Make it pop! Do we really need the Beatles to sound new?

Tout sur les Beatles

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Classic songs are now remastered to compete with contemporary pop on streaming services. But what do we lose when Yellow Submarine is ‘de-mixed’ for generation playlist?

Yellow Submarine, Ringo Starr’s turn on Revolver, has been a gateway for children into the music of the Beatles since its release in 1966. A new reissue of the album makes that relationship more explicit: Giles Martin, son of original producer George and the sonic custodian of the Beatles catalogue, says his “de-mixing” of the album – using AI to separate individual instruments that were originally squeezed together on four tracks – was done in part with a playlist-listening younger audience in mind.

Martin recently told Variety that his teenage children listen to old and new music side by side, veering from Fleetwood Mac to Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. “[W]hat I want to make sure is that when people hear the Beatles, that it has the same dynamic as the other stuff they’re listening to,” he said. He added that 1969’s Abbey Road, recorded on a then luxuriant eight tracks and the first Beatles album not released in mono, stands out from the band’s catalogue as “it sounds more hi-fi than the other Beatles albums”. This might be, he proposes, one reason why it performs so well on streaming services.

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