In the interest of Not Whining Too Much, and in light of my last post about the Beatles, I thought I'd run down five things that don't suck about the Beatles.
5) Ringo Starr has discovered YouTube:
...although he appears to be using it for evil, not good. No, I don't know what the story with this is either. Moving on...
4) The films A Hard Day's Night and Help! released in very nice double-disc sets. It's nice to see these again; I watched them a lot when I was little. A Hard Day's Night really holds up, though while Help! was certainly fun to revisit, it didn't have the energy or cultural cache of its predecessor. Don't get me started on the most overhyped rock movie of all time.
3) The Beatles Anthology, both the documentary and the companion albums. The DVD is a pretty comprehensive, if at times biased, look at the complete history of the band. Sure, it smoothes over some of the rough edges of the story, but it also lets us see how much of a dick Paul can be. Exhibit A: what kind of schmuck would think it a good idea to record his documentary testimony from the steering wheel of his yacht? The soundtracks, six discs in total, gives us maybe our only glimpse so far of the wonders that lie waiting in Apple Corps' archives, if they'd just open them up.
2) The Capitol Albums rereleases. These box sets packaged the first eight Beatles albums as they were originally released in the United States. They're shorter, and they sound different: much more trebly, with the vocals higher up in the mix. Why exactly they were altered is something I'm not going to get into (for that, I urge you to pick up a copy of Dave Marsh's The Beatles' Second Album, which tells the story contextually and compellingly as a war between rock 'n' roll and the status quo of pre-Beatlemania America). Sure, they prey on the nostalgia of those who grew up with these versions, and they are overpriced and underpackaged (the box looks kind of cheap and rushed). No, these are not the albums the Beatles intended to release. But who cares? These are the records my parents lost their minds to and I can feel them in my blood, even if I never heard them until this set came out a few years ago.
1) The albums. Sure, the sound quality could be better. But regardless of that fact, there is no stronger catalog in the history of popular music than that of the Beatles. The crappiest 8th-generation blank tape copy of a poorly compiled Beatles best-of would STILL be one of the crowning achievements of rock music. Abbey Road? Revolver? Meet the Beatles? Sgt. Pepper's? Even the aforementioned Beatles' Second Album, clocking in at just under 30 minutes with only 4 original tunes (the rest are covers) is completely unfuckwithable in every way.* I'd love to have remastered versions, really I would, but I'm not rushing to burn these copies anytime soon.
*It's one of my favorite albums of all time, despite the naysayers.