Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Beatles - Beatles for Sale



This album was recorded at the height of the Beatles popularity, and its name is as tongue in cheek as the Beatles often were.  The record company wanted to push out another album to cash in on their success, and so they quickly recorded these songs with a large number of covers included to pad out the album.  But that doesn't mean it's all fluff.

  1. "No Reply" - Case in point, this is a good one.  There's an adorable outtake on the Beatles Anthology for this one where they flub the words halfway through and then continue the joke through to the end. 
  2. "I'm a Loser" - I find that whenever I'm home alone on a Friday or Saturday night for whatever reason while everyone else is out, I find myself singing the chorus of this song.  It doesn't really fit at all, because he's singing about being dumped, but the way they stretch out the O in loser just makes it so fun and generally makes me feel a little better even though I'm not out having fun.
  3. "Baby's In Black" - I don't really care for this too much.  There's some clever stuff going on here in the lyrics, but it just doesn't grab me like a lot of their other songs do.
  4. "Rock and Roll Music" - The first cover, originally a Chuck Berry song, which if you've been paying attention you know means I like it more than the original.  John just puts an energy to it that I find Berry's version lacking.
  5. "I'll Follow the Sun" - It's another somber Paul song.  It's not bad, not great.  It is very easy to sing along with.
  6. "Mr. Moonlight" - Another cover, and this one is just plain mediocre.  I blame the song itself rather than their performance.  Hear the original and see how close it is.
  7. "Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!" - Putting all these covers in a row just really makes it kind of painful to get through.  Though this is the perfect time to point out that Paul McCartney obviously secretly wished he was Little Richard around this time.
  8. "Eight Days a Week" - I like the way this one seems to never really start or end, with the fade in and fade out.  But of course the danger of that is it can essentially get stuck in your head repeating forever.
  9. "Words of Love" - A cover of a Buddy Holly song that has his distinctive style to it.  It's odd to hear the Beatles emulating it so closely.  It's not bad, it's just clearly not their song.
  10. "Honey Don't" - This cover is originally by Carl Perkins, and this is Ringo's token song of the album.  While I'm not much of a fan of country, there's no denying that it suits Ringo well.
  11. "Every Little Thing" - I had zero memory of this song when I started this review.  Hearing the chorus brings it back to me, but it is pretty forgettable over all.
  12. "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" - I am bothered by that title.  I'm not exactly sure why, though it does sound whiny.  The song itself is a little too country for my tastes.
  13. "What You're Doing" - I had no memory of this one either.  Stylistically it reminds of songs that Paul would write better on the later albums.  So I guess it serves well as a predecessor, but I'd rather listen to the other songs instead.
  14. "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" - Another cover of a Carl Perkins song, this one sung by George.  While the lyrics don't really seem to suit him, I do like the way he sings it and I like the upbeat nature of the song.  It also makes me wonder if its just coincidence that George and Ringo both sang Perkins songs or not.  Maybe they were both listening to his albums together around that time.  BONUS: Carl Perkins and George playing the song together!

Overall it's a weak album, but there are a few decent songs tucked in there.  It certainly doesn't belong on a list of essential Beatles albums, but I think it's worth at least one listen before moving on.

3 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    This is quite a let down after A Hard Day's Night. It's as if they took some loose tracks that couldn't fit into the earlier album and padded them with covers. =/

    The only ones I could sing on my own were Baby's in Black, Eight Days a Week, and I'll Follow the Sun.

    I'm surprised at how underwhelmed I've been by The Beatles' early albums. On the other hand, listening to them again this way really drives home the point that their musical greatness was developed over a long time, with a lot of practice and trial-and-error.

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    Replies
    1. I had a friend who was going through the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list, and he told me every single Beatles album was included. After listening to this one again, I feel safe saying they shouldn't have done that.

      Fortunately, we have many more good ones to look forward to! :)

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  2. +JMJ+

    And now I realise that I know (and really like) No Reply, which is arguably the strongest and most innovative track on the album. But for some reason, it wasn't one of those I memorised in my youth. My loss . . .

    I'm looking forward to the rest of the series! =)

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