The Beatles ("The White Album") 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (3 CD set)

The Beatles

Capitol, 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) has reached the half-century mark. At the time of its release, the band had begun its downward spiral toward dissolution. Yoko Ono, outside projects, and tensions among members led to a sprawling, non-cohesive, and disparate album of brilliant music. The individual tracks were better than the whole, as songs such as "Back In The USSR," "Ob-La-Di, Ob La-Da," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Rocky Raccoon," and "Birthday" have become essential parts of rock history.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

To mark the album's 50th anniversary, the music has been released in a number of formats, including a four vinyl LP set and a huge six-CD plus Blu-ray, including a hardcover book that provides everything you ever wanted to know about the album and more. However, unless you want absolutely everything by the Beatles, then this three-CD edition, currently being reviewed, is more manageable and price conscious.

The first two CDs cover the material from the original release. Giles Martin, son of original producer George Martin, has reengineered the original tracks with modern day technology. The result is a vibrancy not heard on the 50 year old material.

The individual instruments have an increased clarity and there are more layers and textures to the music. Sometimes it’s the small things, such as the discovery of harmonies toward the end of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Di" and the piano on "Rocky Racoon" becoming more prominent.The third disc is some of the more interesting Beatles material to see the light of day. Titled "The Esher Demos," it is a series of acoustic tracks recorded at George Harrison's home. While all four band members rarely appear on a track together, the music has a laidback and finished feel. It gives the songs from the album a different feel.

The Beatles White Album: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is an interesting and technological upgrade of a classic album that has aged well. The tracks may still not cohere together, but individually they don't get much better.

Rating: A

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