Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Unless you don't read magazines or newspapers, you are probably aware that the Beatles catalogue has finally undergone some much needed changes today (9/9/09). As you begin to rediscover the Beatles all over again, here are a few pointers to guide your Fab 4 journey.
1. Go with the mono set
Just as one should never watch Citizen Kane in Technicolor, one should not listen to mono albums in stereo. That's not quite the same comparison. Nonetheless, the Beatles first several albums were engineered and mixed with mono in mind. Stereo was nothing but an unproven gimmick at the time. Around the time of Revolver, the Beatles started using plenty of studio wizardry that worked best in stereo (although even the mono editions of Revolver, Sgt. Peppers and the White Album have plenty of mono purist defenders) Indeed, their last two records didn't even come out in mono.
Of course, if you want the Beatles in mono you need to drop $250 or so for the boxset. Unlike the stereo releases, the mono editions will only come in the boxset. If you're deciding between the mono and stereo boxes, go with the mono set for sure. Not only is everything packaged in those amazing mini LPs (pressed in Japan mind you) but the stereo box is awkwardly shaped so it can fit a DVD of mini-docs about each album.
2. Were the original CD's all that bad?
This is a fair question to ask yourself before you drop a wad of cash on one of the boxsets or many of the individual titles. While the CD's were sure better than the American editions of the tapes (ever notice how the first song on Side A and the first song on Side B were flipped?) they still sounded flat compared to today's releases. They also contained no booklets and limited cover art. If you honestly have a scratch-free copy of all the Beatles original CD pressing, don't upgrade. But take a look at the CD. Chances are it's time for a replacement anyway. You may as well get one with stunning sound.
3. What about the acid hits that let you become the Beatles?
While the original idea may've been to replicate all the Beatles' first acid trip with customized doses, the remaining Beatles opted to put out an edition of Rock Band instead. Better for the purity of our brains. All early indications are that the Beatles Rock Band rules. Now how about a Hendrix Guitar Hero?