Saturday, September 12, 2009

CD Review - Beatles White Album Remaster

So, I couldn't wait. Was at the store two days ago and picked up the White Album remaster. Very nice packaging. They duplicated the poster that used to come in the original LP, and included a pretty cool book that didn't tell me anything new about the recordings but had some very high quality photos I had never seen before and of course all of the lyrics.

But the real anticipation was, how does this sound? I popped it into the car CD player and the screeching airplane that intro's Back In The USSR came on. Hmmm. Then Dear Prudence. OK. It sounded good but not sure if it was any kind of improvement. I was expecting the big emotional whoosh I got when I heard the remixed Yellow Submarine or insane mashup of Love.

But of course that is not what this is. This is Apple taking advantage of modern day technology to put the master mixes onto CD properly, so they sound fresh and vibrant. You shouldn't really hear new guitar parts not on the original albums or anything like that. It should just sound better in general. But I wasn't sure I was hearing anything all that different sonically.

But then something happened. While My Guitar Gently Weeps came on and all of a sudden it sounded EPIC. The piano intro was biting, Clapton's solos were right there in my face and it sounded like Harrison was playing acoustic next to me in the passenger seat.

And it went on - The horn and string parts in Martha My Dear, the bell in Everybody's Got Something to Hide... They were crisp, clear and loud. And the White Album's quiet songs always seemed to be sort of muffled to my ears. But now, songs like Julia, I Will, Blackbird, Long Long Long and Mother Nature's Son sound like they were pulled off of Revolver or Rubber Soul, which I always felt sounded crisper.

In fact the bird sounds in Blackbird were so clear and present that they were almost distracting, as was the bell in Monkey. And Yoko's warbling "Hey Bungarow Birwl" was also more audible (a good thing?).

McCartney said in a statement that these CDs are now as close to what it sounded like being there when the songs were recorded and I believe him.

There are 'making of' videos on each new CD but I haven't watched the White Album one yet.

I am actually going to kick on Revolution 9 and get into the groove (not). But I bet Good Night sounds excellent!

Not sure if I will eventually replace my whole Beatles collection with these but if the White Album is any indication, I just might.


Dr. John said...

I may buy them all at some point given the fact that I only own 4 of the original Beatles studio albums (sad, ain't it?) and really should have the whole collection given the influence they had on so much of the music that came after them.

Bob K said...

My wife picked up the whole set of them for me (I was in class that day a lot) and she put them away for a Christmas present!!!!! But I did convince her that I needed to open at least one of them so she let me choose one - after two days of thinking I chose A Hard Day's Night - excellent sound - the first chord is amazing. I want to listen again more closely before I really review it, though. I couldn't yesterday - I drove to Chicago for the U2 concert!!!!!