I asked Facebook friends whether I should spring for one of the new Beatles box sets. Of course, they said, it’s only money.
Well, no. At $299 (for the monaural package) and $260 (for stereo), it’s too much money. Instead, I bought four of the remastered CDs, all albums that I don’t already own.
First impressions: It’s better. A lot better. The remastered songs contain so much more musical information than what we remember from listening to radio or even the original CDs. You can hear each voice and each instrument, not a muddy collection of sound.
These songs are both new and familiar at the same time. Forty years after the band disbanded, baby boomers will be reminded, again, that these songs remain the soundtrack of their lives.
Meanwhile, marketing studies will be written about the release of these remastered albums (plus the new video game, “The Beatles: Rock Band”). Skeptics (and Rolling Stones fans) continue to ask whether the improved sound and supplementary materials being released for the first time are worth the cost. With the monaural set, it’s all or nothing. None of the monaural albums will be sold separately.
In less a week, the New York Times reported, The Beatles sold more than 600,000 albums – proof again that this is popular music’s most lasting franchise. The most popular albums? “Abbey Road” – of course – followed by “Sgt. Pepper…” and “The Beatles” (better known as “the white album”).