Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Greatest CDs Ever Made

I made mention of the new Beatles CD remasters in the comments today, so I thought I might as well make a formal post here on the blog.  A bit off-topic?  Ehh, whatever.  The Beatles are my absolute favorites, and these new CDs are spectacular.  Absolutely spectacular.  I haven't been this excited over digital music since the '90s, and that means a lot when coming from a turntable junkie.  These are the greatest CDs ever made.  Period.

Now you may be surprised, but it's pretty difficult to find good Beatles records on vinyl.  The biggest problem is that the American Capitol pressings are almost uniformly bad.  Perhaps "bad" is a bit harsh, but they are all too often flat, muddy, and somewhat dull.  The "Apple labels" are the best, and I have an early-press of Abbey Road that I adore, so there are exceptions to the rule.  But I would personally rank the Capitol versions of Rubber Soul, Revolver, and The White Album poorly.

The UK Parlephone albums are spectacular, the Gold Standard (especially the "yellow and black" label pressings from the 1960s).  You've never heard The Beatles until you've heard them on the UK records, and I think it's worth the investment of a solid turntable, phono cartridge, and stereo receiver just for these albums.  The Japanese reissue pressings are also fantastic (I've been lucky enough to score a Japan White!), and they have the added benefit of being more affordable.

However, for the average person on the street, you're not going to hear your favorite Beatles albums on those records.  New Beatles vinyl LP's are scheduled for release, but the expectation is that they will be pressed from the new digital masters, sadly.  The UK and Japanese analog masterpieces will forever remain a holy grail for collectors and die-hard fans.  If that describes your situation, these new CDs are the perfect substitute.

Oh, and Capitol chopped up The Beatles' albums with shamefully padded out records like Something New, Beatles VI, Beatles '65, and Yesterday and Today.  I actually enjoy their version of Rubber Soul, which swaps in a pair of folk songs at the start of each side - "I've Just Seen a Face" and "It's Only Love," respectively.  But Revolver had its heart and soul ripped out for no good reason.  Yuck!

Hmm...I only meant to write a few words on this subject, so I'll be wise to stop now before this turns into a 1,000-word manifesto.  Feel free to talk about these albums on this thread all you want.  We'll be back to our regularly-scheduled Ghibli blogging when the sun rises.  I'm off to sleep.

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