Beatles review: Please Please Me

At the end of last year, EMI/Apple re-released the whole Beatles catalogue as a series (or box sets) of remastered CDs. The Beatles were more or less my first encounter with pop music when I was 8 or so, my first self-bought CD at the age of 12 was a Beatles CD and of course, I had to go out and buy these excellent remasters, I got both the mono and stereo editions. I had many weeks now listening these CDs and re-discovering some of the stuff was quite fun, and I want to share my impressions in a short series of short reviews intermingled with some personal anecdotes. Let’s do it in order of the release of the original LPs and start with ‘Please Please Me‘.

I think this is quite a good career starter. Innocent, powerful, inspired, raw, rocking. It has most of the ingredients of their later Beatlemania success albums, i.e. love songs (P.S. I love you and most others), rockers (I Saw Her Standing There,…), some cover versions , a slightly more exotic song (A Taste of Honey), some Ringo (Boys), some George (Do You Want To Know a Secret), a weird sense of humor (the Beatles covering a girl group talking about ‘Boys’). I really always enjoy this album. It was recorded in one day, and with John having a sore throat, and it shows – positively. From the first through the last song you can literally feel the energy of those 4 relatively unknown guys, and sense that the Beatlemania is already about to start. It is what the Beatles were at this point: a hard working live band. Interesting the last song: a kamikaze version of Twist and Shout, with John shredding his vocal chords. Hilarious. It could have been a total fail (with no second chance to record it), but instead it became music history. The stereo version is mostly relevant for historical reasons, the sound beeing a bit thin and the mixes having several glitches which were corrected in the mono mixes. These mono mixes on the other hand are just great and solid rocking. All in all the album always makes for a happy-go-lucky listen on sunny afternoons, even if it is not one of the totally essential ones. Also interesting to note is also the album cover: it shows the four guys on the stairs in the EMI building. Several years later they did the exact same scene again, now with long hair, for the planned last album (Get Back, which should become Let it Be). Both pictures would later be used for the red and blue best of double albums.

Next one up will be With The Beatles. Stay tuned. Please tell me what you think about the album in the comments.

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4 Responses to Beatles review: Please Please Me

  1. supareno says:

    Roman,

    i had some of the remasterised albums for xmas : i’d compared the sound of the remastered versions with the old LPs and CDs and the most beautiful things is THE SOUND !!! The sound is now as high as the band 🙂 We have now these great albums with a great sound !!

    regards

    supareno

  2. Nice review 🙂 You can definitely tell the difference the remastering makes more on the earlier albums, though I prefer the more mature sound of the later albums (which is why I only went for the stereo set).

    BTW, have you seen:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beatles-2009-Digital-Remaster-Version/dp/B002VH7P4O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1267035273&sr=8-1

    I was annoyed I didn’t see it before I bought the CD set as I probably would have just got this. 24-bit FLAC versions without the downsampling to 16-bit for CD 🙂

    • Roman Kennke says:

      You will be surprised to hear that Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour actually sound better, less artificial, more natural in mono. And they have additional effects (e.g. phasing in Lucy, more loops in Mr. Kite, totally different rhythm in I am the Walrus) not present in stereo. The White Album, Revolver and Rubber Soul are equally interesting in mono as in stereo, Taxman now has cowbells, I’m Only Sleeping more backward guitar solos, etc. I absolutely not regret to have bought the mono set. Regarding the 24 bit flacs: too bad, too late, I’m not going to shell out another 200€ or so for another copy of the same music, even if it was on blueray 192KHz/24Bit etc. And I actually enjoy real discs with real covers (esp. the covers of the mono box are awesome, 10x better than the stereo disc covers, which are already excellent).

  3. Pingback: Beatles review: With The Beatles « Roman Kennke's Blog

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