So in a fit of Anti-Pepper, not the best album The Beatles made and not the start in any shape or form of the concept album, and it misses all the good songs off for second division filler, sentiment. I bought the Beatles albums missing from the collection in pretty new remastered versions. Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album and Let It Be. I deliberately avoided Sgt. Pepper in self righteous indignation at all the posters telling me I should get it. I strolled out of the store having claimed my 30% off the purchase and felt pretty good about myself in not succumbing to the pressure to buy the 50th anniversary one.
So on to this:
The unpopular last released album.
The contentious recording process, the awkward movie. The arguments about production. Did Phil Spector really ruin the album?
The geek in me wants to make all sorts of clever points. Scratch my beard and frown meaningfully and decide that one of the Get Back acetates is really the best version, or McCartney’s Let It Be Naked is the true classic.
The irony of an album that was supposed to be a return to some sort of semblance of live performance has become to be regarded as one of the most overproduced albums appeals to me.
I have to admit though this is the Let It Be I grew up with, it is in fact one of my favorite Beatles albums, even the saccharine strings and choir on the Long and Winding Road are essential to the listening experience, anything else is not right. Yes it is a patchwork album in feel, it never quite flows right and yet it flows exactly as it is supposed to do at the end of the day.
Also any album that has Get Back, Across the Universe and Let It Be on is a pretty good album as far as I can tell. Two of Us, Dig a Pony and I Me Mine are not too shabby either.
I found myself thinking as I listened to this newly bought version, as it’s cheaper than any original I could find, what a strange game listening to records has become. Is it the right pressing, is it mastered correctly is it remastered, what is the source tape, analog or digital and who cut the album. I have to admit it’s great fun and appeals to the inner geek. I do however long sometimes for the days when I was just happy to find a copy that I could afford new or used. Of course in the bad old days we only had one way of listening to records and our choices were limited and the word audiophile was reserved for those strange bearded men in the stereo store buying equipment we didn’t know what to do with.
To be honest after years of abuse at live shows I don’t think my ears can really tell some of the differences others claim to hear in all these exotic pressings. I like to listen to records because they are funner and I can read the lyrics and the sleeves are easier to enjoy. It’s also gratifying to see the jealous look my children give the shelves as they plot how they will split the legacy when I am gone.
Full disclosure. I got guilty when I got home and ordered the damned Sgt. Pepper album. I then felt better knowing the collection was complete in some way, I did not however get the super deluxe fab new version remixed, remastered and rewound. I got the mono version but now I think I may need the other…