Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Remastered)

Right now, I can only afford one of the Beatles' remasters, and I bought the must-own Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper.

What's my verdict?  Is it really worth the money?  It is!  The sound is much improved over the previous CD issue.  That is to be expected.  The vocals, particularly, sound a lot better.  They are prominent in the mix and don't sound like they're coming from a cave or underwater (except for the distorted, echoed vocals).  For example, on "Good Morning Good Morning" John's vocal sounds like it was recorded yesterday.  On the previous CD version, his vocal sounded rather dated.

For the most part, the sounds are louder (but not too loud).  It sounds like most any modern CD in my collection.  I compared this version with MP3s of the previous version, and the difference was easily noticeable in most cases.  It even sounds great on my iPod!  I definitely notice things that I didn't before.  Some things I'm not going to notice because, well, my hearing isn't as great as it once was.  Mostly, though, I can hear everything better.  Paul's bass is thicker, and the strings on "She's Leaving Home" sound marvelous.  The harpsichord part on "Fixing A Hole" could have been louder, but I don't expect everything to be perfect.

Does this new remastered version change my opinion of the album?  Not really.  I do have a new appreciation for a few of the songs, but mostly these are the same songs I've heard before and either love, like, or dislike.  I still love, like and dislike them, but they all sound better than they did on the previous version of the CD.

Especially impressive are the liner notes.  They are printed on glossy paper, which feels amazing in my hands.  They are beautifully designed and packed with photographs and other images, plus all of the original liner notes from the first CD (although I do miss the "A splendid time is guaranteed for all!") along with a new essay and some information about the recording of the album.  Seeing what Apple did with the liners makes me super-excited to get some of the other albums.  If you were thinking of keeping your previous copy of Sgt. Pepper for the liner notes, be assured that that is not necessary. 

I wasn't too thrilled with the mini-documentary.  It doesn't really have too much new information.  It's really not a documentary.  I think the improved sound and improved liner notes are reason enough to buy the remastered Beatles albums.  The sound quality is great and I think they're worth the money.  Now, I just need to save up to buy some of the other releases.

1 comment:

d.edlen said...

Very cool to know! Do you have vinyl to compare it to? That's what I'm curious about too.