The Beatles: Revolver Special Edition (Super Deluxe) review | Annie Zaleski's album of the week

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(Apple Corps Ltd/Capitol/UMe)
New details tease out songs’ deeper meanings and reveal their transformational journeys in this expanded, remixed and remastered album

The Beatles’ career has been so exhaustively documented, chronicled and bootlegged, it can feel as if there aren’t many surprises left to uncover. But the footage in Peter Jackson’s recent documentary on the band, Get Back, certainly proved that assumption wrong … particularly the mind-blowing jam session where the band conjure the documentary’s title track out of thin air. Knowing the Beatles possessed unparalleled studio chemistry is one thing; seeing them nonchalantly chisel away at a musical idea and create greatness in real time is another thing entirely.

A bonus disc on the new expanded, remixed and remastered box set of 1966’s Revolver offers an even more transformative experience: a jaw-dropping sequence of Yellow Submarine work tapes traces the song’s evolution from a fragile, sad wisp sung by John Lennon to its later iteration as a Ringo Starr-directed psych-pop goof. That the band steered Yellow Submarine from morose folk trifle to boisterous stoner singalong seems improbable, but the tapes don’t lie: through a combination of focused acoustic woodshedding and whimsical studio risks, the band arrived at the more familiar, upbeat Yellow Submarine.

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