Only after yesterday’s assignment did I scroll down and see that disc 4 of the Revolver Super Deluxe Edition is just mono mixes — and as far as I can tell not new ones that Giles Martin cooked up, but the same old ones we’ve had for ages.

Many Beatle nerds will tell you that the mono versions of everything up to at least Sgt. Pepper were the “real” albums, and the stereo mixes were afterthoughts. Most people didn’t have stereos then, so mono had a much larger audience. And early stereo mixes were often clumsy, with different elements just arbitrarily thrown onto one channel or the other.

The goal of Giles Martin’s project here was to rectify that by creating an ideal stereo mix. Whether he succeeded in this, I don’t feel qualified to judge. I did notice just now that the mono mix of “She Said She Said” is terrible; it tries to cram too many elements into too little space. Martin’s version sounds a thousand times better, but is it a big improvement on the older stereo mix? I think maybe? This is all so subjective; Beatleology is not a hard science.

It’s funny that after all these years we mostly still listen to things in stereo; quadrophonic never really caught on (neither did Googlephonic), and surround sound is a gimmick used by people who enjoy spending too much money on their equipment. It may be that two channels is about all our brains are capable of processing — if, indeed, they are capable of processing that many. Some people, as I mentioned, still prefer mono.

“And Your Bird Can Sing” also sounds like crap in mono. “For No One” is much better, and it seems to be a pattern that Paul’s songs fare better than John’s. Maybe more time was lavished on them? Maybe John favored more complex soundscapes that tend to get squished in mono? “Dr. Robert” sounds a little tinny too.

I like that Revolver ends with “I Want to Tell You,” “Got to Get You into My Life,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” One George, one Paul, one John — and three very different vibes.

I’m listening to “TNK” right now and I have to admit, if you told me it was in stereo I’d believe you. It really sounds like things move between channels. Maybe it’s just the chair placement in my living room? Maybe there was something in my tea?

You know, in the time this blog was active I wrote almost 800 posts. Since then I’ve often felt like my ability to absorb further Beatle knowledge was at an end. But maybe it’s just… the end of the beginning?

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