Friday, March 29, 2013

Beatles -- "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing" (2006)

Would it be too much
To ask of you
What you're doing to me?

I'm not sure I ever heard "What You're Doing" until I listened to Love, a remix-mashup album of Beatles music by legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son, Giles.

Love was created to be the soundtrack for a Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, which opened in June 2006 in a specially-built theater at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas and has been running there ever since.

Here's a trailer for Cirque du Soleil's Love that should give you an idea of what the show is like:

The Love album is almost 79 minutes long and incorporates elements from 130 Beatles songs.  Some of its tracks consist primarily of a single Beatles song, always remixed and often shortened, but sounding relatively similar to the original.  

But there are several tracks (like this one) that splice together two or three songs, throw in brief snippets from other songs -- perhaps just a single guitar chord -- and are more accurately described as mashups, although they differ in significant respects from the music created by mashup artists like Girl Talk or Super Mash Bros.  (The mashups in Love aren't quite as mashed up as most regular mashups are.)

While this track is titled "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing," the actual order is "Drive My Car/What You're Doing/The Word."

The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas
Things kick off with a verse and chorus from "Drive My Car."  The verse is relatively unaltered, but the chorus is enhanced with some "Savoy Truffle" horns.

Next comes part of the guitar solo from "Taxman," which segues almost seamlessly into the guitar solo from "Drive My Car."  (One reviewer called it a "sleight-of-hand edit," and that is a very apt description.)  Fifty seconds into the song, you're ready for the second verse of "Drive My Car," but instead you get the first verse of "What You're Doing" -- once again, the transition is almost seamless.

At about 1:23 if the track, there's a brief drums-and-handclaps bridge that drops us into the middle of Rubber Soul's "The Word."  We get another taste of those "Savoy Truffle" horns before the track fades to black less than two minutes after it begins.

Here's a little background on "What You're Doing."  It was released in the United States in 1965.  It led off the second side of Beatles VI, which was actually the Beatles' seventh Capitol Records album.  (The group had previously released two other albums on other labels in the U.S.)

Beatles VI is a real mishmash of an album -- it included covers of songs by Buddy Holly, Larry Williams, and Lieber and Stoller, and several originals that had been released in the UK the previous year.  The only really well-known Lennon-McCartney song on the album is "Eight Days a Week."

Love is an album that any Beatles fan should own.  Unlike covers of Beatles songs recorded by other artists, you're getting the real McCoy here -- but a little different from what you're used to hearing.  The majority of the tracks are more remix than mashup, and much of the remixing is relatively subtle.  

Sir George Martin with his son, Giles
But just about every remixed song sounds better to me than the original.  Perhaps that's because a sophisticated producer like Martin has more electronic tools at his command these days than he did 40-odd years ago.

Or maybe it's because we've heard the originals so many times that even a subtly different mix sounds fresh.

Here's "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing":

Here's a link you can use to buy the Love CD from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. What a coincidence--last month there was a Beatles tribute show in North Hollywood (the one that conflicted with a railway museum event) and "Drive My Car" was the song that Evie covered. And I think her new Facebook photo was taken at that show.