Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back To The Top Of The Slide

Pitchfork's coverage of the new Beatles reissues (including reviews of each album) is well worth reading. Of course, it's completely irrelevant what rating the 'Fork gives these albums on their infamous 10.0 scale (spoiler alert: there are several 10.0s), but it's still a pleasure for me to read substantial new takes on this material by some good writers.

Writing something new about something so familiar is a very different challenge than reviewing a new release, and doing so about the Beatles makes this series of review/essays into a kind of proving ground for music writers. Of those called upon to put their critical weaponry to the test, I'd say Tom Ewing (on the Beatles' early albums) and Douglas Wolk (on Past Masters) come out looking the best. Mark Richardson's overview of the reissues, including a visual WAV file comparison (!!!) of the original CDs to the new reissues, is pretty impressive too.

Reading through all this stuff reminds me of two things:

1. That I'm among the freaks who really enjoy reading music criticism.

2. How deeply embedded and powerful the Beatles' music remains for me. Just the mention of certain aspects of certain songs can trigger a pretty strong emotional reaction, which surprised me a little but shouldn't have.

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