Monday, March 25, 2013

The Beatles - With the Beatles



This may be the first Beatles album I ever bought past the Anthology discs.  I want to say that my boyfriend at the time got Please Please Me and I bought this one, and we listened to them both together.  My parents also just got me a decal based on this cover that is currently on my laptop.

  1. "It Won't Be Long" - Just an all around great pop song with that "yeah!" callback on the chorus.  The first time I ever heard this song, it was a cover version on an album called Shared Vision.  I can't remember who sang it and the Amazon description doesn't say.  But for whatever reason that album's existence just popped into my head again, so I'm sharing it with you.
  2. "All I've Got to Do" - I'm not as much a fan of this song, and I think it has a lot to do with the minimal instrumentation.  The vocals are great, but having the drums dominate the recording just doesn't work for me at all.
  3. "All My Loving" - Another classic, and another overly sweet Paul song.  For whatever reason it doesn't bother me as much on this one.  Maybe it's just repetition that means I barely think about what the words are saying anymore.  Or maybe the strong harmonies mean I don't care.
  4. "Don't Bother Me" - It's George's first song, and it's pretty good.  Having to share space with a powerhouse writing duo like Lennon/McCartney is pretty much guaranteed to make you pale by comparison, especially when you're first starting out writing.  But for a first effort this is really good.
  5. "Little Child" - I think I forgot about this song until I heard it again because it's the kind of a song that has similarities to others but nothing to really claim as its own.  The harmonica is back and the theme is dancing and there are better Beatles songs that contain both.
  6. "Till There Was You" - The first cover that appears on the album, originally from The Music Man but this is styled after the way Peggy Lee sang it.  I think it suits Paul's voice and style really well and I enjoy it.
  7. "Please Mr. Postman" - Another cover, and one that I don't really like.  It's not a bad song in and of itself, but it gets stuck in my head and I just want it to go away.  So I suppose it fulfills its job as an earworm, it just does it a little too well.
  8. "Roll Over Beethoven" - The covers just keep on coming!  This is a Chuck Berry song, and I'll tell you right now that I greatly prefer every Beatles cover of Chuck Berry over his own versions.  His versions just tend to be a little too slow and repetitive for me.
  9. "Hold Me Tight" - This is one of their older songs that I actually do like quite a bit but find myself rarely ever listening to.  I have no reason why.  It's pretty typical for the rest of the album so I guess it's easy for it to get lost, but it is good enough to stand on its own. 
  10. "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" - Another cover where I really prefer this version to the original, though the original is also good.  There's just something about the way John sings this one that really tugs at my heart strings.  It's sad and sweet and soulful all at the same time and I just love it.
  11. "I Wanna Be Your Man" - Written by Lennon/McCartney, donated to The Rolling Stones as a single that was released a few weeks before this version by Ringo.  I doubt I will surprise you in saying that I prefer this version.  It's not a great song by any means, as it barely has any words to it and I've never been a fan of songs that just repeat two or three phrases over and over.  But it's good for what it is.
  12. "Devil in Her Heart" - A cover originally done by The Donays, another female group.  The gender pronoun has been changed, obviously.  It's okay, but it's also a little boring.  It feels like pretty generic mid-60s pop, which it is. 
  13. "Not a Second Time" - Another one of my favorites.  It's hard to describe why, other than that I really just love the sound of it.  The lyrics are also pretty good.  It's always nice to hear a pop song where the person is standing up for themselves rather than just being a fool for love.
  14. "Money (That's What I Want)" - Another solid cover performed by John.  It's interesting that this has similarities with "Twist and Shout" and both were chosen to end their respective albums. In the liner notes of Anthology 1, the critic claims John inserted the line "I want to be free" but if you listen to the original Barrett Strong version you tell me if he's saying that or something like "I mean green" toward the end.  It's pretty hard to make out.

Overall this is a much stronger album than Please Please Me, but still very much full of those cover songs that dominated the time period.  At least most of them are stronger ones.  I would recommend the album to anyone who enjoys their early work, as a lot of the non-singles here would probably be new to the casual fan but are good enough to add to your playlists for repeated listens.

My review of Hard Day's Night will be up later this week!

2 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    I never owned this album and am only familar with a handful of tracks--mostly the covers. =P I don't find it very impressive now, and I think I would have had the same reaction to the album Please Please Me, if it weren't for all the nostalgia of childhood. If I were a bigger Beatles fan, I'd listen to this in order to study their early work, looking for the seeds of greatness, but it's not something I'd pop into the player just because.

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    1. I can see that. I find early Beatles to be something I often have to be specifically in the mood for.

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