The quality of this new 2017 remastering moved me to tears: dancing; thinking; reflecting; astral projecting. From the album’s opening to the end of “Getting Better” is intensive feel-good optimism proceeded by intensive introspection (which ultimately climaxes back into dancing anyways (“Within You Without You”). At one point we astral project into the minds of our parents (“She’s Leaving Home”) only to hover over a future image of ourselves, wondering if we’ll always be taken care of (“When I’m Sixty-Four”).
This stereo remaster takes what was already extremely lucid to a downright four-dimensional place. Any fan of the mono originals of each album, such as myself, would be proud to stand beside this hyper-actualized vision that only The Beatles could bring to life. It just feels like hearing their original ideas, as they were inside-their-heads (without any limitations of 1960’s technology).
A large portion of how the band feels about being The Beatles is directly addressed in the finale — “A Day In The Life”. John Lennon reveals that the narrative is not being told based upon first-hand experience — he saw a photograph of a dead man at a traffic light in a stopped car, just as the light had turned green (“He didn’t notice that the lights had changed”). Lennon tells the narrative in such a way that it sounds as if he is living a day in the life of that photograph (only to reveal at the end, that he’s just talking about a photograph).
This is proceeded by another verse where he simply describes wanting to see a film that’s gotten bad reviews (‘the crowds of people turned away’) since he had “read the book”. It’s interesting that on both verses, Lennon’s narrative is based around escapism into another’s perspective — whether the photograph or a film. This escapism is where I feel Sgt. Pepper’s resonates with today’s culture.
“A Day In The Life” blasts off once again into an instrumental crescendo — this time in 2017-remastered-glory, at full volume it’s almost as intense as a DMT trip. Paul McCartney snaps us back with a very literal, day-in-the-life: He wakes up; gets ready; has a smoke and spaces out a bit. Both narratives suggest that there is nothing all that special about the men behind the Beatles moniker — what’s clearly important to both us and them is making something special for to listen to.
The Beatles turn dense sound and vibes into easy-going and carefree sing-alongs. This is in-part due to lyrics like those described above in “A Day In The Life”, but the sentiment is found all throughout the album — there’s a resilient levity which never subsides. They sometimes sing light because the music is heavy — as is the life it was drawn from.
The album title references those who, prior to listening, felt alone in some capacity. Maybe you just needed levity in the background; to break the tension; to kickstart ambition (petty and great). Are you feeling alone? Join the club. Because The Lonely Hearts Club has its own band that performs a world-famous, all-inclusive show — and the Beatles directed the soundtrack. The new remastering feels like it’s happening for the very first time.
Stereo Version available here.