First off, let me preface my forthcoming comments by admitting The Beatles (“The White Album”) is not my all-time favorite album by the Fab Four. In fact, I’ve always had a strange aversion to it thanks to its unfortunate association to the Manson Family murders. But with that said, I’m constantly surprised by how much I actually enjoy it whenever I take the time to dust it off and listen.
Just such an occasion has recently presented itself for a well-deserved revisit of the legendary double album with the 50th anniversary edition. The Beatles has been newly remixed by Giles Martin and given a superb new stereo remix, much like he did with 2017’s extraordinary deluxe treatment of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The Beatles is available as a super deluxe edition, which consists of 6 CDs plus a Blu-ray audio 5.1 mix of the proper album, and also includes the long-awaited Esher Demos and numerous alternate versions and outtakes. Additionally, a condensed 3-disc version is offered as an alternative to the super deluxe box set, which features the newly remixed version of the double album, plus the Esher Demos.
However, putting the bonus material aside, the new 2018 remixed and remastered version is a vast and noticeable improvement over the previously released versions and remasters of The Beatles. Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell have once again outdone themselves with this marvelous new stereo remix. Never before have favorites “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Helter Skelter” sounded so good. For skeptics wondering if you need to buy yet another copy of the “The White Album,” the answer is astoundingly yes!
Personally, I chose to skip the super deluxe box set and opted for the 3-CD version, as I don’t need to own every alternate take or demo version of “The White Album” tracks. While the outtakes are certainly interesting and enjoyable, after streaming the super deluxe version, I’m satisfied I made the correct choice in purchasing the 3-disc edition. Now, bring on the super deluxe box set of Abbey Road.