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The Beatles - Help! CD (album) cover


The Beatles



3.44 | 524 ratings

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3 stars Help! is the best early Beatles album, marking the finale of their first period, before things get decidedly more experimental. This period is characterised by fun rock and roll covers, short Paul ballads, ballsy Lennon rockers, and the occasional tune from Harrison. This album is no exception. There are less throwaways here, although still a few.

The title track is a brilliant song, of course, everybody is familiar with it. 'The Night Before' is pretty good too, and one of Paul's better "upbeat" songs. The cover 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' is a bit country for me, I don't care much for it. George's 'I Need You' is pretty much his only good song before the Revolver album, where he really matures, but this one has a lovely tune to it and stands the test of time. Interesting volume-swelled guitar too. 'Another Girl' is just okay, while 'You're Gonna Lose That Girl' seems annoying at first, but is catchy enough to grow on you. There are some very unconventional key changes in this song. Side one closes with the deserved number one 'Ticket to Ride', with it's offbeat drumming, contrasting verse and chorus, and great riffs. Along with 'Day Tripper', this song is my favourite Beatles single from 1965.

So those were the songs featured in the film 'Help!'. I'm puzzled as to why the Ringo-sung 'Act Naturally' wasn't in the film, given that it is a song about a foolish actor (and he was the main star in 'Help!'). Anyway, it's quite a good song. 'It's Only Love' is an unmemorable ditty from John, and then we have George's other offering on the album, 'You Like Me Too Much', which has a melody that doesn't always work, but is otherwise okay. 'Tell Me What You See' is a very simple song, but I love it. Great melody, and a cool electric piano turn at the end of each middle eight. Then there are two Paul acoustics in a row; 'I've Just Seen A Face', a surprisingly good country-skiffle number, and of course, the legendary ballad 'Yesterday', which is the most covered song of all time, probably because of it's masterful handling of melody and chords. The closer is yet another rock and roll cover, Little Richard's 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy' (I wonder if she's related to Long Tall Sally?). Hardly an essential Beatles song, but good fun.

So that is Help! A more consistent effort than the preceding Beatles For Sale, with less filler than A Hard Day's Night, and it doesn't rely on covers as much as the first two albums. I'm toying somewhere between three and four stars, but three is probably better in proportion with what is to come in the rest of The Beatles discography.....

thehallway | 3/5 |


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