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Love is the latest in a long line of Beatles re-releases, with a twist. Produced by George Martin, along with his son Giles, this was made to be the soundtrack to the latest Cirque du Soleil show. Cirque du Soleil, for those unaware, is a French "human circus" for want of a better term. While I've never seen a Cirque du Soleil performance live, I have seem performances on television, and they are quite entertaining. As they are quite creative and very enjoyable visually, it seems a natural that they would want an equally creative and entertaining soundtrack for their latest production.
The twist? Love is designed to be more of a sound collage than a soundtrack. The set opens with the version of "Because" from Anthology 3 with the birds from "Free As A Bird" mixed in. Further into the side, there is snippet of "Julia" from the The Beatles, mixed with the sound of a siren from "Revolution #9." I believe this to be a macabre reference to the death of John Lennon's mother Julia, who was killed by a hit and run motorist. Of course, it could be a reference to Lennon's own death. Soldering on, there is "gniK nuS" which is of course "Sun King"...backwards. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" has been stripped of the overdubs that filled out the song originally, and in its place are other sound effects from Sgt. Peppers. These are but a few examples of the "unprecedented approach" (according to The Beatles' website) to the Beatles catalog. The final result is not an album, soundtrack, medley, or even a collage- it's an abomination.
As much of a disappointment as Love is, there are a couple of bright moments. Side 3 features a very nice slightly stripped down version of "Revolution." The highlight of the album is a beautiful version of Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which opens side 4. The beginning of the track is very basic and intimate. Unfortunately, further in to the track there is added orchestration, which, had it been kept in check, would have been fine. Like the rest of the album, Martin and Martin didn't seem to know when to stop. That said, it is still quite nice. Two nice songs do not make a good (or even fair) double LP, they make a good double-sided single.The vinyl, pressed in Holland, is thick and perfectly flat. It is quiet as well, with very little surface noise over the two discs. As far as sound quality, the poor execution of the project is so distracting that it is difficult to tell if it sounds good or not. For someone who wants a Beatles compilation album, there are many choices available that can be recommended. Unfortunately, Love is not one of them. Listening to Love is like looking directly into the sun- it can be done, but why would one want to?