Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beatles For Sale Remastered

By Johnny Moon

With the release of the 2009 remasters, I've been taking a close "second listen" to The Beatles legendary 1960s discography and this 1964 album is one of those that has most stood out for me.

In my opinion Beatles For Sale is The Beatles most underrated album. I say that not because it's among their best albums (it's not) but because I think it's better than Please Please Me, With The Beatles, and Yellow Submarine yet it's often called the band's worst album.

I think the reason the album has the bad reputation it has is because it came out between A Hard Day's Night and Help! and by comparison to those two albums it does seem quite weak. On the other hand if you pull the album out and compare it to the band's first two albums (Please Please Me and With The Beatles) I think it comes out looking much better.

The Problem

The covers are the big problem with this album. If I focus on just the eight Lennon/McCartney originals then I actually really love it. The originals have an overarching downcast mood that really flow together well. It makes for a great eight song EP.

Excellent Originals

The album starts off with a great trio of John Lennon penned (and sung) songs; "No Reply," "I'm A Loser," and "Baby's In Black." I'm also a huge fan of Lennon's late album (track #12) contribution, "I Don't Want to Spoil The Party," which is a really catchy sort of country tinged song which continues with the "sad sack" theme of the album openers.

Paul McCartney's contributions are great as well. "I'll Follow The Sun" is probably the most loved Paul original on the album but I think "Every Little Thing" and "What You're Doing" are definitely worth a listen as well.

The album also includes the well known classic "Eight Days A Week" which is a cool tune although it obviously doesn't match the heights of songs like "A Hard Day's Night," "Can't Buy Me Love," and "Ticket to Ride" on the previous album or "Help!," "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and "Yesterday" on the next album.

Awful Covers

Unfortunately things start to go awry when we get to the very "by the numbers" sounding covers like "Rock and Roll Music," "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" and "Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!" Things really start going off the rails with the dreadful "Mr. Moonlight" and "Honey Don't." The one cover of the six on the record that I have much patience for is their (too) cute version of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love."


Overall the album sounds far better than it used to thanks to the 2009 remasters. I love both the stereo version (which is available individually and as a part of the stereo box set) and the mono version (which is available only as a part of the mono box set).

If you've listened to this album before and it hasn't really knocked your socks off, it is recommend that you buy the new Beatles For Sale remastered version in either (or in both if you can afford it, as they are both brilliant) The Beatles in Stereo or The Beatles in Mono remastered box sets and then focus just on the eight originals.

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