The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
by Caleb Geer, Ad Manager/Web Editor • April 27, 2024

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life when I showed up on campus in the middle of the pandemic almost four years ago. I knew...

Looking back at my time at Simpson
Looking back at my time at Simpson
by Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager • April 27, 2024

It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
by Jenna Prather, Editor-in-chief • April 27, 2024

Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

Review: The Beatles’ new single

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The Beatles first gained popularity in the early 1960s, now they’re topping the charts again 60 years later

 The Beatles’ new single, ‘Now and Then,’  out for a couple of weeks, has generated a wholly misplaced tide of negative publicity. All of which misses the point.

   Teased last summer by Paul McCartney, ‘Now and Then’ is the final original song the world will get from the Fab Four, more than 60 years after they skyrocketed to fame in England and went viral in the United States. 

   So think about the point, which is simple: It’s 2023. There’s a new Beatles record out. What’s wrong with that?

   Well, plenty, say critics. For one, they say John Lennon would have hated the 2023 production of this song. Further, George Harrison allegedly dismissed the song as ‘f-ing twaddle’ when he, McCartney and Starr first tried to record it in the mid-1990s.

   The critics say Lennon was running away from the Beatles legend in 1978 when he recorded the demo of ‘Now and Then’ in his apartment at the Dakota in New York, outside of which he would be murdered a couple of years later. That criticism assumes, of course, that Lennon would always hate being part of the greatest musical act in history. 

   Which is not necessarily true. It’s hard to believe the Beatles would never have reunited had Lennon not been gunned down. It’s silly to think that he wouldn’t have brought this song to McCartney, Harrison and Starr had they reconciled and tried to make music again.

   Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, certainly didn’t think ‘Now and Then’ shouldn’t be a Beatles song when she presented the demo cassette to McCartney after Lennon’s death, asking him to do what he could with it. 

   By the 1990s, when the three surviving Beatles were working on the ‘Beatles Anthology’ documentary series, McCartney, Harrison and Starr worked with recordings of Lennon vocals to produce new music for the world. The results then were ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’ — hardly parts of the Beatles canon today, but still good enough to bring smiles to hundreds of millions of fans around the world. 

   Like many Beatles fans, I’d mostly forgotten both songs until I taught a Beatles at 60 course last May Term. Were they must-listens? Hardly. But they were admirable efforts at recovering the magic that then was 25 years in the past.

   Both songs sounded like what the Beatles would have been had they still been recording in the final decade of the 20th Century. Hardly ‘Love Me Do,’ mind you, but still better than 99 percent of what was coming out at the time.

   Another 25 years go by, and film director Peter Jackson breathed new life into the ‘Now and Then’ project with technology that permitted Lennon’s vocals to be extracted from the single-track recording with an upright piano muddying the sound. Harrison had cut guitar parts for the song before his death from cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr went into the studio last year with Giles Martin, the son of the late and legendary Beatles’ producer George Martin, adding strings and artificial intelligence to make a 1978 vocal sound as if it had been sung in 2023.

   To reiterate, ‘Now and Then’ will never be mistaken for the Beatles’ greatest work. But it’s well recorded and produced, and there’s no doubt that the world should embrace a song coming from the world’s greatest cultural force of the past 60 years.

   “Now and then, I miss you,” Lennon sings in the song’s chorus. In a world seemingly gone mad with violence and authoritarianism, I miss the Beatles much more than every ‘now and then.’

   So I repeat: It’s 2023. There’s a new Beatles song out, the last original work we ever will hear from them. What could possibly be wrong with that?

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