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Friday, February 13, 2015

YELLOW SUBMARINE SONGTRACK - side one

Taking advantage of new technology, a digital version of the soundtrack was created for the 30th anniversary re-release of the film Yellow Submarine.  This naturally extended beyond the work of the voice actors and the many sound effects to include the musical selections by the Beatles, as well.  The new mixes - some of them close to the originals and others dramatically different - were compiled for a tie-in album.  Perhaps recalling the criticism heaped upon the 1969 album - that it shortchanged the record-buying public - the decision was made to include all (well, almost all) of the songs used in the movie, even those that are represented by mere snippets in the context of the film.

Yellow Submarine - The new clarity of the digital sound is immediately evident on the title tune.  The sound effects are not brought to the forefront as strongly as they were on the Anthology's Real Love EP, but they certainly have more presence than on the master version we all know.  And John's echo of "a life of ease" is kept in.

Hey Bulldog - Lennon's late addition to the soundtrack features more prominent vocals, as do most of the tracks on this collection.  The promotional film for Lady Madonna, which was shot during the recording of this number in 1968, was re-edited and broadcast with this song to promote this new package in 1999.

Eleanor Rigby - The vocals are stronger without sacrificing the sharpness of the string octet.  And Paul's "Eleanor" at the top of the first verse is no longer double-tracked.  The use of this song as the submarine arrives in Liverpool is perhaps the best sequence in the movie, rivaling Can't Buy Me Love and Ticket to Ride from the group's earlier films as a stand-alone video.

Love You To - Only the slow introduction to this song is heard in the film when George's character is introduced, but his first Indian piece was remixed in full for this release and it sounds wonderful, with the vocals and instruments nicely balanced.

All Together Now - This song is used twice in the film.  First, when the submarine voyage commences, and in the live action sequence at the end featuring the Beatles themselves.  You can actually pick out individual voices in the chorus as they are spread out in the new stereo mix.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - In truth, even though it was only done on four-track tape, the production on the Sgt. Pepper album was so far ahead of its time that little improvement can be discerned in the new mixes made from those master versions.

Think for Yourself - On the other hand, the new mix for this tune from Rubber Soul (one of the earliest songs used for the movie) is a marked improvement.  The film only uses the vocal track from the one line "and you've got time to rectify..."

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - You can really appreciate the vocal blend of Paul, John and George with the clarity of the new mix.  This song is central to the action of the film as the boys impersonate the real Sgt. Pepper's band in order to rouse the people of Pepperland.

With a Little Help from My Friends - As on the Sgt. Pepper album, the previous song segues straight into this number, though we only hear a bit of this one's first verse in the film.  This track sounds practically identical to the brilliantly-produced original version we all know and love.

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