Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beatles For Sale Remastered - Lennon and McCartney Originals

By Johnny Moon

The Beatles released A Hard Day's Night on July 10, 1964 and all 13 of it's songs were originals, just about 13 months later they released Help! on August 6, 1965 and 12 of it's 14 songs were originals. In between those two classic albums they released the often overlooked Beatles For Sale (on December 4, 1964) and it contained just eight originals (along with six rather lackluster covers).

I think it's that lower percentage of originals that really hurts the reputation of this album, and for good reason. The numerous not so great covers does make it a much tougher listen from start to finish. But when I actually look at the quality of the eight originals I think the album is just about there (if not quite there) with the two aforementioned classics.

With the release of the Beatles remastered box sets on September 9, 2009 I've been listening to the originals on this album quite a bit and I think they're wonderful. What follows are my notes on each of them.

The Eight Lennon/McCartney Originals

"No Reply" - What a wonderful opener. If I had to pick just one song from this album, it would probably be this one. I've always loved it, but it sounds truly amazing in it's new remastered versions (both stereo and mono). It has more emotional weight than most Beatles songs.

"I'm A Loser" - This really works well after "No Reply" because it sounds as if the singer (John Lennon) is singing about the love he just lost in the previous song.

"Baby's In Black" - This 3/4 song has a wonderfully downcast sound which obviously fits right in with the first two songs. I think this may be one of the most cohesive starts for any Beatles album, unfortunatly this mood is completely destroyed by the "Rock and Roll Music" cover that comes next.

"I'll Follow The Sun" - Imagine if this came on after "Baby's in Black." Wouldn't that be perfect? It would be like the new beginning. It's a lovely bittersweet tune. One of my favorite early McCartney ballads.

"Eight Days A Week" - After two rather irritating covers, this catchy tune comes in to pick up the pace. No, it doesn't really fit with the sort of introspective mood of the first four originals, but it's a good bit of fun anyway.

"Every Little Thing" - I love the timpani. I think this fits in very well with the first four originals. Sure it's a "in love" song, but it has a bit of weight to it too.

"I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" - Fits in perfectly with the "I'm A Loser" theme. It has a slightly country sounding flavor to it which could have ruined it, but it didn't. It's slight enough to be a nice additional flavor.

"What You're Doing" - The lyrical theme of this McCartney song fits perfectly with Lennon's. I think this is a very underrated song. It's catchy as hell with a very cool sound to it.

Listen closely to The Beatles For Sale Remastered in The Beatles Stereo Box Set and The Beatles Mono Box Set. Both of these remastered box sets are essential listening.

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