Beatles Mania seems to be sweeping the nation again, but in pieces.
Paul McCartney released a new album, several contemporary artists collaborated to cover John Lennon tunes that created the “Instant Karma” album for Amnesty International, and Lennon’s songs were also re-released on iTunes. The full Beatles catalogue has yet to be released on iTunes.
“Across the Universe,” a new movie by director Julie Taymor, will open nationwide Sept. 21. The movie, though I haven’t seen it yet, is a rock opera of sorts, although probably not like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” a gem from 1978 with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees. This movie is a coming of age film with characters named Beatles allusions Jude and Lucy. I’m excited to see the film, but I’ve already gotten my hands on the soundtrack and it’s phenomenal.
The soundtrack consists of Beatles remakes mostly by characters in the film. Jim Sturgess plays Jude and does well with songs like “All My Loving,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “Something.” His voice is rough and lacks any kind of range, but is clear and melancholy. It almost sounds like Ewan McGregor took on these songs yet he lacks the belting power McGregor showed off in Moulin Rouge. Evan Rachel Wood does incredibly well with songs like “Blackbird.” I am not entirely familiar with the actress, but she does have a great voice and brings a fresh perspective to the songs.
My favorite song on the whole album is “Let it Be.” This song is one of my favorite Beatles songs, but the full out gospel treatment of the song gives it an entirely new quality. The original is still good, but this version almost seems like how the song was mean to be sung.
If the movie is fantastic, the songs will probably carry a lot more meaning. Even if the movie is mediocre, the soundtrack is an appealing album. Either way, some songs in the Beatles catalog has proved their staying power, versatility and ability to tell a story.