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Beatles: Stereo Box Set [Limited Edition]

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The Beatles 9/9/2009

Review

The Beatles always stood apart from their peers, a self-evident statement that sadly extended to the treatment of their catalog in the digital age. Where all their peers from the Byrds to the Who have had their catalogs remastered and reissued in deluxe editions, sometimes several times, the Beatles remained stuck in the early days of digital, their 14 albums plus Past Masters singles collection remaining untouched since 1987. Anniversaries came and went, but no remasters arrived until the release of the video game The Beatles Rockband pushed a long-overdue revamping of the band's entire catalog into the stores on 9-9-09. This reissue campaign corrects almost all the problems of the original 1987 CDs: the sound and artwork are improved, and all the original mono and stereo mixes finally see the light of day. Naturally, it's possible to quibble about some details of the presentation, particularly the decision to split the reissue into two separate box sets, one covering the stereo mixes and one the mono mixes, with only the stereo mixes available as individual discs (it's still possible to complain that the albums do not add era-specific singles or outtakes, but such expansions were never really in the cards), but both boxes still constitute the best Beatles by far. Crucially, it's also inarguably the best-sounding Beatles music ever released, robust and rich even on the earliest rock & roll. None of the albums have been remixed -- although Help! and Rubber Soul retain Martin's 1987 mixes, the original stereo mixes are bonuses on the mono set -- so this doesn't shock the way the Yellow Submarine soundtrack did with its reimagined stereo mixes. Nevertheless, these remasters surely do surprise with their clarity and depth, with each album feeling bigger and fuller than the previous CD incarnation, but not artificially so. It's not that these are pumped up on digital steroids; it's that the veil has been lifted, so everything seems full and fresh. Appropriately, there's more to savor from Help! onward, as the Beatles' productions grew ambitious, but Please Please Me, With the Beatles, and A Hard Day's Night all have a strong punch, while Beatles for Sale is warmer than the previous disc. As a package, the stereo box is slightly unwieldy -- it's a large, vertical set with two stacks of discs in slick cardboard sleeves piled on top of each other. No extra book is included with the set, but each disc has its own booklet with dry, straightforward liner notes detailing the recording process instead of analyzing the music. If anything about the set could be called disappointing, it's the mini-documentaries attached to each disc as Quicktime files and collected on a DVD bonus for the box. "Mini-documentary" may even be stretching what these are: they're three to five infomercials about the albums, not much more informative than the notes themselves. Nevertheless, these do offer annotation, something sorely lacking from the first CDs, and they do replicate the original notes -- in the case of Magical Mystery Tour, including the entire storybook; in the case of Pepper, all the 20th anniversary annotation is added -- finally bringing the Beatles to the same standard for reissues that every other major (and most minor) bands have had for years now. And the story, at least for the stereo box, is not the packaging -- it's the glorious sound that makes this such a treat. There's also no question that those who waited 22 years to hear a better version of the Beatles will not be disappointed (although they may still wonder why it took so long for the Fabs to be treated as they deserve). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles 2:51
  3. 2 Misery The Beatles 1:45
  4. 3 Anna (Go to Him) The Beatles 2:54
  5. 4 Chains The Beatles 2:22
  6. 5 Boys The Beatles 2:23
  7. 6 Ask Me Why The Beatles 2:23
  8. 7 Please Please Me The Beatles 1:57
  9. 8 Love Me Do The Beatles 2:18
  10. 9 P.S. I Love You The Beatles 2:1
  11. 10 Baby It's You The Beatles 2:36
  12. 11 Do You Want to Know a Secret The Beatles 1:54
