Pete's Blog

The Beatles: "Love"

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This album makes plain that in the 36 years since the Beatles broke up there has been no white pop worthy to be listened to in the same breath. It's a mixed metaphor of blinding clumsiness, but I'm a little excited. This is the soundtrack to the Cirque de Soleil show that opened in Las Vegas this fall, where Beatles producer George Martin and his son Giles mixed dozens of Beatles songs together, creating audacious collages out of various backing tracks, demos, and hits. The effect underscores the astonishing burst of creativity that was the Beatles' eight-year recording career, as iconic moments pile up on each other. The huge sustained chord that opens "A Hard Days Night," with the chugging "Get Back" intro rising behind it cloaked in the jet-plane effect from "Back in the USSR" - it's an unforgettable hit of pure '60s adrenaline. The Martins are circumscribed by the lack of multi-tracking in the early records. Most of these mixes come from the post-Sgt. Pepper era, where individual tracks are easier to get at. Things like the "Good Night" string arrangement, the "Savoy Truffle" horns, the "Tomorrow Never Knows" tape loops keep popping up in unexpected places, often to heart-stopping effect. Because the real theme here is George Martin's valedictory to "the boys." As "Come Together" fades into the celestial harmony-wash of "Dear Prudence" you hear Paul's ghostly coda to "Cry Baby Cry" - "Can you take me back where I came from?/Can you take me back?" and at once you miss John so terribly.

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