Considering that Help! functions as the Beatles' fifth album and as the soundtrack to their second film -- while filming, they continued to release non-LP singles on a regular basis -- it's not entirely surprising that it still has some of the weariness of Beatles for Sale. Again, they pad the album with covers, but the Bakersfield bounce of "Act ...Read MoreConsidering that Help! functions as the Beatles' fifth album and as the soundtrack to their second film -- while filming, they continued to release non-LP singles on a regular basis -- it's not entirely surprising that it still has some of the weariness of Beatles for Sale. Again, they pad the album with covers, but the Bakersfield bounce of "Act Naturally" adds new flavor (along with an ideal showcase for Ringo's amiable vocals) and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" gives John an opportunity to flex his rock & roll muscle. George is writing again and if his two contributions don't touch Lennon and McCartney's originals, they hold their own against much of their British pop peers. Since Lennon wrote a third more songs than McCartney, it's easy to forgive a pair of minor numbers ("It's Only Love," "Tell Me What You See"), especially since they're overshadowed by four great songs. His Dylan infatuation holds strong, particularly on the plaintive "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and the title track, where the brash arrangement disguises Lennon's desperation. Driven by an indelible 12-string guitar, "Ticket to Ride" is another masterpiece and "You're Going to Lose That Girl" is the kind of song McCartney effortlessly tosses off -- which he does with the jaunty "The Night Before" and "Another Girl," two very fine tunes that simply update his melodic signature. He did much better with "I've Just Seen a Face," an irresistible folk-rock gem, and "Yesterday," a simple, beautiful ballad whose arrangement -- an acoustic guitar supported by a string quartet -- and composition suggested much more sophisticated and adventurous musical territory, which the group immediately began exploring with Rubber Soul. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, RoviRead Less
Being a huge fan of the Beatles, of course the song "Help!" is on my list of faves, but this entire album (with two exceptions) has made it to the list as well. From the title track thru to "Yesterday", the CD goes from hard-rockin' to sweet mournfulness, to country-western and back again to rock. It's a treat to hear Ringo get his chops in on "Act Naturally", and the tight harmonies on "The Night Before". Paul's songwriting is in peak form with "Another Girl", "I've Just Seen A Face" and of course "Yesterday"; and George is given a slot on the lineup with "You Like Me Too Much", although in today's world the lyrics come across a little creepy and stalker-ish. John's strengths come thru as well with the title track and "Ticket To Ride", but with "It's Only Love" he seems to have created a song-on-demand, a throwaway bit of fluff with hackneyed phrasing to fill up the allotted time on the album. The other song I don't like is "Dizzy Miss Lizzy", but only because the twangy electronic guitar riff predominates, and after a while it's the only thing I can hear. So overall, you get the big hits from the film, but also some sweet song treats that are often overlooked.