Just when you thought Hard Days Night couldn't get any better for the Beatles, you get the first three songs on this record. This, to me, defines the early Beatles. You won't hear any of these tracks on the radio (or maybe Spotify?, I'm not sure), but this is about as classic Lennon/McCartney as you can find.
Find this stuff in mono, if you can. The first track is a Lennon classic, No Reply, that really doesn't get as much attention as it should. The middle eight is about as perfect as you can get for 1964; no one was doing this type of harmony then.
I'm a Loser has a wonderful mouth harp piece by Lennon, too. The chorus, I think, has always been quite catchy. Then there is Baby's in Black...
This is the most underrated Beatles track, perhaps of all time. I'd tell you to listen to it, but I found a recent video on Youtube that does a better job of explaining "whatever it is" is going on this song:
Right at 1:00, you get the whole Everly Brothers thing...then at 1:37, you see Harrison give a little wink to Lennon on that harmony. Those guys knew, way back then, didn't they?
The rest of side one quickly fades into covers; I've always been partial to Mr. Moonlight, only because of the Lennon vocals, but that's just me.
Side two has always been complicated to me. The way they finished off Hard Day's Night with I'll Be Back, you'll want more than Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby; but don't give up. There are plenty of gems on side two...with one gem that no one really ever talks about (unless you too, really really know the Beatles).
Everyone should know Eight Days a Week...a very solid tune. And their cover of Buddy's Words of Love, absolutely beautiful. I have loved that song since I was in 5th grade. What You're Doing has a good Rickenbacker thing going on, and I Don't Want to Spoil the Party has yet another Lennon vocal gem. Yet the real Beatles, I think, are hidden in Every Little Thing.
I know a few artists have mentioned this song too, but this song is timeless. Kettle drums, minor chords, an insane chorus where Lennon/McCartney are blowing up some crazy range harmonies...almost as if they were a jacked-up Everly Brothers, Wilson brothers, or even the Crickets. I can't think of even the Stones or Kinks hitting this type of intensity, that early on, in that chorus. I don't know...I'm biased, but it's fantastic.
These mono vinyls are something else. It's amazing to think this album is a few years away from being 60 years old. Yet when I play it on our record player, it sounds as fresh and vibrant as I remember it years ago when I was a kid, in our parent's basement. Unbelievable.
Thanks for checking this out...but honestly, if even curious about this album, check it out as soon as you can. This, I think, is more representative of this group than anything you will hear on Abbey Road or "Let it Be*. So yeah, enjoy!