So here we have the transitional album in my opinion. The Beatles were smoking dope and starting to mature somewhat in their music making. There’s a nice blend of early stuff and some songs that were starting to dictate some growth.
HELP! - I always find myself comparing this song to ‘A Hard Days Night’. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because they are title songs or maybe it’s the message they both portray. With ‘AHDN’ you have the lads trying to relay how hard they work and how tired they are. With ‘HELP!” you have the desperate plea because they cant take it anymore (John more so on a personal level I guess). Anyways, I’m not one for lyrics or song meanings (purely music for me), but the desperation works here. Its convincing. Even the frantic nature of the song adds to the subject matter. Regardless, moving on. Pauls bass is cool and drives the song along. Acoustic guitar is nice as usual. I like the tambourine during the chorus. Georges guitar tone is good. Johns voice is nice and the song ending is great. Nice song.
The Night Before - This isn’t a great song by any means, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it. Guilty pleasure maybe. Again, Pauls bass is good here too. I’m not crazy about the guitar tone. Hi hat (or ride, I cant tell) noise fills a lot of space and is welcomed. Love Pauls voice. The organ annoys me. At 0:56 in the middle break, Ringo breaks out in a beat that is awfully familiar to ‘I Feel Fine’. The same? Not sure, but it works. Love the background vocals. 1:29 love Pauls ‘Oh Oh Oh’s’ while George comes in with a ‘Yes’. Cool. Weak guitar solo. 1:51 ‘Yeah’ in the background is neat too.
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away - Norwegian Wood before Norwegian Wood. That’s how I look at this song. Stripped down and not as personal, but the building block is set. Johns voice is eerily good on this one in my opinion. Acoustic guitar sounds nice. The tambourine on the 2 and 4 has to be there. Song wouldn’t be the same without it. The guitar being played on every word through the chorus is great. Georges acoustic tone is nice. The horns at the end add a ton. Love them. The shaker throughout is cool too.
I Need You - Not a favorite for sure. I hate the volume controlled guitar throughout. Annoying. Background vocals are nice. I don’t like the congas or whatever it is Ringos playing. I do like the cowbell however. I really don’t have a lot to say about this song. Its weak and a definite throwaway in my opinion.
Another Girl - Hate the guitar tone. Ringo kills on the ride cymbal. Love Pauls voice here. Bass chugs along and sounds good. Background vocals are alright, but nothing special. 1:23 mark the voices arent tight together. Shaky. The ending sucks. This song is just ok in my opinion. Filler.
You’re Going To Lose That Girl - Love the tight harmonies. Hate the bongo’s. Their just too much and erratic. I really dig the chorus when George and Paul sing ’Watch What You Do’ and John comes in at the end with a ’Yeah’. Sweet. I don’t know. I’m not very partial to this song either. Its ok and sounds of early Beatles to me. Its decent enough I suppose. Oh yeah, the guitar solo sucks.
Ticket To Ride - This is a good song even if its not one of my favorites. The drum beat is awesome (regardless if Paul told him what to play or not). The guitar tone is great. Rhythm guitar sounds great also. Johns voice sounds really good and the backgrounds are nice too. Like the tambourine in the chorus. The guitar solo that ends the bars is alright, but I’m not a fan for some reason. 2:30 mark, Johns ’Ahhh’ makes the song for me. Love it. On the fence about the falsetto ending. Something different may have been better there, but it works all in all.
Act Naturally - I don’t like Country/Western music so my opinion of this song is biased before I even begin. I do have to say that this song has frustrated me more than any other being a drummer. I’m an open handed player and Ringo’s shuffle here has caused me fits for years. At this point in my life, its as if this song is my arch nemesis. When I try to play the shuffle, I have a left hand full of suck for some reason. I try to double time the hats with both hands. Nope, doesn’t work or sound right. Whatever, its more mental than anything. Moving on, I do like the drumsticks being played on something in the background. Speaking of backgrounds, they don’t even sound like the Beatles. Maybe that’s a god thing. Guitar tone sucks (broken record, yeah I know). Coming back to the guitar, 1:53 mark, what in the hell is that? Horrible. Worst song on the album by far.
