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LOVE ()

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If boiled down to a simple synopsis, the Beatles' LOVE sounds radical: assisted by his father, the legendary Beatles producer George, Giles Martin has assembled a remix album where familiar Fab Four tunes aren't just refurbished, they're given the mash-up treatment, meaning different versions of different songs are pasted together to create a new track. Ever since the turn of the century, mash-ups were in vogue in the underground, as such cut-n-paste jobs as Freelance Hellraiser's "Stroke of Genius" -- which paired up the Strokes' "Last Night" with Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" -- circulated on the net, but no major group issued their own mash-up mastermix until LOVE in November 2006. Put in those terms, it seems like LOVE is a grand experiment, a piece of art for art's sake, but that's hardly the case. Its genesis lies with the Beatles agreeing to collaborate with performance dance troupe Cirque du Soleil on a project that evolved into the Las Vegas stage show LOVE, an extravaganza that cost well over 100 million dollars and was designed to generate revenue far exceeding that. During pre-production, all involved realized that the original Beatles tapes needed to be remastered in order to sound impressive by modern standards when pumped through the huge new theater -- the theater made just with this dance revue in mind -- and since they needed to be tweaked, they might as well use the opportunity to do something different with the familiar music, too: to remix and re-imagine it, to make LOVE be something unique to both the Beatles and Cirque du Soleil. Keep in mind the Cirque du Soleil portion of the equation: George and Giles Martin may have been given free reign to recontextualize the Beatles' catalog, but given that this was for a project that cost hundreds of millions of dollars this wasn't quite the second coming of The Grey Album, where Danger Mouse surreptitiously mashed up The White Album with Jay-Z's The Black Album. This isn't an art project and it isn't underground, either: it's a big, splashy commercial endeavor, one that needs to surprise millions of Beatles fans without alienating them, since the mission is to please fans whether they're hearing this in the theater or at home. And so, the curious LOVE, a purported re-imagining of the most familiar catalog in pop music, winds up being less interesting or surprising than its description would suggest. Neither an embarrassment or a revelation, LOVE is at first mildly odd but its novelty soon recedes, revealing that these are the same songs that know you by heart, only with louder drums and occasionally with a few parts in different places. Often, what's presented here isn't far afield from the original recording: strip "Because" down to its vocals and it still sounds very much like the "Because" on Abbey Road -- and that arrangement is actually one of the more drastic here. Whether they're songs as spare and stark as "Eleanor Rigby" or "Yesterday," as trippy as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" or as basic as "Get Back," the songs remain the same, as do most of the arrangements, right down to the laughter and sound effects sprinkled throughout "I Am the Walrus." There's only one cut that has the thrilling unpredictability of a genuine mash-up and that's a cut that blends together "Drive My Car," "The Word" and "What You're Doing," punctuated with horns from "Savoy Truffle"; a chorus from one song flows into the verse from another, as keyboards and percussion from all three, plus more, come together to make something that's giddy, inventive and fresh. But that's the exception to the rule, since most of this delivers juxtapositions that seem obvious based on the concept of the project itself: it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to set the melody of "Within You Without You" to the backing track of "Tomorrow Never Knows," since both derive from the same psychedelic era and share similar themes.Throughout LOVE, songs are augmented by samples... Hide synopsis

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Reviews of LOVE

Overall customer rating: 5.000
The Pageturner

Excellent Revamping of Classic Beatles' Hits!

by The Pageturner on Sep 15, 2008

"Genius" and "Brilliant" are the only words I can say to describe this magnificent collection of Beatles music. It is enough to make the hearts of any Beatles fan race with excitement! The sounds have been revamped like never before, belting out Ringo Starr's drumming and the unified tone that is classic for this legendary band. All of the songs blend so perfectly such as the guitar from "Blackbird" smoothly flowing into "Yesterday", or the sounds from several songs forming one or two classics. You could listen to this every day for a month and never tire of it because there is always something new that you haven't heard. Even the cd cover is enticing. This is a MUST HAVE in any collection of music and is definitely not a waste of your money or ears.

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