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The Beatles - Help! CD (album) cover


The Beatles



3.45 | 593 ratings

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3 stars "Help!" is a transition album with highs and lows, which has some innovations that will develop better in the major albums. Compared to three previous Lp, "Help!" has a good number (five) of quality peaks (like "A Hard..."), but it is less homogeneous, having also several weak songs, and in general the Beatles musical style is halfway between the art-rock of the following years and the melodic vocal rock, the exuberant "Mersey beat" that dominated their music until 1964.

In "Help!" McCartney begins to have an importance close to that of Lennon (they write respectively 5 songs, but Lennon sings even in a classic rock and roll and in the film Lennon has 4 songs against 2 of Macca), and Harrison appears with two songs, one on each side, frequency that he will keep, more or less unchanged, for the rest of the Beatles discography.

The first side contains the songs of the film "Help!", which are (if we exclude "I Need you") clearly better for arrangement of those of the second side (while similar is the qualitative level), which also include two covers. The song "Help!" (vote 8) inaugurates the album making us immediately understand that the mood of the disc is much more cheerful than the previous one, and returns to be the exuberant of the debut. The lyrics of the song stride with the mood of the music, in fact, originally, "Help" was a slow song, but Lennon, in order to make a single, accelerated it. Anyway, it's a great melodic rock song in perfect Beatles style, plus a reflective text.

"The Night Before" (vote 7,5) is a beautiful song by Paul in the style of Mersey Beat, with long strophes and bridges, with the choruses in response, without a real catchy refrain. Nothing innovative but it remains a pleasant song, full of enthusiasm, which continues the rhythm and the mood of the previous (also in this case the exuberant music does not go hand in hand with the text). "You've Got To Hide your Love Away" (vote 7,5/8) is a folk song that shows Dylan's influence on Lennon, here even more evident than in some ballads of "Beatles for Sale". The song has a beautiful melody and a great sung, and it does not reach excellence only because it is too short (Dylan would have put at least 5 stanzas and would have expanded the refrain); in the final, for the first and only time in their career, a flute solo appears. "I Need You" (vote 5,5) is a song that suffers from an inappropriate arrangement. The melody does not take off, the song of Harrison is stunted and all combined with the skinny arrangement makes the track at times (in verse) unpleasant and embarrassing: it seems almost miss the music, the melody. The sound is strange: the guitar with the pedal looks like a distorted keyboard, and there is nothing left to the song, like sound, that the voice and the percussions are very much in the background. The piece recovers a bit 'in the bridge, as for rhythm, but the arrangement does not improve. It is definitely one of the least successful songs in the entire discography. "Another Girl" (vote 6,5/7) is a minor, carefree and very light song by McCartney, which brings up the rhythm of the first side but does not add anything to the beat music of the album; it highlights the Macca solo guitar, which added it by removing that of Harrison. Lennon closes the A side with two songs that raise the quality of the album. "You're Gonna Lose that Girl" (vote 7,5) is a beautiful song enthusiast with the choirs in response to the singing, a great bridge and a beautiful guitar solo. Perfect Mersey beat style but with a medium rhythm, supported by the percussions added to the drums. "Ticket to Ride" (vote 8,5), the last song of the first side, is a masterpiece rock ballad. Dry sound, great Ringo work, delicious harmonic rounds, beautiful chord sequence, excellent vocal interpretation.

The second side, quickly cohered to complete the album, presents mostly minor songs with arrangement holes but also two large pieces by McCartney. It starts with the cover country of Ringo (Act Naturally, vote 6,5/7), which all in all is pleasant in its freshness; good guitar work by Harrison, to support the rhythm. It continues with a slow song by Lennon (It's Only Love, vote 7), good melody and singing, but it is a decidedly minor piece, arranged in a discreet manner. "You Like Me Too Much" (vote 7+) is a sliding piano song by Harrison, with poor arrangement (vocals, drums, piano) and a good rhythm, but you miss the guitars, audible in the instrumental interlude, which in fact is with the bridge the best part. At this point follow, something completely unpublished so far in the discography of the Beatles, but destined to be repeated by Sgt Pepper on: three consecutive songs signed by McCartney. The first, "Tell Me What You See" (vote 6) is after "I Need You" the weakest song on the album. Blurred melody, choruses in response, poor arrangement, remember only for the instrumental piece of piano and drums that closes the verses. Just sufficient. "I've just Seen a Face" (vote 8) is an anomalous acoustic song in the Beatles production, with an intro of three guitars, a frenzied rhythm, a bluegrass style arrangement. McCartney is starting his revival work to actualize every musical style according to the Beatles pop, and here he does it with great inspiration and attitude.

"Yesterday" (vote 8,5/9) is the masterpiece of the album. For the first time the Beatles record an acoustic melodic song with accompaniment of string quartet (thanks to George Martin): sings and plays only McCartney. For the time, Yesterday is an exception, because the Beatles were a rock band, as organic, and arranged the songs as a rock band. Yesterday creates a precedent that will have great impact for the future of the group, in fact Macca since Revolver will write often retrņ songs with symphonic arrangement that does not need drums, bass and guitar, thus creating musical sessions where he performs alone or with external musicians. This, along with the fact that the Beatles since 1966 will no longer play live, will help to create division in the group. Harrison and Lennon, on the contrary, with a few exceptions, will continue to compose music for a typical rock complex, drums, bass, two guitars, as were the Beatles in the beginning. Only in 1969, with "Let It Be" and "Abbey Road" McCartney will return to composing music, however melodic, suitable to play for a rock band.

"Dizzy Missy Lizzy" (vote 7) is a rock and roll divertissement, very exuberant for singing and guitar, but also quite repetitive. Concludes the album with energy, in crescendo. "Help" on the whole is not a homogeneous album, having many songs that repeat the worn-out Mersy beat of the beginnings, all minor or discreet, except for "Help" and the masterpiece "Ticket To Ride"; other songs are very good and add new styles or arrangements to the Beatles pieces ("You've Got ...", I've Seen ....", Yesterday), while the two covers are insignificant, placed only to add material to the album. The artistic value of the LP is affected by this lack of homogeneity, and for what counts two Beatles absolute masterpieces like "Ticket To Ride" and "Yesterday", the overall level of the album is comparable to the rock and roll of the LP of debut (average quality slightly higher) . Compared to "A Hard Day's Night", instead, I consider the album for its heterogeneity and abundance of weakest pieces, inferior in a visible way (although it has more originality of musical styles and arrangements).

Medium quality of the songs: 7,30. Vote album: 7+. Rating: Three stars.

jamesbaldwin | 3/5 |


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