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Beatles under a microscope - Beatles For Sale

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Beatles For Sale

Besides ‘Let It Be‘, I’ve always considered this the Beatles worst album. I’m not saying its horrible, its just that it has more low points than the other albums. It feels like the hurry up job that it was after ‘A Hard Days Night’, but I havent spun it in a long time. Lets see if my opinion has softened somewhat.

1. No Reply - Not one of my favorites, but its good enough and it sets the stage pretty well for this album. I like the acoustic guitar sound. 0:15 theres counting in the background to 4 but its faint. Never heard that before. Like Johns voice here. The piano playing on the Ringos cymbal crashes during the chorus is cool. The handclaps at the 1:03 mark are bad and the piano could have easily sufficed by itself. Pauls backgrounds are just ok.

2. I’m A Loser - Probably one of my top 10 Beatle songs ever. I’ve always loved it. The harmonies are great. George’s guitar is shaky though. Love the walking bass lines. Actually the bass is cool everywhere. Johns voice is nice as usual. I dig Ringo riding the crash throughout the chorus with the tambourine. Harmonica is even decent sounding to me. 1:30 love Johns rhythm gitar sound being played under George’s solo. At 2:13 Ringo throws in a fill out of nowhere. Like he was bored or something. Great song.

3. Baby In Black - Never liked this one very much either. I hate George’s guitar tone here. Even John and Pauls voices together sound like crap on this song and that’s hard to do. The guitar solo is just awful. Like Ringos monotony killer with the constant tom or bass drum at the 1:36 mark. 1:42, the voice get lost and arent together. Throwaway tune for sure.

4. Rock & Roll Music - This song is neutral for me. An average tune. Johns voice is cool. The piano really drives the song. Ringos hi hats fill a lot of space. Guitar is there, but nothing special. It doesn’t stand out. 1:05 Pauls bass not brings them back in. Love that. At the 1:46 mark, the piano just stops. He quits playing for some reason. Did he get lost? I don’t know. It doesn’t come back in until the 1:50 mark. That’s an eternity in a short pop tune. George Martin needs slapped for allowing that to stay. 1:57 I love Ringo’s playing on the ride.

5. I’ll Follow The Sun - I like, but don’t love this song. I’d say I enjoy it when I hear it, but I don’t go looking for it. Anyways, I like the acoustic guitar again. Love how John starts the vocals only to be finished by Paul. Bongos are nice here. Guitar solo was adequate I suppose. Nothing more was needed.

6. Mr. Moonlight - One of the Beatles worst songs ever. Its truly bad and nothing anybody says to me will ever change my mind. Johns voice at the beginning is the only saving grace for the entire song. I hate,,,I mean hate the conga beat at the breaks. The funeral organ sucks. Even the harmonies suck on this song somehow. Bongos throughout are ok. The organ solo makes me feel like it’s the 7th inning stretch at a baseball game. Awful. They had to have better songs on the shelf then this crap.

7. Kansas City - After listening to this song, maybe they didn’t have better songs on the shelf. No seriously, this song is done much better than ‘Mr. Moonlight’, but I don’t like this one either. I don’t like any version of this song come to think of it. Regardless, the guitar tone sucks. Pauls voice is good. Piano is nice. Dig Ringos shuffle. What 12 year old played that guitar solo? Horrible. I hate the background vocals when they sing the ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey’s. Doesn’t even sound like the Beatles. The ‘Bye Bye Bye Bye’s’ I do like because Johns voice is more pronounced. Oh well. I don’t like the song. Don’t shoot me.

8. Eight Days A Week - This album is damn lucky to have this song. It may have saved it from obscurity. What a nice, early Beatle tune. Has that same magic feel as ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’. Love the guitar buildup at the beginning and the strums throughout. Handclaps are welcomed here. Bass is nice. Hi hat noise is great. Harmonies are top notch. 1:08 Ringo’s fill right after the lyrics and during the chorus is great. 1:29 John’s ‘Ohh Ha Hold Me’ is legendary. 2:18 Ringos’ fill before the hats come back in is awesome. 2:32 Ringos toms with the repeating guiatr ending is fantastic. Great song and its not even one of my favorites, but on this album, every little bit helps.

9. Words Of love - I don’t like this song either, but its done pretty well. The constant handclaps annoy the p*ss out of me. Georges guitar tone is awful. The harmonies are great though. Not a whole lot more to say about this throwaway cover.

10. Honey Don’t - I will take this one over ‘Act Naturally’ anyday, but that isn’t saying much. Love the bass on this one. Guitar tone is nice and works for this tune. Tambourine filled space nicely. George’s simplistic guitar solo works here too. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for a screw up, but he never did. Like how Ringo introduces George before the solo’s. Nice touch. 2:30 Ringos ‘Wooo’ is cool.

11. Every Little Thing - Another favorite of mine. Love Johns voice. The piano is killer. Like how Ringo comes in with the snare at the beginning. Speaking of Ringo, I love how he ends the chorus bars with the huge tom. Simon and Garfunkels song ‘The Boxer’ has the same effect with Hal Blaine on drums. Pauls voice during the chorus is great. George even has a nice little solo here. I believe this is another song that was intended as filler, but ended up being better than that.

