In a recent comment, VTBudFan asked my opinion of the latest addition to the Beatles' catalog, the CD titled Love.
For the uninitiated, let me give you this brief overview: Love is the handiwork of longtime Beatles' producer George Martin and his son Giles. On the album, which was developed as a soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, the Martins mine the archives of outtakes and alternate takes from the original Beatles recording sessions to remix and enhance some classic songs. More significantly, they also take well-known and lesser-known Beatles album tracks and create mash-ups by melding them together.
I have to admit, when I first heard about the project I was skeptical. I'm not sure why, because I tend to like mash-ups in general (my current favorite blends Oasis and Green Day in a track called Wonderwall of Broken Dreams.) And, I've long believed that my friend Ric invented the mash-up when he created the game "Maggie Mae," which is based on the theory that Rod Stewart's Maggie Mae can be sung as a counter-melody to any other Rod Stewart song. The game took off when we expanded the rules so that players could sing any song by an artist as a counter-melody while any other song by the same artist was playing. Yes, folks, this is how I spent my college years. But I digress.
Back to Love. As I was saying, I was skeptical. I thought it would be too unsettling, too modern, too not-the-original, too not-the-Beatles.
I was wrong. It's amazing. These mash-ups are masterful. They add texture and dimension where I never realized that texture and dimension were missing. Love takes songs like Drive My Car and What You're Doing, which I never really liked as stand-alones, and brings them together to create an entirely new song that's superior to either of the originals. It even tosses in a little of The Word for a little extra something-something surprise at the end.
The album continues to work the same magic again and again and again. Some of the mash-ups are predictable - Strawberry Fields Forever with Penny Lane; Tomorrow Never Knows with Within You, Without You... no stretches there. But Lady Madonna with Hey Bulldog? Helter Skelter with I Want You (She's So Heavy) and Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite? Get Back with elements from Help and The End? Just brilliant.
It even stays true to the Beatles' unofficial and unspoken credo, which is that the weakest track on the album must be the one sung by Ringo. In the case of Love, it's Octopus's Garden with a dash of Good Night and a few other things I can't place (Yellow Submarine, maybe? Anyone?).
Despite the occasional weaker moment (and who among us is free from those?), Love is just fantastic. It's not just a great tribute; it's also a great album, all on its own.
This closing begs to be written. I know it's trite and obvious and not at all clever. I know it's going to make you groan, but I just can't resist. I have to say it:
All you need is Love.