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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Beatles -- Help!

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8/10

The Beatles continue to slowly grow on Help! Beatles for Sale showed the most promising signs of potential yet, and Help! goes even further. The songs are just a little more well written, and a little more varied in sound. The greatest flaw is still there, namely, sometimes cheesy, romance-based lyrics, but the situation of the various relationships is more complex than before. The lyrics rarely hit a level where the schmaltz is too heavy, but rarely doesn't mean never: "It's Only Love" is so sentimentally disgusting, it's hard to believe the biggest band in history actually wrote and recorded it. There are more than enough great classics to tip the balance far into the good column, though. The title track is a blast of wonderful energy, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "I've Just Seen a Face" are better than the entirety of Please Please Me, and "Yesterday" is absolutely timeless.

That song in particular is as far away from the initial Beatles' sound as anything they had yet done (to be fair, it's also the only song up to this point featuring just one Beatle, in this case, Paul). In fact, Help! has less looks back to that orignal sound than any Beatles' album yet, though the freak-out closing number, "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," goes back to the old blueprint of finishing with a wild cover of someone else's song. It still works.
As much as I talk about the tiny, always forward steps between each Beatles' record, this is their FIFTH album in barely over two years! Today we get about three years between TWO albums from most bands, and we are quite lucky if those bands take any steps forward at all. Help! is already worlds apart from Please Please Me and it's only been half a presidential term (or in this case, an assassination, a succession, and a re-election...I guess things just moved faster back then).

1965 Apple Corps
1 Help! 2:19
2 The Night Before 2:34
3 You've Got to Hide Your Love Away 2:09
4 I Need You 2:28
5 Another Girl 2:05
6 You're Going to Lose That Girl 2:18
7 Ticket to Ride 3:09
8 Act Naturally 2:30
9 It's Only Love 1:56
10 You Like Me Too Much 2:36
11 Tell Me What You See 2:37
12 I've Just Seen a Face 2:05
13 Yesterday 2:05
14 Dizzy Miss Lizzy 2:58

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