Album released this week in… 1964: The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night
AFTER the initial massive success from albums Please Please Me and With The Beatles, John, Paul, George and Ringo carried on with their mannerisms of cutesy, fun-loving bachelors (except Lennon, who was married at the time). With a new album came the fab four’s first steps into the film industry. As a result, A Hard Day’s Night acted as both a soundtrack and studio album. Stylistically, AHDN doesn’t particularly break the trend from the Beatles’ earlier. In fact, it’s astounding to think that in just two years the group would begin breaking new ground on Rubber Soul.
With A Hard Day’s Night, the group crooned through 13 love songs evolving their personas from more than just lover boys to heart broken, wounded Romantics. In fact, the entire premise of the album revolves around wounded hearts. Take the track ‘If I Fell’, where the character is asking a girl if she will love him more than his previous love, who broke his heart. Then there’s ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, where the narrator insists his affection cannot be attained through consumerism. Are you noticing the theme? In that sense at least The Beatles are somewhat like One Direction.
There are still some oddities of songs, perhaps which reflect the time they were written. ‘You Can’t Do That’ is actually quite a nasty a song. In it, the narrator states that he will leave a girl if he sees her talking to another male, instructing her that ‘you can’t do that’. It’s a similar situation in ‘I’ll Cry Instead’; the title may give off the feeling of a depressed lover, but in actual fact some of the lyrics give off the impression of a bit of a vicious character. Lennon described some of the lyrics as being autobiographical, which, if you’re familiar with his history, makes a fair amount of sense.
But even with the lyrical content, every song on this album is a hit. From the opening chord of George Harrison’s 12-string to the ending harmonies of ‘I’ll Be Back’, The Beatles effortlessly give the listener classic Pop Rock all the way through. Every song feels like a classic, most notably ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘And I Love Her’ and ‘Any Time At All’, which have been well played over the years. A Hard Day’s Night built on what the Beatles had already set the foundations for, creating some timeless Pop music that would be copied and replicated over the decades.
As a Pop album, A Hard Day’s Night is a damn good album, even with the slightly off lyrical content, but it’s not the best in the Beatles’ discography. It lacks the diversity and experimentalism of say, Sgt Pepper’s, The White Album and Revolver, a factor that made the Beatles what they were. Sure, most bands would kill for some of the guitar work found on A Hard Day’s Night, but do any of these songs really hold a candle to ‘A Day In The Life’? Or ‘Dear Prudence’? No, they don’t.
A Hard Day’s Night has aged badly in some respects and certainly doesn’t define the Beatles’ legacy as well as later albums. But it remains enjoyable nevertheless, with some very catchy riffs that remain iconic to this day. Without the help of this album, we wouldn’t have modern Pop music as we know it. Whether that’s a good thing or not is your opinion, but it’s hard to deny the effect of A Hard Day’s Night has had on the world.
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