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The Beatles - Please Please Me CD (album) cover

PLEASE PLEASE ME

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.05 | 437 ratings

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jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first album of the Beatles, still in the style of rock and roll of the '50s, consists of 8 original songs and 6 covers, not always famous (sometimes B sides of single rock), well integrated with each other.

It starts with "I Saw Her Standing There" (vote 8+), a great rock and roll song, which has entered into history: a free-range Paul McCartney opens, singing "two-three-four" with a typical Liverpool accent - Paul who will later forget to to have been a rock singer (years 1966-67, but will try to reappropriate his rocketary voice in 1968-69). The piece has a good rhythm, an excellent text with a beautiful allusive incipit (well she was just 17, you know what I mean ...) and a great Chuck Berry style chorus. Only a good guitar solo is missing. It's the best song on the album. "Misery" (vote 7) is mainly from Lennon, a 1950s style rock and roll, and takes advantage of George Martin's piano touches. The song has a text that does not accompany the carefree music, however, it is pleasant, although too short. "Anna" (vote 7+) is the first cover of the album and shows Lennon's vocal qualities: voice explained, total involvement in the vocals. It's a choral ballad with a good dry drum sound, where the voice makes the difference.

"Chains" (vote 6,5/7) is the typical pop-rock song with country influences due to the Lennon harmonica that characterizes the beginnings of the Beatles: it could be a song of theirs, but it's a cover. It is a pleasant ballad sung by George in the solo part, which is flanked by the choirs. "Boys" (vote 7,5), song of the Shirelles, is a divertissement left to sing at Ringo: piece very exciting and rhythmic. Ringo calls George before his solo, in fact the only true album solo. It is one of the best song on the album. "Ask Me Why" (vote 7) is a slow song, but smooth, well sung by Lennon, B side of the single Please Please Me, delicate and romantic, in soul style. The first side closes with the arrogant "Please Please Me" (vote 7,5/8) that, with its pressing rhythm, offers an excellent example of the exuberance of the Beatles first period: fast rhythm, beautiful melody, arrangement with rock guitars and choirs in a complex vocal style (the voice main is John), harmonica to give country nuances. This is the Mersey Beat of the Beatles first version. It feels like it's not just 50s rock and roll.

The second side opens with "Love Me Do" (vote 7,5), album version: compared to the single (where Ringo plays) the rhythm section is more solid (here a session man plays the drums). The song has a text where the same verse is repeated 4 times, so that it is difficult to consider it verse, it would be more a refrain, but as a structure acts as a verse, which alternates only a bridge. Fortunately, the country harmonica conducts well the song, which despite the repetition is very pleasant. "Ps I Love You", side B of the single Love Me Do, is one of the weakest pieces of the album, as follows the tradition of the '50s vocal lenses; the percussive arrangement is hardly sketched and the voice and the choruses are discharged, do not raise the melody that, even nice, especially in the bridge, remains below and mono-tone. In both songs, the main voice is Paul.

"Baby It's You" (vote 6,5/7) is a cover, a fairly slow-song and monotonous ballad where the only variations are the tones of Lennon's voice. The sequence of the last two songs is the weakest on the album. "Do You Want ..." (vote 7,5) is a beautiful guitar ballad written by John and left to sing to George. Very light, with fifties choirs and a somewhat Spanish guitar, it is one of the LP's coolest songs. "A Taste of Honey" (vote 7+) is a new cover with a Spanish guitar, sung by Macca, with much taste. "There's a Place" (vote 6,5/7) back to be a Beatles' song, with harmonica and vocal harmonies, in Motown style, well sung by John, it solves the rhythm of the album, with continuous variations. Unfortunately it is very short. "Twist and Shout" (vote 8+), a striking final ending the album in "crescendo", with the progression of percussions and voices; sung by an almost voiceless and very cooled Lennon, it remains one of the Beatles' masterpieces, in its simplicity and spontaneity due to the scraped voice of Lennon.

On the whole, it being understood that Lennon and McCartney have collaborated almost on a par for "I Saw Her ...", "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do", Lennon is the dominant author of 5 songs, where he has the main voice (except in one where George sings); Lennon also sings in three covers (total 7 songs); Macca is the author and principal singer of 3 songs, and sings in a cover (total 4); George sings in two songs, one by Lennon and one is a cover; Ringo sings in a cover.

The whole album was played almost live, practically live in the studio, and was recorded in a single day with drums, two guitars, harmonica and bass - rarely some other instrument overlaps, then there are choirs and vocal harmonies. Please Please Me is a nice cool album, in rock and roll style but also full of soulful ballads typical of black music, with slow songs alternating with rhythmic ones, with a country touch due to Lennon's harmonica, where the covers are inserted in the original songs, and vice versa, without sometimes distinguishing themselves, except in Please Please Me, which anticipates the times to come.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,286. Vote: 7+. Three stars.

jamesbaldwin | 3/5 |

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