Time to talk about the Beatles’ second U.K. LP, “With the Beatles,” originally released in 1963. This album is interesting to me because there are lots of covers on it. My hypothesis is that the band was still introducing itself to the world, so it wanted to draw in some new fans by playing familiar songs. I like the mix of songs, though I’m guessing that future albums will feature mostly or exclusively Beatles tunes. I like the album overall, but I think the covers are a bit hit-or-miss. Here are my thoughts on each song:
“It Won’t Be Long” — I like this one! There are some interesting melodic choices that keep the song from becoming too predictable. Also, we get some “yeah, yeah, yeah”s in this one — a precursor of things to come!
“All I’ve Got to Do” — Not a big fan…it just kind of plods along.
“All My Loving” — My favorite song on the album. It’s just so endearing and sweet (even if the chorus is basically just a scale up and down)!
“Don’t Bother Me” — I like that it’s in a minor key but up-tempo. The lyrics also make me laugh — very blunt and straightforward! And hey, George Harrison wrote this one!
“Little Child” — I dig the harmonica bits, but overall I don’t really like this one. It makes me feel icky that the singer refers to the object of his affection as “little child.”
“Till There Was You” — From “The Music Man”! I like what they did with it, though…there’s almost a Latin feel to the song. I also like the way Paul McCartney hits the T really hard in the phrase “at all” — not sure why, but it’s cute!
“Please Mister Postman” — I never realized the Beatles covered this! It was originally a Marvelettes song (which is the version I know), and the Carpenters also did a cover in the ’70s. It’s a good song, but I don’t think the Beatles added much to it.
“Roll Over Beethoven” — Not bad, but not as good as the Chuck Berry version.
“Hold Me Tight” — A fairly straightforward rock song with a few cool chord changes.
“You Really Got a Hold on Me” — Smokey Robinson! The Beatles version is definitely not as good as the original, but it’s interesting to hear Lennon and McCartney sing the song.
“I Wanna Be Your Man” — Has a similar feel to “Don’t Bother Me,” mostly because of the fast, driving pulse. It’s a bit repetitive for my taste…not particularly clever lyrics, for sure! But it was nice of them to let Ringo sing.
“Devil in Her Heart” — Bleh. Not a fan, but it’s nice to hear another Latin beat amongst all the rock ‘n’ roll.
“Not a Second Time” — I like Lennon’s vocal gymnastics in this one (lots of note changes mid-syllable). On the CD, it fades out really early, though — sounds like half the song is cut off!
“Money (That’s What I Want)” — I actually heard the Flying Lizards cover of this song first (thanks, “The Wedding Singer” soundtrack!) and didn’t realize it was a Beatles song. I like both versions, but they’re vastly different!
The next album on my list is “A Hard Day’s Night,” which I’ll write about on March 30, so stay tuned!