For a decades-old band that’s not been on an interminable tour or recently released a new single, The Beatles have had one of the music industry’s biggest resurgences. In the gaming world, this re-invigoration is of course highlighted by the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, the latest entry in MTV Games’ young-but-already-classic music franchise. Yet the new-game release is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and in fact it may serve to introduce an entirely new generation to the music of what’s arguably one of the best bands of all time. And when that interest comes a-calling, there’s a whole new library of CDs ready to quench the thirst for all things Beatles.
The Beatles Stereo Box Set, a remastered collection of every Beatles CD, launched strategically on 9/9/09, the same day as The Beatles: Rock Band, and proceeded to set all manner of sales records. No, Apple didn’t finally surprise the world by announcing The Beatles catalog on iTunes, but short of that huge announcement (will it ever come?), this new remastered CD library is the next best thing.
Every album from The Beatles anthology, from their “modest” beginning to the hallowed Abbey Road release, was painstakingly remastered bar by bar and track by track, resulting in a multi-disc set that simply can’t be missed. The work it took to produce these remastered tracks is nothing short of astounding, both when you consider the age of the original recordings and the requirement to separate individual audio tracks in a master recording that didn’t even do such a thing at the time the songs were recorded.
Because some of these tracks are older — and perhaps simply due to the nature of the songs themselves — not every tune is exactly ripe for primetime. In fact, several of the songs have arguably muted vocals and don’t audibly sound much different from the “native” files. To be sure, these remastered tracks on the whole have more clarity than the corresponding songs on The Beatles: Rock Band, which didn’t use the remastered versions, but some tracks seem to have received the short end of the remastering stick.
The mainstream classics — the songs like “Something” and “Come Together” — definitely sound phenomenal, but whether that’s a function of the time devoted to remastering them or simply the more-recent nature of the original recordings isn’t clear. What is clear, though, is the clarity of every track and the ability of these remastered CDs to transport you back to a time when musicians were more than pretty faces with talented producers pulling the strings. Modern musicians — if you care to call them that — could learn a lot by listening to the passion, artistry and quality of the tracks in The Beatles Stereo Box Set.
Now, at a price that’s nearly $200, this box set isn’t something you’ll necessarily rush right out to buy, especially if you already own the older CDs or LPs. But for anyone new to The Beatles, or for those who want to have songs from The Beatles on their iPods by any means possible (e.g. pulling them from a CD), this is definitely one box set you don’t want to miss.
Buy The Beatles Stereo Box Set from Amazon.