Thursday, August 20, 2009

Retrospective: The Beatles 1963-1964

The first Beatles album, the beginning of the British Invasion Revolution. I'm not a fan of this style, I like a few songs sure, but overall the genre is dull and boring. I guess I just grew up in a different age and it taints my view. Although all the groups did it in this era, I dislike how over half of the tracks are covers - some of the songs covered were barely a year old at the time. It strikes me as very odd. Out of this release six of 14 songs (at least) were covers. Some of old blues melodies, but some from rival bands, who were tearing up the charts within the past year. I'm glad we got away from this practice.
Another British Invasion album. I'm sure to someone who grew up in this era (such as my mother) or someone who enjoys this style (like my friend Clayzone) it's a good album, but With The Beatles strikes me as more plain then Please Please Me was. The songs seem very repetitive and similar sounding. I look forward to the rock/experimental phase that The Beatles went through, something new and different. The album does pick up a bit in the second half, but that could be due to all the covers that grace the second side of the album. Covering old blues-rock songs seem to be a help to the group. Their next album is their first 'all original' release, and so I look forward to what that brings.
As the first all-original Beatles album, A Hard Day's Night is a solid effort by the band. It's a soundtrack to the movie of the same name, but it doesn't sound like a planned soundtrack (as in it's not full of songs that don't make much sense without visual cues), more like a full album. Many of the songs are slower then previous efforts, and the sound seems more stripped then their other works in this era. More focus on the vocals and less on the instrumentation - often the only instrument that is easy to hear is the drums and the backing line of the bass, very little guitars overall. Although Beatles For Sale seems more of a transition album then this one (see below), A Hard Day's Night seems to be the transition album for the transition album.
I'm going to call this album a transition album. It still holds to the British Invasion mentality, but it also begins to showcase the sound that The Beatles would soon be releasing. This first and last quarters of the album are mostly originals, and they are actually good originals. The middle of the record is another collection of covers, and while they are pretty decent, they fall behind the other tracks - a first! All in all, this is the first Beatles recording that I enjoy, something that I could listen to again without any negativity.

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