Friday, September 11, 2009

Beatlemania all over again!

This is my first post about the Beatles! 40 years after the Fab Four parted ways and 'phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust', the music world is witnessing their 2nd coming. Beatlemania has indeed risen from the dust, and it's here to stay. As most of us should've known by now, the Beatles' remastered catalog was released on 9-9-09, in stereo and mono. I bought 'em both on the same day. It beats me as to why the mono set costs 50 bucks more than the stereo and those cds are only available as a box set. But it seems now that the mono sets have sold out everywhere around the world.

Ok, so after over four years of painstaking remastering, do the songs sound better than before? YES, they fucking do!!! For one thing, the volume levels are much louder than the original 1987 releases, but this doesn't compromise on the dynamic range of the songs. I could spend hours listening to 'em on my headphones, and I won't get any ringing in my ears. Everything is so clear now. I'm beginning to hear stuff I never heard before. Paul's bass and Ringo's drums sound more upfront this time. The intro to While My Guitar Gently Weeps is strikingly sharp , and that's the same for the rest of the song, including Clapton's lead guitar. And don't get me started on the harmonies. My God, these remasters really reveal how great the singing is. For proof, check out every Lennon song on The White Album; Dear Prudence, I'm So Tired, Happiness Is A Warm Gun.

I'm also beginning to fall in love with songs that I previously didn't have a fondness for....Tomorrow Never Knows (the stereo version fucking blew my mind), She's Leaving Home, I Want You (She's So Heavy), and most of the stuff from their first four albums. No matter how many thousands of times we've heard the Beatles, the remasters give us the impression that we're really HEARING them for the first time. After listening to Here Comes The Sun, I couldn't believe what I've just heard. George Harrison's voice and guitar playing never sounded so good!

As to whether which versions are better (mono or stereo), it's really up to individual preference. The liner notes mentioned that up until Sgt. Peppers, the Beatles intended their music to heard in mono. But I think to really fully experience the Beatles, it's essential to get both versions. There are lots of differences between the two. I still can't stand some of the stereo mixes on some songs, where the drums and vocals are panned to the extreme opposite ends. I'd prefer mono for those.

These remasters are well worth the wait, and money. People will still complain about how they're getting ripped off. But for me, to hear some of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded, in high pristine quality is truly an 'out of this world' experience. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine Paul, John, George and Ringo in the same room.