Strawberry Fields Forever - Nothing is real

Friday, April 14, 2006

I need a fix 'cause I'm goin' down

Ok, no real chance of me going down. (sorry to get a few hopes up there)

However, I could use a fix. Indeed, a fix would be rather nice.

In today's world, a segment of the internet (and by extension the world) has been obsessed with the latest release from the Beatles, the 2nd volume of the American LPs. Mind you, this is the 2nd volume to a release I originally dismissed as rumor.

Well, it seems (like most Beatles releases of the last... well, ever) that the release was messed up at the factory where they used the wrong 'mixes' on 2 of the 4 discs.

In response to this, Capitol/EMI is suggesting that people who buy the flawed copies can simply exchange them back to Capitol/EMI when the fixed versions are available. (a process that will involve the consumer requesting a package to send the 2 discs to them with, the consumer receiving the package, then sending the 2 discs, then waiting for Capitol/EMI to mail them back the corrected discs)

This release is mostly intended towards fanatics and old-school Beatles fans who remember listening to the Beatles' albums on the generally inferior American incarnations. However, given how wretched the standard Beatles cds sound, and the fact that the cds do not (for the most part) offer both the mono and stereo mixes of the songs, there is some worth to this new set (like Volume 1). That worth is seriously diminished when the mono mixes are not in fact anything more than the stereo mix added together to make a mono mix though.

The Beatles' stereo mixes are worthwhile because (generally) they are cleaner, and show more detail to the recording. The mono mixes are worthwhile because for the most part, they actually had the Beatles themselves involved in the mix decisions, and were the mixes the most time was spent on. (up through "The Beatles" double LP)

This would be academic, but there are actually pretty striking differences between the mono and stereo mixes in many cases. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is a lot trippier in the mono mix. "Help!" has a different lead vocal. "Revolution" has a lot more muscle to the sound with the guitars mixed up to the hilt. You get the point.

Now, basically, I own everything I can get my grubby little hands on with the word Beatles on it. However, because of this, I am holding off buying this set. I'd actually like to get it. The American release of "Rubber Soul" is actually really nice. They substituted some of the harder songs on that record with left-overs from "Help!" and dropped other harder songs leaving a very acoustic/folk rock affair that's a really nice listen.

Something tells me that the same can be found on the internets mastered from vinyl that actually sounds a good deal better than the new cds, and actually has the proper mono mix of this record...

Until the fix is in, and the only version of the set available has the proper mixes for the discs, I think I may ponder the existence of these fabled vinyl transfers...


  • see how they run like casaburi from a gun, see how they fly... I'm cryin'

    They say you won't know John Lennon till you read Finnagin's Wake. Have you read it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 PM  

  • I think I've read pieces of it, and yes, according to "they" I only somewhat know John Lennon. However, that's probably a significant improvement over how much I know just about anything else.

    Socrates once said (according to Plato) that the 1st step towards wisdom was admitting you know nothing. I'm so at the 1st step!

    By Blogger Jim Casaburi, at 9:30 PM  

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