The Beatles: “Love”

For Christmas I received not one, but two copies of the new Beatles album, “Love” which I had desperately been wanting ever since learning of it. For anyone who doesn’t know, Cirque Du Soleil wanted to do a Beatles themed show so George Martin and his son Giles took the original Beatles master tapes, put them in a metaphorical blender and came up with some amazing musical casseroles, some pieced together like Frankenstein’s monster, with amazing results. Some songs have the vocals from one song set to the music from a completely different song with various textures from even more songs thrown in, while some other songs are changed very little from the originals but almost everything has at least some small subtle bits from other songs creeping in.
I definitely think the die hard Beatles fans (like myself) will reap the deepest rewards from this collection but even more casual Beatles fans can’t miss the more extreme remixes and sound collages which, in my opinion, are by far the best and most amazing. This album continues to elicit goose bumps from me even several after listenings. I’m just about as big a Beatles fan as there is but I have yet to be able to trace each bit of each song back to its origin. The end of “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite” mixed with “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” sounds to me like a pristine aural representation of Hell, and I mean that in a wonderful, pure genius way. Listening to this album is like being caught in some strange wormhole where the entire Beatles catalog exists as one living, breathing entity; time and space ripple and fold back on themselves as sounds and images fade and meld into each other and through you.
I’ve evangelized for years about the genius of George Martin and how I think his role as producer had as much effect on the end result of Beatles records as the 4 Beatles themselves had in writing and playing them and I think this album puts his talents on display more than ever. Just listen to “Anthology” and you can hear a demo of a good song end up as a true masterpiece due in no small part to Martin’s input.
The album is also available in two formats, standard CD, and a double CD+DVD version which includes the whole album (with some slightly longer versions of some songs) in 5.1 surround sound. This is an absolute must hear. Absolutely one of the most creative and amazing things I’ve heard in a long time.

2 Responses

  1. Eileen says:

    While I wouldn’t describe myself as die-hard, I would definitely consider myself a Beatles fan. But I wasn’t overly impressed with this album. Admittedly, I haven’t sat down and really listened to it. I’ve had it on in the background while studying, so a lot of the changes and blends and stuff probably didn’t register properly. But it didn’t hit me as being particularly amazing and ground-breaking or different from the originals.

  2. Jess says:

    Well, it depends what you mean by ‘ground-breaking’. Of course mash-ups have been done before, so this isn’t inventing some new musical technique or anything. But I really think you should give it a proper listen before you write it off, because what it basically does is make new songs out of old ones. Heath and I discussed it and agree that there are a couple that aren’t really all that different from the originals, and most of the songs on the album have at least a couple of minutes of something that sounds mostly like a song you already know–but the magic isn’t just in the transitions. Go listen to “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows” and tell me that isn’t a whole new song. And the one that Heath mentions, “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!/I Want You (She’s So Heavy)/Helter Skelter”, where Mr. Kite falls of a cliff INTO HELL is brilliant.
    I think the biggest indication of George Martin’s genius in this whole thing is that he managed to make so many songs that sound so natural that the moderate Beatles fan might not even realise they’re mash-ups.

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