Thursday, 10 September 2009



It got to the point a few years back where I just couldn’t listen to The Beatles any more. Ubiquity, the Anthology TV show, Oasis and the horrible legacy of Britpop rather soured the music for me. It took a good few years of scouring my ears clean with Coil, Liars and horrible twenty minute long avant-jazz epics before I could bare to go back again.

I’m glad I did. Never trust a man who claims that the Rolling Stones were better, for that man is foolish, wrong, showing off and probably lists his albums alphabetically. Still, I was sceptical about the new remasters. But, with some birthday vouchers going spare, I picked up Please, Please Me and The White Album.

Please Please Me is dandy, but it's The White Album I was particularly interested in. It's long been my favourite Beatles record (and indeed the favourite of all well-minded folk). It’s really quite peculiar listening to some of these songs again, songs that I’ve known for years, and spotting all the detail that was hidden there all along, buried in the weak 1987 editions. There’s a shrill ‘aaaaaahhhhhhhh’ on ‘Dear Prudence’; background noise on the earlier editions, here it’s really quite unnerving. Likewise, backing vocals I previously thought to be solo efforts are suddenly revealed to be the rest of the band joining in the fun.

But the thing that’s jumping out most from The White Album is Ringo. Poor old Ringo, his stick skills the butt of many a joke. Weird, given that at worst he was still perfectly competent. Here and now he sounds like an iron-clad percussionist Terminator. Rarely showy, but heavy, and exactly the backbone that this band needed.

I don’t normally go in for remasters – I’m reviewing the Kraftwerk box set for Clash at the moment and the difference between the old and new versions is fairly neglible. In the case of the new Beatles editions it really is comparable to the leap from blurry old VHS to a pin-sharp Blu-Ray. Good stuff.


A short review by me of the latest Mary Anne Hobbs dubstep compilation after the link.

Must admit, I’m not too happy with this one. It was written last minute, after a couple of weeks struggling to decide whether the fact that I don’t like wonky very much meant I was too old and past it, or that it was just an inferior compilation, compared to its peerless big brother, Warrior Dubz. I settled on the latter. But then I would, wouldn’t I?

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