The Beatles (The White Album) Remastered Review

Back to Article
Back to Article

The Beatles (The White Album) Remastered Review

Story by Davis Elordi, Features Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The epic remastering of The Beatles’ self-titled album arrived just in time for its fiftieth anniversary. The album provides plenty of excitement for the loyal fans of John, Paul, George, and Ringo with a fascinating examination of the world’s most famous band. The album, typically referred to as The White Album for its cover art, has been given a comprehensive and thrilling re-release, featuring over 100 tracks.

At first glance, the new 2018 mixes of the original songs may not sound too different, but producer Giles Martin has fundamentally altered the instrumentations to provide a revitalization of fifty year old songs. “Back in the U.S.S.R,” the leadoff track for the album, has been given new life. Paul McCartney’s vocals are distinctly put front and center, the drums are made more powerful, and the electric guitar recordings are made louder to give the song a modernized feel.

For Beatles fanatics, the most enthralling aspect of the album is the inclusion of the Esher demos. Recorded at George Harrison’s home in Esher, U.K., the demos include easy-listening, peaceful versions of the intense, rollicking tracks from the actual album. Due to tensions that broke out between the group during the recording sessions that would lead to their breakup, the original tracks have underlying tension and pent-up violence. Ringo Starr even quit for a few weeks, forcing McCartney to take over duties as drummer on “Back in the U.S.S.R.” The White Album depicts the emotional war between the band members. The Esher demos, on the other hand, provide calmer versions from when the four were still just friends, making music together.

Like the 2017 remaster of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album contains intriguing outtakes from the band’s recording process in the studio. Fifty of the tracks on this remaster are alternate takes or instrumental versions of the better known Beatles’ classics. An astounding track in particular was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Acoustic Version/Take 2).” The original track boasts the blasting electric guitar of guest musician, Eric Clapton, while the acoustic version offers an infinitely more intimate song with only Harrison on his guitar and McCartney playing an organ.

The White Album has long been the odd child of the Beatles’ career. It is nowhere close to the sweet pop sounds of their earliest years, nor does it match the clear focus of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or the symphony of Abbey Road. It is an eclectic, strange mixing of the world’s most popular band’s different talents and abilities. “Helter Skelter” by McCartney invented heavy metal by creating the loudest record up to that point with fierce drums and violent electric guitars. “Julia” is John Lennon’s heartbreaking tribute to his mother. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is Harrison’s deepest and most powerful song. “Don’t Pass Me By” is an impressive songwriting debut and vocal performance for Starr.

The re-release of one of the final albums of the world’s most iconic band is a cause for celebration. The Beatles is the conclusive summary of the band at its most fragmented and talented. The White Album is truly a masterpiece with a different song for any mood, and this fantastic remastering for its fiftieth anniversary is a testament to the timeless power of their music.

[email protected]