Review Summary: A collection of great Beatles songs. Some songs are given a completely new edge, while most stick to the flawless formula that helped the Beatles gain success. Oh, did I mention the movie is amazing? Soundtrack – Across the Universe (Deluxe Edition)
For all you Beatles fans out there, behold. Just one year ago, the completely fresh “Love” compilation gave Beatles fans yet another addition into their already gigantic collections. Now, we are given yet another completely new look at the legacy that is the Beatles’ music. This time, we get some visual to go along with the music. The combination of the Across the Universe Soundtrack and the actual movie is darn close to being flawless, with, of course, a few exceptions. This review will cover the Deluxe Edition of the Soundtrack, which features 31 songs, instead of the original 16. (It’s worth buying, trust me.) As we’ve all heard before, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Well, the Beatles sure are not broken. They are the number one album-selling band of all time! But, when we look past the fact that this album is not trying to be the Beatles, we can see an entirely new glory in the music.
Let’s go over the negatives of the soundtrack first, so then I can go into complete fanboy mode and explain why I like it so much without having to go back and find some negatives. First off, if you haven’t seen the movie, (go see it!) then you might not understand the reasoning behind some of the effects and emotions added into the songs. Oh! Darling's out of tune guitar riffs are a prime example. Also, the stomping army effects of I Want You (She's So Heavy) and the obscure silliness of Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. I'm not saying these songs are bad, just that they can be misinterpreted without watching the movie first. Another major turn-off for the album is T.V. Carpio's moody performance of I Want to Hold Your Hand. The tempo is completely turned around from the original version of the song and we get a slow, lustful, wanting song. It completely upsets the flow of the album and is just a flat-out drag. It even feels out of place within the movie itself. Also, If I Fell and Flying, while they are interesting songs, may drag on just a but too long. Also, in the film, a splendid instrumental version of A Day in the Life was included, yet it's nowhere to be found on the soundtrack. What a shame.
How can you go wrong with the Beatles" Even just singing a Beatles song in a public place generates some sort of positive response (at least where I come from). What is great about the Across the Universe Soundtrack is that it doesn't try and improve any of the Beatles' songs, it just molds them so they fit into the movie. So, 31 remakes of Beatles' songs has to be a success, and it is. The great thing about the soundtrack is that it takes old Beatles songs, removes a lot of psychedelic mess, and pulls a move contemporary feel out of them. Take I am the Walrus for example. Bono's voice gives the listener a pop feeling, and instead of orchestral backing throughout the song, the guitar does all of the work. It is not exactly an improvement on the song, but it does give the track a different feel. And if you think that Bono sounds strange in the song, just look at the character he plays in the movie! Revolution is also given a different outlook. Instead of the fast, yelping, almost humorous singing in the original track, the song in done as if it is being said, not sung. Girl, the opening track, is slowed down, and is a complete A Capella. This switches the mood of the original song entirely.
But enough of comparing these songs to the originals. How does the soundtrack sound to one who has never listened to someone who has never heard any of the original songs (I don't know how that is possible, but for the sake of this review, pretend.) Well, the album begins with some pop-rock love songs and builds up to the raunchy I Want You (She's So Heavy) which is a major highlight. Let it Be is recorded completely A Capella with a full chorus singing along with the "Let It Be"s. Come Together is a major highlight (like pretty much every other song). The song is low and capricious, features a delightful guitar solo in the middle. Then we get the lovely little Dear Prudence, followed by the complete instrumental Flying. These two seem to be part of the same track, and the vocals are outstanding. As most musicals feature a humorous, happy scene I, and a dark, tragic scene II, the case is no different with Across the Universe. The carefree feelings portrayed in Disc One are just waiting to be smashed and shattered by Disc Two.
The second disc is definitely a moodier, psychedelic compilation. The happy go-lucky I am the Walrus and Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite lead into the slower Because and Strawberry Fields Forever. Strawberry Fields Forever features the main character of the movie, Jude, throwing strawberries at the walls and ceilings of his room, eventually creating the movie's logo, and the cover of the soundtrack. Across the Universe is done exceptionally, as well as the down-trodden, bare While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Helter Skelter is just a blasting, hard rock song. Don't Let Me Down begins well, but acquires an awkward transition about halfway through. Happiness Is A Warm Gun is a hidden gem on the album, as it really is unexpected, but delightful. Then comes the climax of the entire experience. Hey Jude is just everything it needs to be and will, no doubt, have the listener singing the na-na-na's over and over again. All You Need Is Love is a little slow to start, but finishes strong. This is where the movie actually ends, but Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, performed by Bono, is thrown in as the closing track. Lucy in the Sky seems a little out of place here, but is a great song nonetheless.
Really, if you like the Beatles, get this album. The different voices and instruments really give a new take on most of the original Beatles' songs. Most of the vocalists on the album have far greater vocals talents than any of the Beatles ever did. Now, I'm not bashing the Beatles, and I'm definitely
not saying this is better than any of the original Beatles' music, but it is definitely worth a listen. Oh, and the movie is really good, too.
Great remakes of amazing original songs
Many songs are given new feelings
It's Beatles' music for god's sakes!
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Some songs may drag a little bit