Happiness is … the remastered Beatles’ White Album

Santa came early this year. Thank you FedEx for delivering The Beatles stereo boxed set today. Where does one start? I figured that the remastering would show itself best on the work I’m most familiar with, so I started here. Good choice. The audio is substantially clarified, the stereo separation outstanding. Most dramatic is the bottomless depth and virtuosity of Paul’s bass, and the extraordinary revelation of Ringo’s drums. You can hear the kick, the subtlety of the fills. Incredible.

I remember the vinyl as having longer pauses between the songs, but this remaster restores brilliant details to those passages, making the whole package far more cohesive. The booklet’s notes from George Martin said the final session was a 24-hour marathon in which he and the band sequenced the sings and worked on the transitions and cross fades. I wouldn’t have believed it until listening to this package.

Prime cuts: The acoustic tunes, such as Blackbird and Julia, come through with a new level of intimacy. Dear Prudence brings a tear to the eye. The construction of Revolution #9, its sonic sweep … and to think that they created this on an eight-track? I’m running out of superlatives!  I’m So Tired: you can actually hear the mumbling at the end of the song. (I still don’t know what’s being said.) Other standouts: the overlooked tunes Long, Long, Long; Savoy Truffle; Cry Baby Cry.

Wow. There is much to be discovered in this massive collection.