The newly remastered Beatles catalog is “a revelation” for the audiophile fan, said Mario Tarradell in The Dallas Morning News. But for the “promotional machine” behind the separate stereo and mono CD box sets, it’s “all about synergy.” The CDs are being released Wednesday alongside The Beatles: Rock Band video game and Beatles-themed books and board games. Despite the steep price tag, it should be “a welcome elixir for the ailing recording industry.”
Except that we don’t really listen to single albums much anymore, said Shane Richmond in Britain’s Daily Telegraph. We “carry our music collection with us,” on iPods and mp3 players, and “listen to it on shuffle.” And despite Apple’s best efforts, the Beatles famously aren’t sold through iTunes or other online stores.
Barring the catalog from being sold as digital downloads has had some benefits for the Beatles, said Ed Christman in Billboard, via Reuters, such as making them America’s second-best-selling artists this decade, with their 28.2 million CD sales not too far behind Eminem’s 32 million albums sold. With the box sets, “a band that broke up in 1970” could end up being this decade’s top seller.
It’s true that the Beatles’ songs have been “burnished to glow with a sonic sheen,” said Colin Fleming in Slate. But you’d have to be a real fan to “plunk down $200 or more” for a box set or two with “no extras—no outtakes, no live tracks, no vault gems,” and just a few “measly QuickTime making-of ‘mini-docs.’” There are Beatles outtakes and concert recordings out there, so “why the stinginess?”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
- You're reheating pizza wrong
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
Subscribe to the Week