  13. 12 A Tast of Honey The Beatles 2:0
  14. 13 There's a Place The Beatles 1:47
  15. 14 Twist and Shout The Beatles 2:32
  16. 15 Please Please Me Mini-Documentary The Beatles null:null
  17. 1 It Won't Be Long The Beatles 2:10
  18. 2 All I've Got to Do The Beatles 2:0
  19. 3 All My Loving The Beatles 2:6
  20. 4 Don't Bother Me The Beatles 2:25
  21. 5 Little Child The Beatles 1:44
  22. 6 Till There Was You The Beatles 2:11
  23. 7 Please Mister Postman The Beatles 2:31
  24. 8 Roll Over Beethoven The Beatles 2:43
  25. 9 Hold Me Tight The Beatles 2:29
  26. 10 You Really Got a Hold on Me The Beatles 2:59
  27. 11 I Wanna Be Your Man The Beatles 1:57
  28. 12 Devil in Her Heart The Beatles 2:23
  29. 13 Not a Second Time The Beatles 2:3
  30. 14 Money (That's What I Want) The Beatles 2:46
  31. 15 With the Beatles Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  32. 1 A Hard Day's Night [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:30
  33. 2 I Should Have Known Better [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:40
  34. 3 If I Fell [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:16
  35. 4 I'm Happy Just to Dance with You [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 1:54
  36. 5 And I Love Her [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:27
  37. 6 Tell Me Why [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:6
  38. 7 Can't Buy Me Love [from the Film "A Hard Day's Night"] The Beatles 2:9
  39. 8 Any Time at All The Beatles 2:9
  40. 9 I'll Cry Instead The Beatles 1:44
  41. 10 Things We Said Today The Beatles 2:33
  42. 11 When I Get Home The Beatles 2:14
  43. 12 You Can't Do That The Beatles 2:32
  44. 13 I'll Be Back The Beatles 2:19
  45. 14 A Hard Day's Night Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  46. 1 No Reply The Beatles 2:13
  47. 2 I'm a Loser The Beatles 2:27
  48. 3 Baby's in Black The Beatles 2:3
  49. 4 Rock & Roll Music The Beatles 2:29
  50. 5 I'll Follow the Sun The Beatles 1:46
  51. 6 Mr. Moonlight The Beatles 2:36
  52. 7 Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! The Beatles 2:34
  53. 8 Eight Days a Week The Beatles 2:41
  54. 9 Words of Love The Beatles 2:1
  55. 10 Honey Don't The Beatles 2:55
  56. 11 Ever Little Thing The Beatles 2:1
  57. 12 I Don't Want to Spoil the Party The Beatles 2:31
  58. 13 What You're Doing The Beatles 2:28
  59. 14 Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby The Beatles 2:23
  60. 15 Beatles for Sale Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  61. 1 Help! [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:16
  62. 2 The Night Before [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:33
  63. 3 You've Got to Hide Your Love Away [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:7
  64. 4 I Need You [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:27
  65. 5 Another Girl [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:3
  66. 6 You're Going to Lose That Girl [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 2:16
  67. 7 Ticket to Ride [from the Film "Help! "] The Beatles 3:6
  68. 8 Act Naturally The Beatles 2:28
  69. 9 It's Only Love The Beatles 1:54
  70. 10 You Like Me Too Much The Beatles 2:35
  71. 11 Tell Me What You See The Beatles 2:35
  72. 12 I've Just Seen a Face The Beatles 2:3
  73. 13 Yesterday The Beatles 2:3
  74. 14 Dizzy Miss Lizzy The Beatles 2:53
  75. 15 Help Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  76. 1 Drive My Car The Beatles 2:24
  77. 2 Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) The Beatles 2:2
  78. 3 You Won't See Me The Beatles 3:16
  79. 4 Nowhere Man The Beatles 2:41
  80. 5 Think for Yourself The Beatles 2:16
  81. 6 The Word The Beatles 2:39
  82. 7 Michelle The Beatles 2:39
  83. 8 What Goes On The Beatles 2:46
  84. 9 Girl The Beatles 2:27
  85. 10 I'm Looking Through You The Beatles 2:22
  86. 11 In My Life The Beatles 2:24
  87. 12 Wait The Beatles 2:12
  88. 13 If I Needed Someone The Beatles 2:20
  89. 14 Run for Your Life The Beatles 2:16
  90. 15 Rubber Soul Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  91. 1 Taxman The Beatles 2:35
  92. 2 Eleanor Rigby The Beatles 2:4