Its Only Love - Love Johns raspy voice. Not crazy about the constant guitar strums throughout. Tambourine is nice. 0:41 double tracked voice (or George maybe, I cant tell) isn’t together. Thinking about this though, was that on purpose, because it sounds pretty cool. 1:05 mark the guitar has an obvious mess up (bad note) and he tries it again right after to cover up the mistake, but its just as obvious. It sounds horrible. I don’t know if it was John or George, but it sucked regardless of who played it. I don’t think the organ was needed at all in this song. I think the piano would have been enough and just fine. Ringo plays a hard shuffle here too. I like the sound of Georges voice in the background on this song. Harmonies are good during the chorus. Piano/guitar solo together wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was going to be before I listened to the song. Speaking of the piano, who plays it on this song? John, Paul, George Martin? Whoever it was,,,kudos.
Tell Me What You See - Weak song. I don’t like the vocals here. I don’t like the backgrounds either come to think of it. Here’s a song that has drums, tambourine, wood blocks, and some other noise making instrument being played at the same time. Too much in my opinion. The organ is ok actually to me here. The lead vocals and backgrounds are shaky throughout the entire song. Why? George Martin should have tightened this song up some. Maybe he didn’t feel it was worth the effort. I can understand that. Humming together at the end sucks and sounds dumb. Song is nothing more than filler.
I’ve Just Seen A Face - Again, I’m not a Country/Western music person. So why do I love this song? Makes no sense to me, but I do. It might be the best song on the album to be honest. Guitars are awesome in both tone and playing. Like Pauls double tracked higher background vocals during the chorus. Applause to George for a fantastic guitar solo. Ringo drives the song. Nice playing. 1:29 mark you can hear Pauls double tracked background vocals singing along faintly before they come in with the full effect. Great song.
Yesterday - I’m still sick of this song. I don’t know which one is worse, ’Imagine’ or this one. I’m not saying they are bad songs, I’m just saying that I seem to hear them 20 times a day somehow. Anyways, Pauls voice is awesome here. George Martins strings throughout are masterful. Gorgeous for the song. Acoustic guitar sounds nice. 0:52 mark Pauls sings with a double tracked background and it isn’t necessary. It should have been left out. Then again, it’s the only time in the song that it happens. Did George Martin overlook this? Hmm. 1:37 the drawn out violin kills me. Super killer and makes the song. Wrapping it up with this tune, I can see why its legendary. It’s a great song. I can also see why I’m sick of it though and why I’m going to be even more sick of it when Paul finally kicks the bucket. This thing is played to death.
Dizzy Miss Lizzy - If somebody ever asked me to name an unconvincing rock song, this would be it. I have never liked this song. The Beatles are trying to fool us when playing this song. They try every effort to make it sound interesting and energetic, but they fail on every one of those levels. The ear piercing guitar at the beginning is painful. Makes me cringe when I hear it. Hi hat space filler noise is needed and good. Johns voice trys here, but even he cant pull it off. 0:42 Ringo flat out botches a drum fill. John screams a few times during the song to try to revitalize the energy. It helps, but doesn’t succeed. 1:23 George or John butchers the guitar lead. The screw up is so bad that theres a whole bar of empty space afterwards. Now that’s just horrendous. Amateurs don’t mess up that bad most of the time. 1:45 yet another guitar screw up. Cowbell is cool. 2:04 guess what? Yes, another botch up with the guitar. I like the piano, but not the organ. This song is embarrassing and should have had more care given to it. Its no wonder I don’t like it.
Overall, HELP! Is only a decent album. Yeah, they started smoking weed so maybe they weren’t with it all together, but there’s some shining moments and some not so great moments. Album seems to have a lot of filler in my opinion. More so than I originally thought.