Deceptively titled, ‘LOVE’ is no two-a-penny “collection”, “Greatest Hits” “Best of” or “Rest of”. Nor is it a compilation of the band’s love songs shelled out by corpse-flogging record companies around Valentine’s Day, to act as the last resort to painfully clueless unromantic boyfriends, desperately searching for something to dilute their girlfriend’s disappointment of the obviously-from-a-garage flowers. No. While it is in a sense a career retrospective, it’s unlike any other made before. Tracks are often blended into one another, snippets cut-and-pasted together with fleeting glimpses of otherwise un-included tracks drifting in and out of focus, all seamlessly sewn into the mix and the effect is nothing short of stunning. Whenever tracks are left original and whole, it is done so in all the right places (‘A Day In The Life’ would have been spoiled by extra meddling; here it is mercifully unchanged as are a handful of others). Father and son team George and Giles Martin have produced one of the best single discs in the band’s entire back catalogue; sure the music is amazing but the production is an absolute trip in itself. It’s amazing how many scraps they can cram into a tight space. The first twenty seconds of ‘Get Back’ forces elements from five other songs together and it makes it sound like it should have been like that the whole time, nor does it at any point sound like it’s trying to be clever. It flows together perfectly, the newly remastered sound is flawless and, oh yes, the songs are perfect.
I have a few friends (hereafter former friends) who consider The Beatles over-rated. They’re not my favourite band, but saying they’re over-rated is like saying oxygen is over-rated. ‘LOVE’ will offer new perspectives, thrill fans faithful and casual alike and serves brilliantly as both an introduction and a retrospective. The title is the only thing wrong with it and despite my cynicism of “best of”s and the like, this is one of the most thrilling and exciting albums you could ever own. And don’t worry there’s not a ‘Yellow Submarine’ in sight.
Listen to this: whoever you are.
Key Track: Most of them