  93. 3 I'm Only Sleeping The Beatles 2:56
  94. 4 Love You To The Beatles 2:56
  95. 5 Here, There and Everywhere The Beatles 2:21
  96. 6 Yellow Submarine The Beatles 2:35
  97. 7 She Said She Said The Beatles 2:32
  98. 8 Good Day Sunshine The Beatles 2:5
  99. 9 And Your Bird Can Sing The Beatles 1:58
  100. 10 For No One The Beatles 1:57
  101. 11 Doctor Robert The Beatles 2:11
  102. 12 I Want to Tell You The Beatles 2:25
  103. 13 Got to Get You into My Life The Beatles 2:25
  104. 14 Tomorrow Never Knows The Beatles 2:55
  105. 15 Revolver Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  106. 1 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles 2:1
  107. 2 With a Little Help from My Friends The Beatles 2:43
  108. 3 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds The Beatles 3:27
  109. 4 Getting Better The Beatles 2:47
  110. 5 Fixing a Hole The Beatles 2:35
  111. 6 She's Leaving Home The Beatles 3:34
  112. 7 Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! The Beatles 2:35
  113. 8 Within You Without You The Beatles 5:3
  114. 9 When I'm Sixty-Four The Beatles 2:37
  115. 10 Lovely Rita The Beatles 2:41
  116. 11 Good Morning Good Morning The Beatles 2:41
  117. 12 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) The Beatles 1:19
  118. 13 A Day in the Life The Beatles 5:33
  119. 14 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Mini-Documentary The Beatles null:null
  120. 1 Magical Mystery Tour [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 2:45
  121. 2 The Fool on the Hill [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 2:56
  122. 3 Flying [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 2:11
  123. 4 Blue Jay Way [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 3:52
  124. 5 Your Mother Should Know [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 2:25
  125. 6 I Am the Walrus [from the Film "Magical Mystery Tour"] The Beatles 4:32
  126. 7 Hello Goodbye The Beatles 3:25
  127. 8 Strawberry Fields Forever The Beatles 4:4
  128. 9 Penny Lane The Beatles 2:59
  129. 10 Baby You're a Rich Man The Beatles 2:57
  130. 11 All You Need Is Love The Beatles 3:43
  131. 12 Magical Mystery Tour Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  132. 1 Back in the U.S.S.R. The Beatles 2:42
  133. 2 Dear Prudence The Beatles 3:53
  134. 3 Glass Onion The Beatles 2:17
  135. 4 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da The Beatles 3:9
  136. 5 Wild Honey Pie The Beatles 0:53
  137. 6 The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill The Beatles 3:14
  138. 7 While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles 4:41
  139. 8 Happiness Is a Warm Gun The Beatles 2:42
  140. 9 Martha My Dear The Beatles 2:28
  141. 10 I'm So Tired The Beatles 2:3
  142. 11 Blackbird The Beatles 2:18
  143. 12 Piggies The Beatles 2:4
  144. 13 Rocky Raccoon The Beatles 3:33
  145. 14 Don't Pass Me By The Beatles 3:50
  146. 15 Why Don't We Do It in the Road? The Beatles 1:40
  147. 16 I Will The Beatles 1:44
  148. 17 Julia The Beatles 2:53
  149. 1 Birthday The Beatles 2:42
  150. 2 Yer Blues The Beatles 3:57
  151. 3 Mother Nature's Son The Beatles 2:46
  152. 4 Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey The Beatles 2:24
  153. 5 Sexy Sadie The Beatles 3:12
  154. 6 Helter Skelter The Beatles 4:29
  155. 7 Long, Long, Long The Beatles 3:3
  156. 8 Revolution 1 The Beatles 4:14
  157. 9 Honey Pie The Beatles 2:40
  158. 10 Savoy Truffle The Beatles 2:53
  159. 11 Cry Baby Cry The Beatles 3:2
  160. 12 Revolution 9 The Beatles 8:20
  161. 13 Good Night The Beatles 3:9
  162. 14 The Beatles Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  163. 1 Yellow Submarine The Beatles 2:35
  164. 2 Only a Northern Song The Beatles 3:21
  165. 3 All Together Now The Beatles 2:8
  166. 4 Hey Bulldog The Beatles 3:8
  167. 5 It's All Too Much The Beatles 6:20
  168. 6 All You Need Is Love The Beatles 3:44
  169. 7 Pepperland [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:18
  170. 8 Sea of Time [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:58
  171. 9 Sea of Holes [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:15
