Beatles For Sale - Parlophone 1964
The album title and the bandmembers' own slightly weary attitudes seem to support this theory. However, I will choose to focus on the music which in no way seems tired to me.
The group has in this album perfected their well-known expression, and their own songs are stronger than ever. You could object and say that several of the six cover songs might not be among the most interesting Beatles recordings; and I would not completely disagree.
Like on the later "Rubber Soul" several numbers are characterized by the acoustic guitar, which gives them a crisp but also a soft sound, on a few songs almost folkish.
The great sound and production are also help to demonstrate the group's lush harmonies and their individual vocally strengths.
John Lennon was at this point the group's undisputed vocal center - with Paul and George predominantly as harmonies. A quick review shows that Lennon's takes the lead vocals on "No Reply," "I'm a Loser," "Rock and Roll Music", "Mr Moonlight", "Eight Days a Week," "Every Little Thing" and "I Don't Want to spoil the Party ". On the duets "Baby's in Black" and "Words of Love" it is Lennon you hear most clearly, and even on McCartney's "I'll Follow the Sun" he sings the first verse lines.
There was certainly good reason to leave Lennon lead-vocals. His voice was incredibly powerful these years, and his interpretations of rock and roll songs like "Rock and Roll Music" is nothing less than overwhelming.
McCartney sings "Kansas City", and actually does it almost equally; that track as such does not work as well as the aforementioned is another matter. On the Beatles originals McCartney actually only has lead-vocals on "I'll Follow the Sun" and "What You're Doing".
Ringo and George each sing a Carl Perkins number, a thing of which George clearly comes out best.
For me, the album's highlights are many, but especially the two delicate acoustics "No Reply" and "Every Little Thing", are tracks you never grow tired of. McCartney's "I'll Follow the Sun" and "What You're Doing" are almost as good. "Eight Days Week" is a classic that could have been a chart topper, but which was hidden on the back of the stunning "Rock and Roll Music". "I'm a Loser" can almost be regarded as a precursor to the "Help" and "Baby's Black" and "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" are just good numbers. Among the cover versions, besides "Rock and Roll Music," "Words of Love" comes out the best (it actually sounds like a Beatles' song). "Mr Moonlight", "Kansas City", "Honey Don't" and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" are solid recordings but numbers you could have done without if necessary.