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The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night CD (album) cover

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.50 | 301 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The album that sparked the phenomenon known as Beatlemania can be rooted with this album, which is half comprised of songs used in the film of the same name. The biggest difference between this album and the previous two albums is the fact that all the songs are original compositions, and for the most part, they are all really good songs. It's amazing how John Lennon and Paul McCartney were able to write 13 songs, record the album, make a movie, and embark on a tour all in a year and have all the songs be of a stellar quality. This album is certainly more progressive than the first two Beatles offerings, but still their sound was nothing more than the three chord pop sound that was so popular in the early 60s. By and by this is my favorite Beatles album of their early albums (from the debut through Beatles for Sale) and in terms of quality it really shows.

This first side of this album was devoted to songs that were used in the film for A Hard Day's Night. This side features the classic Beatles songs A Hard Day's Night (the title thought up by Ringo), And I Love Her, and Can't Buy Me Love, but I can't help but be fascinated by all the songs on this side. A Hard Day's Night begins the album with a modulated G chord and becomes a rollicking rock number with a great Harrison solo in the middle as well as some fun lyrics and vocals. And I Love Her is an acoustic ballad that Paul McCartney wrote for his then girlfriend (who would eventually end up as Gerald Scarfe's wife) and utlizes a great chord progression as well as an interesting percussive beat from Ringo. Harrison gives another short but sweet guitar solo here. Can't Buy Me Love is a sweet ballad of sorts but it has a true upbeat tempo and is a rocker at heart. Once again the guitars are just stellar.

The songs in between the big pieces of the album are just as good. The acoustic pieces If I Fell and I Should Have Known better have some interesting guitar motifs and vocals (and some raunchy harmonica on I Should Have Known Better). I'm Happy Just to Dance With You is the George Harrison vocal track of the album, and it's another simple rocker but it comes off quite effectively. The second side is devoted to non film songs and for the most part they are quite good, although there are a few pieces I don't particularly care for. For the most part you can expect these second side pieces to be of the same quality of the first side, but they just aren't as memorable as the first side (maybe that's because the movie really helps get those songs in your head). The best of these songs are Any Time at All and I'll Be Back. Any Time at All is a rollicking number in the vein of A Hard Day's Night, yet it doesn't have that kick that A Hard Day's Night had. I'll Be Back is a slower tempo piece that has some assuring vocals from Lennon (who was the dominant creative force on this album) and some interesting intrumentation.

In the end, this is my favorite early Beatles album. It's an excellent pop record with few faults, but for progressive rock fans, this isn't really progressive in any true sense of the word. Although the Beatles were progressing rapidly from the simple R&B group they once were with each passing album, they still hadn't truly reached their peak yet. Still, if you're interested in a rock record with little fault, than this comes with an extrememly high recommendation from me. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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