The One of 909
Today, September 9, 2009 will be remembered not just for the launch of The Beatles: Rock Band and the release of remastered versions of The Beatles' catalog, it will also be remembered for the first entry in the CoverTogether blog.
That said, we'll focus on the new releases. Having seen the trailers for Rock Band, my immediate impression is that the animated Beatles fall short. I wasn't expecting perfection, but the characters seem a little too stilted and unrealistic. Maybe the current state-of-the-art just isn't up to the job. That said, it was fun to see The Beatles performing songs that they never actually performed for the cameras. I saw Paul and Ringo together in a clip promoting all this, and somehow they just didn't seem like The Beatles. It wasn't a critical mass. They just seemed like Paul and Ringo.
Although The Beatles have been cartoon characters before, and even though Paul and Ringo are still with us, I think today marks the turning point where they pass from cultural icons into historical figures: the Beatles themselves may pass on, but the computer-animated John, Paul, George and Ringo will live forever.
Now, onto the remastered versions of the albums. I haven't heard any of them, but I'm a bit suspicious of the idea. The last orignal Beatles albums that I paid full price for at retail were the CDs, which I bought when they first came out - 1987 or so. EMI has since repackaged them in various ways, e.g. "Love" and "One", which I've avoided. So, the question will be: is this just another repackaging or something truly better? Releasing them on both stereo and mono was a nice touch - why not give the diehard fans two repackaged versions at the same time. In all honesty, though, I don't think I'll be able to avoid buying at least one of the sets - probably the stereo version. Well done, EMI.