Blog reviews

beatles reissues

on+a+streetWhy is it we don’t have decent sounding CDs of the greatest band of all time? The Beatles, whose music is unarguably better than Wolfgang Mozart’s on his best day, have been heard for the last 30 years on tinny, crappy CDs rushed to market in the late 1980’s.

I’ll spare you the whole story, which has been recounted at length on other parts of the internet. Suffice to say The Beatles CDs sound way worse than those of their contemporaries. It galls me that The Monkees, began as a cheap cash-in on The Beatles’ early style, have remixed, remastered CDs that sound as good as the day a boatload of studio musicians piled into some recording booth in the 1960’s.

There are a few recent releases that offer fans a taste of what The Beatles actually sounded like: the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, comprised of songs from the film Yellow Submarine (itself no longer in print), the horribly titled Let it Be…Naked, and Love, the soundtrack to a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show. These three releases sound really good: full, loud. Listening to Love made me realize how much “Revolution” rocks. On “I Am the Walrus,” I heard the band playing together, something that gets lost on the murky-sounding Magical Mystery Tour CD. I would never trade the Love album in for any reason, but at the same time I’m angry that I had to wait for Cirque du Soleil to put on a show to hear The Beatles remastered.

The Apple website shows us how companies still don’t get the internet. The 40th anniversary of the White Album came and went with no remaster, but we can buy a $500 White Album pen. Imagine that! A white pen! People should be getting fired over this. I imagine the Apple corporate headquarters is a rundown farm, with a sickly horse wheezing in the stable, two cows too old to give milk, chickens wandering listlessly in the driveway, and a constantly quarreling farmer and his wife.

In whose interest is it to not release commodities for sale? When you eliminate the logical reasons, all you’re left with is laziness, incompetence, or insanity. All three must be at work in Apple.

I can’t imagine either Paul or Ringo cares very much at this point. They’re pretty well set financially, and if they ever want to hear the recordings they can just pop into Abbey Road studio to hear the original tapes. But it is in their interests to push for better sounding CDs – this is, after all, their legacy. As long as we are stuck with facsimiles of facsimiles, thin carbon copies of the real recording, the world’s impression of The Beatles is less awe and more “eh.”

Blog reviews


As a man of the arts, I am in a unique position to comment on beauty. A sly turn of phrase, a flash of color in a drab landscape, a satisfying composition…all these things are beautiful. But how can someone who is not well versed in beauty find it in the everyday world? Below is a primer of a few beautiful things. Hopefully it will guide you to living a life with more beauty in it. If it doesn’t, you must be a jerk.

Rock-afire Explosion plays an Usher song
My friend Ian pointed me to this one. One of the few Youtube videos I’ve watched more than once.

O.A.R., “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker
Clocking in at nearly 9 minutes, this epic song is satisfying in ways you cannot imagine. It’s pretty straightforward story, where the narrator recounts a poker game and (presumably) his own descent into drunkeness over the course of an evening. Emotions portrayed: wanting a “honey bunny” and also wanting to start a revolution. Now that sounds like a good night out.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.
Why didn’t the Republican Party just pick Tina Fey in the first place? Oh yeah – she actually has a brain.

Pablo Picasso, Guernica
While the painting is a unanimously declared masterpiece, I’m thinking of a book written about the painting. Some guy in California wrote a slim volume about the hidden images in Guernica. The art library where I worked bought said book. End of story, right? Wrong! Because, even though the book was already bound, the guy was apparently not done writing it. Every few months, for years, he’d send us supplemental packets for his book. These packets – typewritten, photocopied “Addendums,” grew more and more baffling. By the time I left the library, the supplements were taking up as much shelf space as the book itself. It was as though the publisher had wrested the manuscript from his hands and published it before he finished. I guess once you start seeing things in Guernica, you can’t stop.

Jason Voorhees punches that dude’s head off and the dude’s head lands in a dumpster, Jason Takes Manhattan.
Really, they should have used this device for every Friday the 13th movie. They could still be making movies where Jason punches off some dude’s head. Even in romantic comedies.

The Beatles “Love” mash-up album.
I could listen to this all day. Heck, I have done that. Who knew you could make The Beatles even better? George Martin and his son Giles, that’s who.

Dan Bern, “The 5th Beatle
Dan Bern is a great songwriter, very satirical and clever. (Hint: satire and cleverness go well together.) This song in particular makes me smile every time it comes up on my ipod.

Fall foliage
It hasn’t arrived here yet, but it’s coming. I can feel it.

They sue people for listening to music! Haha! What a great association.