The Beatles

Record review

Reissues & Box Sets

The Beatles

The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 (Apple/Capitol)

The "Back to Mono" movement be damned: the last thing rock & roll needs is jazz's alternate takes. The second 4-CD flimsy of the Beatles' U.S. catalog, a sorry series of slices and dices in the early years, follows up 1964 with two regurgitated collections, a soundtrack (Help!), and Rubber Soul – all from 1965. The Wal-Mart nature of The Early Beatles and Beatles VI makes mono and stereo mixes for both, sequenced back to back, for posterity only (and the Japenese market). That goes double for Help!, sequenced with instrumental film cues that call into question whether you're listening to The Nutcracker or Star Wars. The Hard Day's Night sitar medley is perfect for Syd Barrett's visit to Dr. Robert. Rubber Soul, on the other hand, the Beatles all grown up, flickers with a revelation or two in its opposing mixes, mono the X-ray through which the stereo version's hormonal warmth flattens out into black-&-white standards. McCartney's "I've Just Seen a Face" and "I'm Looking Through You" razzle, while John Lennon's "Norwegian Wood" and "In My Life" dazzle. Even Sir Paul's "Michelle" wears its prom charm sincerely. Early, it's all Johnny Bop-a-Lula; Lennon's formal rockist approach to "Twist and Shout" is nearly a caricature of itself on the way to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The stereo version of the Isley Brothers cover kicks mono butt, though Lennon's two-channel "Anna" only spotlights his pure tenor. Ringo holds his own on "Boys." Correction: Two versions of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" aren't enough.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Feb. 26, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Feb. 5, 2021

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle