The Beatles

When Sgt. Pepper first came out, one reviewer called it "George Martin's finest hour." He's had several cracks at cheapening that high-water mark, from producing the disastrous Sgt. Pepper movie soundtrack to the George Martin: In My Life album on which he gave everyone from Sean Connery to Goldie Hawn a chance to help him ruin a Beatles tune. But with this Cirque du Soleil soundtrack, we're seeing The Beatles through Sir George Martin's eyes like never before, as Martin gets a shot at overproducing something from Let It Be. Once you've heard "Get Back" with the orchestral rush from "A Day in the Life" and Ringo's drum solo from "The End," Phil Spector seems like a guru of self-control. Martin does put the technological advances that have been made since the original sessions to good use, like splicing together the two different sections of "Strawberry Fields Forever" without slowing one down so they're in the same key. And this is the first-ever version of "I Am the Walrus" that doesn't revert to mono because of all the bouncing down of tracks you had to do back then to glop on a male chorus and radio signals. Now, as Capitol might say, it's in "Full Dementia Stereo."


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