Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me. This year, I am taking a slightly different approach by discussing the discographies of my favorite musicians, album by album, in release order.
Continuing our journey through the Parlophone releases of The Beatles, Today we discuss their fifth studio album, entitled HELP!, which also happened to accompany their second major motion picture.
Why This Album?
As a kid I was exposed to the album ‘HELP’ before the film itself. It would be years before I would see the connections the songs had with the film and interestingly, I don’t feel that I missed out initially. By not even realizing that there was a movie connection, I was able to enjoy the album for what it was and that was a multilayered and exceedingly well produced album from well before my birth. What I found then, and today, is an infectious collection of some of the Beatles brightest and most enjoyable tunes. As I was exposed to the British version of the album, I never heard the instrumental tracks that were included on the ‘soundtrack’ making me recognize this as the full album it was intended to be.
The album itself is just a joy to listen to opening with the title track ‘Help!’ only to finish with the more somber ‘Yesterday’ before sliding into a vintage feeling ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’. In a way, this album almost feels like a retrospective of their career before the ‘later-Beatles’ era of their musical evolution. It is a swan song to what was and a hint of what will be, and at the time no one was the wiser.
Now, let’s talk briefly about the film itself. Help! is probably my favorite of the handful of Beatles films. Richard Lester returns from his work on Hard Day’s Night to bring us a true Beatles Adventure as the Fab Four have to rescue Ringo from a cult (and some mad scientists) who are determined to acquire a ring he has come into possession of. Help is a mad cap comedy that blends The Pink Panther, James Bond and the Marx Brothers into a fun filled film that is well worth watching. I’ll have to dive deeper into this film at a later date, but trust me, it is a blast.
Overall, the album Help! is a pure joy to listen to. As I mentioned above, this album feels as if the Beatles themselves were saying goodbye to the old as they moved into a new era of music. Filled with some of their biggest hits like Help!, Ticket To Ride and Yesterday, as well as some deep cut gems, it doesn’t feel like a swansong, but more of the precipice of an evolution which we would begin to see with the next album, Rubber Soul.
I Need You. I dont exactly know why I love this track so much but there is something comforting about it. Depicting the singer in his breakup with his lover, the song depicts the pain and heartbreak as this guy is forced to move on. It’s deeply sorrowful but oh so good.
On of the few covers on this album, but man it is a delight. Act Naturally is Ringo’s contribution to the album and it is almost a comment on his role in the film itself. Act Naturally is about a guy who makes it into a movie because the film demands something he can play perfectly, a sorrowful fool. It is pure genius and Ringo pulls this track of with utter perfection.
It’s Only Love. This is John Lennon at his best on this album. Another sorrowful tune about a guy who is pleading with his love to make up after a fight as he struggles with his feelings. It is such a touching and genuine tune that it just hits on every level.
Ok, Where do I get it?
For some reason, this album on CD is getting tough to find in recent years, thankfully all of the Beatles discography is on Spotify and you can dive in to the remastered version here which is an absolute delight.
Till next week,
Late to the Game 2/2/2021
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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