Friday, October 12, 2012

#83: The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Lennon was the song writing force on this album having been the primary writer for ten of thirteen tracks. I'll be covering the UK release of the album since the US had four of the tracks cut for instrumental versions. The UK version also has a different album cover than the iconic US version (pictured). This was the first Beatles album (and one of the first albums in general) to have all of the songs written by the performers on the album. These aren't covers, these aren't songs written for them, these are their songs. It's such a simple idea today, but it was revolutionary at the time.

And I Love Her
While this album may include love songs that are paper thin, it also includes some that are a little deeper. The title only appears once in the second verse and is more of an afterthought. It has a very different sound from the rest of the record due to the instrumentation. The percussion lacks a standard drum set and instead supplies bongos and claves; the guitars are acoustic and not electric. The song also relies a little more on the vocals and the story than the rest of the album.

Can't Buy Me Love
Whenever I think of early Beatles, I think of this song - it's a classic. It has all of the staples of a good pop song in it's era: memorable lyrics, a simple groove, some quick hits to interrupt the song, has a guitar solo, and it's incredibly catchy. It's early the Beatles at their finest. Best track on the album. If you've never heard this song then you're lying to yourself. It's everywhere - even today.

You Can't Do That
Never before has the threat of domestic abuse sounded good. "I'm gonna let you down and leave you flat. Because I told you before - you can't do that." What I'm particularly impressed on this track with is the guitar part. Harrison really delivers a really solid rock vibe to great vocals on top of the rhythm section. If you're waiting for the next best song about domestic abuse, stick tight - the Beatles have another doosey coming up in a future album.

All in all, it's a solid album. Lennon and McCartney's first full album of songs pushed some boundaries and while those lines are blurred due to historical perspective, the music does hold up. Granted, the recording quality isn't up to today's qualities, but this is really the roots of rock music. The vocals that Lennon and McCartney supply on this album are nothing short of superb.

Tomorrow's album: Rob Thomas' Something to Be.

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