The Beatles Love
CD Review by Brian McAlley / 12/2006

Track listing
1. Because 2. Get Back 3. Glass Onion 4. Eleanor Rigby/Julia (Transition) 5. I Am The Walrus
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand 7. Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing 8. Gnik Nus
9. Something/Blue Jay Way (Transition) 10. Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!/I Want You (She's So Heavy)/Helter Skelter 11. Help! 12. Blackbird/Yesterday 13. Strawberry Fields Forever
14. Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows 15. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
16. Octopus's Garden 17. Lady Madonna 18. Here Comes The Sun/The Inner Light (Transition)
19. Come Together/Dear Prudence/Cry Baby Cry (Transition) 20. Revolution
21. Back In The U.S.S.R. 22. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 23. A Day In The Life
24. Hey Jude 25. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) 26. All You Need Is Love

Label: Capital / Release date: November 21, 2006

The Beatles split up over 30 years ago but their legacy continues to grow. After a host of greatest hits compilations and various anthologies comes yet another release featuring classic Beatles material. This is not your typical repackage however, even though the original masters were used in creating "Love," the soundtrack to the Beatles Cirque de Soleil Las Vegas spectacular.

As a long-time Beatles fan, I was a bit skeptical of the idea of tampering with the legendary Beatles catalog, but upon listening to the new disc, I was totally blown away by the meticulous care that was taken in revamping or "mashing" these timeless classics. The project was remixed by former Beatles producer George Martin along with his son Giles, and the results are nothing short of stunning. "Love" is unlike any other Beatles release as it is a culmination of songs, or snippets of songs from various stages of their extraordinary careers, assembled together flawlessly in a most interesting fashion. (130 songs all total were used to create the 26 on this disc). For example' "Drive My Car" merges meticulously into a section of "The Word," which in turn segues into "What You're Doing," all while retaining a perfect rhythm and beat throughout. Other standouts include mashups of "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" / "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" / "Helter Skelter," "Within You, Without You" / "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Eleanor Rigby" / "Julia," and "Blackbird" / "Yesterday."

The question many people will ask is why rework these classic Beatles tunes in the first place? The answer is simple. The soundtrack was specifically created for the Cirque de Soleil show, but since all the original Beatles material had already been released many times over, "Love" gave Mr. Martin and his son the rare opportunity to add a new dimension to their sound and musical legacy. Plus it also gave them the opportunity to remaster these old tracks using today's digital technology, making them sound brighter and sharper than ever before. The songs on "Love" were mixed from the original 4 and 8 track masters produced by George Martin back in the 1960's, making the sound on the new disc unlike anything ever heard by The Beatles to date. For example, the clarity of the vocal harmony on "Because" (which appears minus the backing tracks) is breathtaking, while the depth of John Lennon's vocal on "A Day in the Life" sends a shiver down your spine.

All original Beatles tracks were utilized in the making of "Love," although there are a few instances in which a different take of a specific song is present. For example, an alternate version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" was used along with an acoustic demo of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (which features a newly-recorded string section arranged by George Martin the only new recording on the disc). Those familiar with the complete Beatles catalog will marvel at the way guitar and vocal parts along with audio effects were blended into other songs in a perfectly seamless manner. Then again, purists may feel that this is an unnecessary intrusion into the sacred Beatles catalog and that the masters should never have been tampered with. Whatever your opinion, there is nothing about "Love" that is detrimental to the Beatles legacy, and the greatest of care was taken to assemble the project by the only people truly qualified for such a delicate undertaking.

The disc is available in 2 formats; a standard CD version and a special DVD-A version providing a high resolution 5.1 mix which is 24-bit, 96khz per channel. The DVD-A also has extended versions of "Revolution" and "Back In The USSR," which are not on the standard CD version because of space constraints. Both discs are a major improvement on the sound of the original Beatles CD releases and rumor has it that the entire Beatles catalog is being remastered to match the sound quality of this release.

The project received full support from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, as they all attended the opening performance in Las Vegas and were elated with the show and the finished soundtrack. Two years in the making, "Love" is an impressive addition to the Beatles catalog and is one that should be enticing to long-time fans and newcomers alike. Whether you approve of the tampering or not, the vastly improved sound quality makes this disc an essential addition to any rock music collection.