Thursday, February 6, 2014

Music Review - The Beatles - Please Please Me

Hey kids! It's time for yet another series!

Last fall I picked up a copy of Beatles Rockband for the Wii for a mere thirty bucks. While I have no interest in "playing" a plastic guitar I've long thought that the plastic drums could be used as a kind of first step in learning proper drums, helping to develop muscle memory and whatnot. So every now and then I head down to the basement and set things up for twenty minutes of faux-drum mania. Fun stuff!

I hearing these songs again, songs that are meshed with my personal history, I thought it might be enjoyable to listen to all of their albums again.

So here goes...

Please Please Me

I've never been a fan of their pre-Revolver albums. While I generally like the originals on these early works there are far too many covers for my tastes. But that's how they did things back then. Consider that for their first album they weren't THE BEATLES (gasp, squeal, prostrate yourself) but were rather just some young band that showed promise and some success with their audience. Sir George Martin, who was not yet a Sir, took a fancy to them and brought them into the studio to see if this live success could be captured on vinyl.

Please Please Me was recorded in a single day and was essentially a live recording of their set with very few overdubs. There are seven covers and seven originals. Of these seven originals four are all-out home runs! "I Saw Her Standing There" kicks off the album with loads of energy. The prominent bass line is admittedly 100% stolen from the Chuck Berry song "Talkin' 'Bout You" but they make it their own. For some reason the well written "Do You Want To Know A Secret" seems to be a bit more mature in form than the other originals but I can't put my finger on why. The title track is a superb song with fantastic vocal harmonies and lots of variety in the little musical turnarounds between the verses that keep the song from being overly simple. “Love Me Do” is another song to be adorned with Lennon’s gritty harmonica plus a basic but fun to play bass line holding everything together. There’s a definite charm in this song in that the vocals and the harmonica, while musically pleasing, are not shined to a high gloss of perfection. For some reason people love “Twist and Shout” but I find it boring and repetitive. Unless it’s played at a wedding and I’ve loosed up a bit.

I’m tempted to say that the album is better than I remember it but that’s only because of these four very strong songs. I will say that it’s a very good first album and that things only get better from here.

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