1, The Beatles; Capitol/EMI

Paul Wong
Brand new heavies – the Beatles. (Courtesy of Apple)

Originally printed November 30, 2000

Brand new Brit-pop quartet the Beatles enter a music market flooded with pre-fab boy bands with an attempt to hang with popsmart rockstars and countrymen Blur and Radiohead, they have released their pretentiously-titled debut album 1.

Borrowing heavily from the Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five, the Beatles have jumped on the British bandwagon, hastily following in the footsteps of Travis and Oasis. The Gallagher sound-a-likes borrow hooks, melodies and even hairstyles from the ’95 Oasis release What’s the Story Morning Glory?

“Love Me Do” delves deep into the land of “pop” music with simple chord changes and catchy lyrics. The ambitious “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is a silly long song geared more toward the affections of your parents and their parents than this generation.

Complementary songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney pen a few sharp tunes of their own, but pale in comparison to the genius of the brothers Gallagher. “Hey Jude” drags endlessly through a chorus of “na na, na, na-na-na-na” redundantly droning on for minutes on end. There is no way this song will ever be played on radio.

Liam-esque front man John Lennon lacks the beer-swilling swagger of his Liam, but sports the Gallagher trademark sunglasses, as well as the ear for a sweet melody.

“Help!” marks the beginning of the change within the record, as giddy titles and melodies shift to more abstract concepts; clearly marking a period of development and growth during the recording of 1.

“Yellow Submarine” lends singing duties to another set of pipes, with drummer Ringo Starr sending his vocals to the front. Starr’s no-nonsense approach is a fresh-faced change from the pitch-shifting dueling harmonies of Lennon and McCartney.

“Hell0, Goodbye,” awash in three-part harmonies and lyrics about coming and going speaks volumes for the pedestrian antics and songcrafting the Beatles put on their debut record.

The four mop-top Liverpudlians are sure to elicit screams from female fans in the midst of the boy band craze, and the leather-clad Backstreet Boys may have something to fear in this suit-wearing pop quartet. Despite the all-too-clear nods to the Police and Oasis, the Beatles have proven themselves to be more than brit-pop rip-offs. Despite more often than not relying on generic musical staples, the 27 songs on 1 very possibly could top the charts if they are ever released as singles.

Grade: A

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