12. I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party - This song isn’t great, but I enjoy it well enough because I don’t take it seriously. I want to hear this song (along with ‘All Together Now’ and ‘Obladi Oblada’) when I’m p*ss drunk. Not so much any other time though. The guitar tone stinks. John and Georges voices don’t sound good together here. The ‘ohh’ in the background from Paul and George sound awesome though. I like the tambourine in the chorus parts and I like Ringo playing on the toms in the same aspect. I like Georges solo too.

13. What Your Doing - This song sucks, but I like it for some unknown reason. I hate the tone of the drums here. Very muddy. I do like Pauls voice and John and Georges backgrounds. I really like how Paul goes higher with his voice on the chorus part (Waiting here for you OO). 1:05 John or George yells Oww or Ouch or something in the background. The piano accompanies George on one of his worst solo’s ever. Horrendous. 2:00 through the 2:04 mark sounds like John and George are grunting during the background vocals. I dig the 2:16 mark when the guitar comes in. Sounds like ’I Feel Fine’.

14. Everybodys Trying To Be My Baby - Alright filler tune. I like Georges voice. There is an echo though. Like the tambourine. 0:48 Love Georges guitar here, but I hate his tone throughout. I do like John rhythm guitar tone though. Love the ending.

Well there you have it. Like I said, I havent played this one for a long time and I was wondering if it would sound better to me. Nope. This album is a mess. Most of it is filler songs in my opinion. ’A Hard Days Night’ was a masterpiece and this thing was a piece of sh*t. While I say that, I stop and wonder how many bands would have loved to have an album this bad. Think about that. 

7 of 13:

--- Quote from: tkitna on April 06, 2011, 07:38:14 PM ---4. Rock & Roll Music
--- End quote ---
John Lennon and his beatles bring it on home with this classic chuck berry rocker, his delivery is flawless, the guitars superb.

This is probably the Beatles album I have listened to least apart from Yellow Sub.
It definitely does sound rushed. But that shouldn't be an excuse for mediocrity - most of PPM was recorded in one day and it still sounded better than this!!!
I think the main reason for this is the covers. Some of the covers that have been dredged up here had been played by the pre-fame Beatles years back, in the Cavern, in Hamburg, etc, etc. And by late 1964 they now sound very tired and very dated. While the all-original AHDN was totally modern - pushing the boundaries of pop music - the covers on BFS take the band back 2 or 3 years, maybe more, and they just don't sit well with the originals.

Here's one example - Honey Don't.
This was a song that was released by Carl Perkins in 1956. It was the B-side of the pre-Elvis Blue Suede Shoes. The Quarrymen were still a glint in John Lennon's eye when the original was recorded. Yet here are the best band in the world dragging it from the grave and sticking it on their brand spanking new LP.
They must have been playing this one for years. And you can tell. There can be few songs recorded by anyone which sound like the band is SOOOOOOOO bored as the Beatles do here on Honey Don't. Ringo tries hard to gee the others up, but I'm afraid it ain't working Ritchie. "Rock on George, one time for me" - it's like he's trying to wake him up as he dozes through the chorus.
I will never ever understand why they left off Leave My Kitten Alone and included sub-mediocre tunes like Honey Don't. Ringo didn't get a song on the AHDN LP so I'm sure they could have got away with dropping his song from BFS as well. Leave My Kitten is another cover, but it's at least a lively cover.

Some of the originals are actually OK. Eight Days is great and full of energy, and No Reply and Every Little Thing would have sat nicely on either AHDN or Help. But others drag the album down with their air of negativity - "I don't want to spoil the party so I'll go", "Tomorrow may rain", "I'm a loser", "I'm feeling blue and lonely", etc etc.

They should have dropped their daft idea of not including singles on LPs (which obviously didn't apply to PPM, AHDN, Help etc anyway) and included I Feel Fine and She's A Woman. Hows about this for an album?

1   I Feel Fine
2   No Reply   
3   I'm a Loser   
4   Baby's in Black   
5   Leave My Kitten Alone
6   I'll Follow the Sun   
7   Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey!

1   Eight Days a Week   
2   Every Little Thing   
3   I Don't Want to Spoil the Party   
4   What You're Doing   
5   Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby
6   She's A Woman
7   Rock and Roll Music

If that was Beatles For Sale then I'm buying!!

glass onion:
i have always classed 'for sale' better than 'with the beatles' although i don't know why.'no reply' is ok,'i'm a loser' is lovely.'eight days a week' is great,i have a big soft spot for 'i'll follow the sun'.'mr.moonlight is absolutely laughable and i think the lads knew it,too.'honey don't' is ok,ringo's bit is always o.k by me.i also really,really like 'i don't want to spoil the party' but not quite sure why,it always seems a little different for a beatle tune and i like that.'words of love' is quite faithfull to the original,it's ok.the rest of the album is alright,i haven't much time for georges' tune but that's not down to george.pauls' rock n roll number is alright but not all in all.......not bad.i think tkitnas' point about other bands would love to have an album like this is very true.'for sale' is ok,i don't think it deserves the knocking it gets a lot of the was burnout time for the lads-touring,studio,writing,this appearance,that appearance etc.some good stuff still knocking around,though.i listen to it and i don't puke.'for sale' is ok,time we realised that.

I forgot to say in my previous anti-BFS tirade (  ;D ) that I LOVE the album cover.
Not just the front picture - which is, of course, marvellous - but the back as well and the whole gatefold thing, and the pics inside the gatefold. Just a wonderful package.
Shame they didn't spare that much thought to the music!!


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