Earlier this week some "new" Beatles music was released by Apple Corps and Capitol Records. It wasn't completely new material, just new takes on some Fab Four classics. After recruiting the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, for a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles searched through the Beatles catalog of recordings to come up with "Love" -- a remixed and reworked collection of hits.
"This album puts the Beatles back together again, because suddenly there's John and George with me and Ringo," said Paul McCartney. "It's kind of magical." Not everyone is as excited about it as Sir Paul. I have previously busted on the music corporations for over playing the "greatest hits card" -- and some say this release is worthy of that same criticism. One writer dismissed it as "studio trickery" and lamented what he dubbed a "corporate takeover of the Beatles." Another reviewer was just as harsh: "'All you need is money' seems to have been the noble inspiration behind the release of Love, a 26-track album released in time for Christmas; a chance to milk dry the Beatles-obsessed public by flogging them songs they already have but with which someone has tinkered at the controls."
I understand the reaction. It is somewhat sacrilegious to mess with what some view as masterworks of music. For example, the reworking of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is lacking (Listen here: Windows or Real). It is still a beautiful song, but you don't quite feel that lover's ache the same way you did with the better known version. I respect the Beatles' legacy, but don't have any vested interest in the complete set of works the way the generation before me does, so I don't react as strongly as the above referenced critics. But there is already a handful of Beatles greatest hit anthologies. Do we really need another one? For me, the answer is no. When you have something near perfection it is best to simply ... let it be.