Tuesday, February 17, 2009

'Something New'

This record, Capitol's third Beatles' album, is often maligned and regarded as weak. It was the first indication that Capitol was getting greedy and willing to 'Capitolize' on the fans. Five of the eleven tracks had come out less than a month earlier on the A Hard Day's Night United Artists soundtrack.

I remember when it came out and we were all like 'Hey, I've already got half of these songs!. It's basically A Hard Day's Night without the hits!'

But let's forget the fact that in the Summer of 1964, we American fans felt taken. In retrospect, it's a rockin' little album with a lot going for it. I especially like Side One. 'Things We Said Today' is one of their best tunes ever and shows a sophistication that seems more like something from 1966, not 1964. Ironic, since the singer is projecting himself into the future. And you know the Beatles liked it cuz it was a favorite in their live shows and they always seemed to have fun doing the rockin bit, 'Me, I'm just the lucky kind, etc.'

'Any Time At All' is one of Lennon's greatest vocals and effortlessly transitions from hard rock to sweet lovey-dovey.

And what about 'Slow Down'? A super little rocker, and my favorite of the three Larry Williams songs Lennon would cover as a Beatle (the others being 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy' and 'Bad Boy').

'Matchbox', a Carl Perkins rockabilly number sung by Ringo closes Side One. For years I never understood the lyrics. What's a 'matchbox hole'!? Then I saw the lyrics somewhere and realized he's actually saying 'a matchbox holding my clothes'. After all that time the song suddenly made sense.

Side Two is mostly A Hard Day's Night songs, and closes with the strange 'Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand', which is, as the back cover states, ('I Want To Hold Your Hand'...sung in German). I love it for the sheer weirdness. And it's interesting historically because it was recorded in Paris, along with a German version of 'She Loves You'. It's the only time they recorded outside of London (except for some early stuff in Liverpool and Hamburg before they were famous). The Beatles apparently hated the idea of doing them, but complied nevertheless.

And even though Side Two is a A Hard Day's Night rerun, it did allow American fans to listen to the non-hit songs from the film without the interruption of the George Martin soundtrack instrumentals that are scattered throughout the United Artists album (I love those instrumentals, but they were a buzz-kill if you put it on for a party).

So let's give Something New it's due: It's a fun album and also boasts a cool cover picture of the boys from their debut on the 'Ed Sullivan Show'. Seeing that pic in color (Ed was in B&W and few people had color sets in 1964 anyway) was mind blowing.


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