Here’s a note-for-note live recreation of The White Album by a group called The Analogues giving me the feels.

10 Replies to “Whoa”

  1. These Dutch bastards rule, thanks!

    I thought “I’ll only watch a little of this” and got through most of Side One.

    When the pandemic ends in five years, we need to go to one of their shows.

    1. Yes sir!

      I’m struck by the idea that this feels more like a chamber orchestra playing classical music than a cover band. Is that weird?

  2. That’s totally the vibe. I found myself thinking about the upcoming music, and “how are they gonna get that sou—ohhh!”

    Orchestra on speed dial.

  3. I’ve only watched the first song. But yeah, you’ve got good musicians reverently playing someone else’s music before a reverent, mostly gray-haired audience. Same deal.

    Kind of begs the question of whether the Beatles will become enshrined in a manner similar to major classical composers. For now they are, but in 50 years, who knows?

    The bassist reminds me of John Candy.

  4. You’ll know the Beatles have reached canonical status when people applaud at the end of the album performance rather than between songs.

  5. I’m continuing the journey and really liking it. Can’t remember if it was the Get Back documentary or Anthology where I saw that they came back from India with a truckload of songs and just wanted to do them all. I’ve always been a fan of the double album, weaker tracks acknowledged.

    I remembered the “heroes for us all, and better than we deserve” line, and “competent, not virtuoso” from a review and found it:

    If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday—with the publication of the new Beatles double LP—should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making, which only the ignorant will not hear and only the deaf will not acknowledge. Called simply The Beatles (PMC 7067/8), it’s wrapped in a plain white cover which is adorned only by the song titles and those four faces, faces which for some still represent the menace of long-haired youth, for others the great hope of a cultural renaissance and for others the desperate, apparently endless struggle against cynical so-called betters.
    In the Beatles’ eyes, as in their songs, you can see the fragile fragmentary mirror of the society which sponsored them, which interprets and makes demands of them, and which punishes them when they do what others reckon to be evil; Paul, ever-hopeful, wistful; Ringo, every mother’s son; George, local lad made good; John, withdrawn, sad, but with a fierce intelligence clearly undimmed by all that organised morality can throw at him. They are heroes for us all, and better than we deserve.

    It’s not as if the Beatles ever seek such adulation. The extra-ordinary quality of the 30 new songs is one of simple happiness. The lyrics overflow with a sparkling radiance and sense of fun that it is impossible to resist. Almost every track is a send-up of a send-up of a send-up, rollicking, relentless, gentle, magical. The subject matter ranges from piggies (‘Have you seen the bigger piggies/In their starched white shirts’), to Bungalow Bill of Saturday morning film-show fame (‘He went out tiger hunting with his elephant gun/In case of accidents he always took his mom’); from ‘Why don’t we do it in the road’ to ‘Savoy Truffle’.

    The skill at orchestration has matured with finite precision. Full orchestra, brass, solo violin glockenspiel, saxophone, organ, piano, harpsichord, all manner of percussion, flute, sound effects, are used sparingly and thus with deftness.

    Electronic gimmickry has been suppressed or ignored in favour of musicianship. References to or quotations from Elvis Presley, Donovan, Little Richard, the Beach Boys, Blind Lemon Jefferson are woven into an aural fabric that has become the Bayeux Tapestry of popular music. It’s all there, if you listen. Lennon sings ‘I told you about strawberry fields’ and ‘I told about the fool on the hill’—and now?

    The Beatles are competent rather than virtuoso instrumentalists—but their ensemble playing is intuitive and astonishing. They bend and twist rhythms and phrases with a unanimous freedom that gives their harmonic adventures the frenzy of anticipation and unpredictability. The voice—particularly that of Lennon—is just another instrument, wailing, screeching, mocking, weeping.

    There is a quiet determination to be rid of the bogus intellectualisation that usually surrounds them and their music. The words almost deliberately simple-minded like, ‘Happy birthday to you’; another just goes on repeating ‘Good-night’; another says ‘I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink.’ The music is likewise stripped of all but the simplest of harmonies and beat—so what is left is a prolific out-pouring of melody, music-making of unmistakable clarity and foot-tapping beauty.

    The sarcasm and bitterness that have always given their music its unease and edginess still bubbles out—‘Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet—yeah/Looking through a glass onion.’ The harshness of the imagery is, if anything, even harsher; ‘The eagle picks my eye/The worm he locks my bone.’ And, most grotesque of all, there is a terrifying track just called ‘Revolution 9,’ which comprises sound effects, overheard gossip, backwards-tapes, janglings from the subconscious memories of a floundering civilisation. Cruel, paranoic, burning, agonised, hopeless, it is given shape by an anonymous bingo voice which just goes on repeating ‘Number nine, number nine, number nine’—until you want to scream. McCartney’s drifting melancholy overhangs the entire proceedings like a purple veil of shadowy optimism—glistening, inaccessible, loving.

    At the end, all you do is stand and applaud. Whatever your taste in popular music, you will find it satisfied here. If you think that pop music is Engelbert Humperdinck, then the Beatles have done it better—without sentimentality, but with passion; if you think that pop is just rock ‘n’ roll, then the Beatles have done it better—but infinitely more vengefully; if you think that pop is mind-blowing noise, then the Beatles have done it better—on distant shores of the imagination that others have not even sighted.

    This record took them five months to make and in case you think that’s slow going, just consider that since it’s completion they’ve written another 15 songs. Not even Schubert wrote at that speed.

    – Tony Palmer, The London Observer

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