Recored in one long day, "Please Please Me" is the rawest of all the Beatles' albums. There are some great covers here; 'Twist and Shout' would be the Beatles' closing song in concert for quite a long time afterwards. The reason why the covers sound so accomplished is that the the boys had been performing them for years. 'Chains' and 'Anna' also work wonderfully. With their covers, the Beatles showed America its' own musical roots.
It was, of course, the originals that showed the Beatles' promise though. 'Please Please Me' is an early classic. Interstingly though, a lot of the Beatles' most successful songs from this period were issued soley as singles. Nevertheless, there is a lot of quality material here.
As a Beatles album, "Please Please Me" would prove to be the least accomplied thing they put their name on with the sole exception of "Yellow Submarine." All things considered, it was still a great place to start and it still is for the listener.


Let It Be (1990)
Let It Be (1990)
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Overproduced Disapointment, November 1, 2001
This review is from: Let It Be (1990) (Audio CD)
This album, salvaged from the failed "Get Back Sessions" is flawed to say the least. The album went through three producers and it shows. The natural beauty of McCartney's songs are drowned out by unnecessary string arrangements. This is clearest in the case of 'The Long and Winding Road;' listen to the Anthology version for comparison. Additionally, some of the songs included here are simply not up to snuff with other Beatles' material. 'Dig a Pony' and 'Maggie Mae' aren't bad songs; they are just nothing special.
However, despite all the flaws, this is still a decent album. There is the usual prescence of gems here, particuarly by McCartney: 'Let it Be' and 'Get Back' are quality songs. Lennon's 'Across the Universe' dates back to the White Album, but unlike his rejected songs from that period that made it onto "Abbey Road," this one doesn't work here. Again listen to the Anthology version for comparison.
In my opinion, the shining moment of the album is 'Two of Us.' This is the last song that Lennon and McCartney ever shared lead vocal duties on together. However, this song, like almost ever other one on the album, is simply better on the Anthology. Why? This album is overproduced, and the Anthology better manifests the natural beauty of the material.


Abbey Road
Abbey Road
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Ending, November 1, 2001
This review is from: Abbey Road (Audio CD)
After the disastrous "Get Back Sessions," the Beatles returned to the studio for one more album. Although the four men were at great odds with each other, they nevertheless managed to orchestrate one last gem to their canon.
Great tunes filled out the first side of the album. 'Something' and 'Here Comes the Sun' showed that George Harrison was not only blossoming into a first-rate songwriter, but actually the most commercially effective songwriter at this point in their careers. This would become even clearer when George would release his triple album "All Things Must Pass."
What elevated this album into another groundbreaking effort by the band, however, is the medley on the second side. Clearly Lennon was discontented with the slick production of the album, a fact that would become clearer as well by the sparse intrumentation on his own debut. Be that as it may, the Beatles created yet another original idea by pasting together songs for this medley, some of which were rejected from the "White Album" sessions. Lennon's 'Mean Mr. Mustard' and 'Polythene Pam' thus breathed new life.
My only personal disappointment with this album is that the Beatles didn't finish it with 'The End.' 'Her Majesty' is anti-climatic and belongs where it was originally sequenced, in the middle of the album before the medley. This is small criticism though, for "Abbey Road" is a remarkable achievement for even the Beatles.


The Beatles (The White Album)
The Beatles (The White Album)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnum Opus, October 31, 2001
While I understand the tempation to analyze this magnum opus song by song, we can best understand why this album works by understanding why others' have failed. History has taught us that most double albums do not work; it is a lot of information, and it just gets to be too much. This album is the exception; it could not possibly have been condensed as some have suggested.
After time off in India, the Beatles returned to Abbey Road to record a staggering variety of material. They rejected the lush arrangements of their previous arrangements, and rocked harder than on any of their other albums. Songs such as McCartney's 'Helter Skelter' paved the way for hard rock and metal. Lennon turned out some wonderful songs such as 'Sexy Sadie,' 'I'm So Tired' and 'Dear Prudence.' Harrison's songwriting was starting to blossom, as manifested by 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps.'
The four men who were the Beatles were more apparent on this album than any other one that they recored. They were all starting to change and grow apart; it was becoming clear now by the way the different songs sounded. There simply has not been an album since where each song sounds so creatively different from what preceded it.


Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of songs, October 31, 2001
This review is from: Magical Mystery Tour (Audio CD)
This is not so much an album as a collection of songs; six songs appeared in the film, and the rest were miscellaneous additions. Hence the magic of the Beatles, they filled in the album with gems. Songs like 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' 'Penny Lane,' and 'Hello, Goodbye' made the non-album side of the record even better than the soundtrack from the film.
However, this is not to suggest that the soundtrack side of "Magical Mystery Tour" was shabby. Lennon contributed 'I am the Walrus,' and McCartney began to show that he was taking over creative control of the group with 'Fool on the Hill' amd 'Your Mother Should Know.'
The orchestral arrangements that made this album similar to "Pepper" were on their way out, however. The Beatles' next effort would be radically different.


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the most famous album ever made..., October 31, 2001
After "Revolver," the Beatles retired from public performance and penned two songs: 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane.' While neither song made it onto what was to become "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band," they manifested the new direction the band would take.
The amount of time, money, and production that went into the making of this album was completely unprecedented. It has been called the first concept album, but as the Beatles' themeslves admitted, it failed as such.
However, the Beatles did manage to up the ante again here. The songwriting was still magical. 'A Day in the Life' was the high point of it all, absolutely one of the greatest songs the band ever recored. Inasmuch as this album is one of the most famous in history and a great achivement in its' own right, it is my opinion that the Beatles had begun to drift away from what made "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" so perfected by simply trying a bit too hard.
The Beatles shot for the moon on this one, and they came very close.


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