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The Beatles - 'Love'

Thoroughly Modern Beatles

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The Beatles - 'Love'

George Martin and The Beatles at work in Abbey Road Studios.

Courtesy Special Ops Media

Any review of The Beatles Love is a review of the production of the music rather than the music itself. And whether you like the album will depend on whether you like the concept of the album.

Backstory

Cirque du Soleil commissioned longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son, Giles -- with the blessing of the two living Beatles and the estates of the other two -- to remix and remaster Fab Four classics for a lavish Las Vegas show. Working with the original studio masters -- and Sir George's intimate involvement in producing them -- the Martins crafted an intriguing mash-up of alternate takes, outtakes, and remixes.

All totaled, the album's 26 tracks are made up of 130 separate recordings. Sometimes there is just a chord or two. Some of the tracks are superimposed on other tracks. The overall effect, as befits a Cirque production, is surreal, and larger than life.

What's to Love

For those of us who listened to mono vinyl when that was all there was to listen to, the Digital Surround Sound treatment is breathtaking. It is less like listening to the radio or stereo, more like sitting in the studio during the sessions wearing a pair of high end headphones.

"New" versions -- like an a capella "Because," a gentler "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," combined live and studio recordings of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" -- are intriguing and fun.

The overall effect of all this sonic trickery is perfectly in keeping with the experimental nature of much of the band's post-Beatlemania work.

And What's Not

As I said at the outset, whether you like this album will depend entirely on whether you like the idea of someone mucking about with the original recordings, even if it is the guy who originally made those recordings.

The contingent of Beatles purists who still listen to the original vinyl LPs will have no truck with the modernization of the mixes, and will scorn what they perceive as the mulligan stew of disparate tracks insinuated on one another.

Others will whine at the commercialization, as if the music wasn't commercialized when it was made.

Bottom Line
Me? I like having the best of both worlds: the music that was so much a part of the fabric of my misspent youth, updated, modernized, and expertly played around with by the only people who could have possibly pulled it off.

Track List and Sample Tracks

"Because"
"Get Back"
"Glass Onion"
"Eleanor Rigby"
"Julia" (Transition)
"I Am The Walrus"
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"
"Drive My Car"/"The Word"/"What You're Doing"
"Gnik Nus"
"Something"
"Blue Jay Way" (Transition)
"Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!"/"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"/"Helter Skelter"
"Help!"
"Blackbird"/"Yesterday"
"Strawberry Fields Forever" (Listen: Windows Media | Real Audio)
"Within You Without You"/"Tomorrow Never Knows"
"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"
"Octopus's Garden" (Listen: Windows Media | Real Audio)
"Lady Madonna" (Listen: Windows Media | Real Audio)
"Here Comes The Sun"
"The Inner Light" (Transition)
"Come Together"/"Dear Prudence"
"Cry Baby Cry" (Transition)
"Revolution"
"Back In The U.S.S.R."
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Listen: Windows Media | Real Audio)
"A Day In The Life"
"Hey Jude"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
"All You Need Is Love"

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