Remastered albums and Rockband bring back Beatlemania

By Tim Klepp

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Beatlemania is back.  Nearly 40 years after the Beatles’ untimely breakup, the Fab Four are once again atop the charts with 235,000 CD sales this week.  British record company EMI released remastered copies of all 12 of the Beatles albums Sept. 9.  Coinciding with this release was The Beatles: Rockband, which allows fans to play the group’s top hits in their very own living room.EMI released the CDs in a box set that includes Past Masters: Volume One and Two as well as a documentary reliving the origins of the legendary group.  For those who don’t want to spend the $259.98 for the full package, the individual CDs are also available for $18.99, although they will not be Blu-ray compatible.

Viacom released The Beatles: Rockband earlier this month.  Photo courtesy of cnet.com.

Viacom released The Beatles: Rockband earlier this month. Photo courtesy of cnet.com.

But is the hefty price tag worth it?

The remastered edition has a lucid and natural sound with a clear bass.  While at first listen, the pumping bass and louder sound can be appealing, but when comparing the new releases to the old discs released in 1987, the difference is barely noticeable.  The clean sound is slightly apparent when listening to the discs on hi-definition speakers; however these qualities disappear with a cheaper stereo or set of headphones.  A new generation of fans is likely fueling the new release’s success rather than any dramatic changes to the music quality.

On the same day of the CD release, Viacom launched The Beatles: Rockband.  The third installment in the video game series offers fans 45 Beatles songs with detailed animation.  Full albums, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, will be released as downloadable content in the near future.

The Beatles first went digital in 1987.  Though relatively late to reach the new format, the reissued CDs were hugely popular, introducing a new generation into what defined much of their parents’ culture.  Record executives hope that a similar effect will occur with the new release and boost the stagnant music industry.

“My grandma put on Sgt. Pepper when I was five, and ever since then it’s been all I listen to,” senior Ciara Trammel says.  “Their music can be really appealing to all generations.”

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