  172. 10 Sea of Monsters [Original Film Score] The Beatles 3:33
  173. 11 March of the Meanies [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:16
  174. 12 Peppeland Laid Waste [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:8
  175. 13 Yellow Submarine in Pepperland [Original Film Score] The Beatles 2:9
  176. 14 Yellow Submarine Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  177. 1 Come Together The Beatles 4:15
  178. 2 Something The Beatles 2:59
  179. 3 Maxwell's Silver Hammer The Beatles 3:25
  180. 4 Oh! Darling The Beatles 3:25
  181. 5 Octopus's Garden The Beatles 2:48
  182. 6 I Want You (She's So Heavy) The Beatles 7:45
  183. 7 Here Comes the Sun The Beatles 3:4
  184. 8 Because The Beatles 2:44
  185. 9 You Never Give Me Your Money The Beatles 4:3
  186. 10 Sun King The Beatles 2:27
  187. 11 Mean Mr. Mustard The Beatles 1:7
  188. 12 Polythene Pam The Beatles 1:13
  189. 13 She Came in Through the Bathroom Window The Beatles 1:57
  190. 14 Golden Slumbers The Beatles 1:32
  191. 15 Carry That Weight The Beatles 1:37
  192. 16 The End The Beatles 2:4
  193. 17 Her Majesty The Beatles 0:23
  194. 18 Abbey Road Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  195. 1 Two of Us The Beatles 3:32
  196. 2 Dig a Pony The Beatles 3:51
  197. 3 Across the Universe The Beatles 3:43
  198. 4 I Me Mine The Beatles 2:24
  199. 5 Dig It The Beatles 0:49
  200. 6 Let It Be The Beatles 4:2
  201. 7 Maggie Mae The Beatles 0:38
  202. 8 I've Got a Feeling The Beatles 3:34
  203. 9 One After 909 The Beatles 2:50
  204. 10 The Long and Winding Road The Beatles 3:36
  205. 11 For You Blue The Beatles 2:29
  206. 12 Get Back The Beatles 3:6
  207. 13 Let It Be Mini-Documentary [Multimedia] The Beatles null:null
  208. 1 Love Me Do [Original Single Version] The Beatles 2:22
  209. 2 From Me to You The Beatles 1:55
  210. 3 Thank You Girl The Beatles 2:1
  211. 4 She Loves You [Mono Version] The Beatles 2:19
  212. 5 I'll Get You [Mono Version] The Beatles 2:3
  213. 6 I Want to Hold Your Hand The Beatles 2:24
  214. 7 This Boy The Beatles 2:12
  215. 8 Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand The Beatles 2:24
  216. 9 Sie Liebt Dich The Beatles 2:17
  217. 10 Long Tall Sally The Beatles 2:1
  218. 11 I Call Your Name The Beatles 2:5
  219. 12 Slow Down The Beatles 2:53
  220. 13 Matchbox The Beatles 1:56
  221. 14 I Feel Fine The Beatles 2:16
  222. 15 She's a Woman The Beatles 3:0
  223. 16 Bad Boy The Beatles 2:18
  224. 17 Yes It Is The Beatles 2:40
  225. 18 I'm Down The Beatles 2:28
  226. 1 Day Tripper The Beatles 2:45
  227. 2 We Can Work It Out The Beatles 2:13
  228. 3 Paperback Writer The Beatles 2:15
  229. 4 Rain The Beatles 2:57
  230. 5 Lady Madonna The Beatles 2:15
  231. 6 The Inner Light The Beatles 2:33
  232. 7 Hey Jude The Beatles 7:3
  233. 8 Revolution The Beatles 3:22
  234. 9 Get Back The Beatles 3:8
  235. 10 Don't Let Me Down The Beatles 3:33
  236. 11 The Ballad of John and Yoko The Beatles 2:57
  237. 12 Old Brown Shoe The Beatles 3:16
  238. 13 Across the Universe The Beatles 3:46
  239. 14 Let It Be The Beatles 3:48
  240. 15 You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) [Mono Version] The Beatles 4:17
  241. 1 Please Please Me [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  242. 2 With the Beatles [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  243. 3 A Hard Day's Night [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  244. 4 Beatles for Sale [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  245. 5 Help! [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  246. 6 Rubber Soul [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  247. 7 Revolver [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  248. 8 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  249. 9 Magical Myster Tour [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  250. 10 The Beatles (The White Album) [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  251. 11 Yellow Submarine [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  252. 12 Let It Be [DVD] The Beatles null:null
  253. 13 Abbey Road [DVD] The Beatles null:null

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