"Keeping Lugo Connected"

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"Keeping Lugo Connected"

Quest News

"Keeping Lugo Connected"

Quest News

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Now and Then… The Beatles May Not Be Enough

The Beatles’ newest single, and last, doesn’t compare.
Nickolas Morales
DLHS senior Marcos Ramirez watching the ‘Now And Then’ music video

Two weeks ago, on November 2nd 2023, The Beatles released “Now and Then,” their first song in 27 years. After giving it time to settle, I think I can finally articulate my problem with the track, but to properly do so: you’ll need to know a bit of The Beatles history first.

In the 90s, the surviving Beatles– George, Paul, Ringo- collaborated on The Beatles Anthology project which was a retrospective multi-media project that released many new demos and session recordings from the band’s discography. Eventually, The Beatles decided to reunite and record the new songs “Free as a Bird” and “Real Loveto” to promote the project. Judging that they could not create a song without input from the now deceased partner John Lennon, The Beatles decided to record these new songs from old demos John Lennon had recorded. 

During the sessions that produced “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” a third song was momentarily planned from John’s demos but was abandoned for two reasons. One, the demo was recorded on a boom box, and thus various ticks and noises hampered any attempt at producing the song. Two, George Harrison reportedly hated the song saying, “it’s f*** rubbish,” and thus vetoed it. 

This song was eventually finished, after new technology created for the docu-series The Beatles Get Back (2021) was able to isolate the vocals from John’s original demo- in effect restoring it. And thus, “Now and Thenwas created.

To get into the review, “Now and Then” doesn’t work for me. This entirely has to do with the song’s direction and production, especially when compared to the other post Beatles songs such as “Real Love” and “Free as A Bird” which both achieve far greater effects than Now and Then.  

Real Love” and “Free as A Bird” were produced to be “Beatlesque,” as McCartney said, and it shows. Both tracks, “Free as a Bird” in particular, feel as though The Beatles had a lot of fun. For both, there’s a fair amount of reverb applied to the drums, with modulated voices in “Real Love” and mixes used to muddle the piano between the guitar, the drums, and vocals which work to create a psychedelic yet nostalgic feeling. 

The songs simultaneously evoke the sounds of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” whilst also featuring production closer to that of the sound of Abbey Road, and guitar riffs that feel straight out of the more folky stylings of Harrison’s White Album contribution. The songs feel timeless, being composed of techniques and styles from every Beatles era and this is where “Now and Then” struggles.

In “Now and Then,” Paul’s modern production biases can definitely be felt with the overbearing String Arrangements, piano, and safe-ness. New McCartney records such as New and McCartney III exemplify my problem with “Now and Then.The song’s production and arrangements are uninteresting, simple, predictable, and have too little experimentation and fun- both things which mark many of the best Beatles records.

The song feels over-produced, lacking the spirit of The Beatles. The song, is in effect, an ode to the band but that feels more disingenuous when it’s made so long after the fact and carries what feels like very little Beatles DNA.

You may like the song, and that’s alright. It’s clear by now, I don’t like this song but it really isn’t horrible. To me, it simply isn’t The Beatles. It’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr making a song about missing The Beatles. It just feels partly disingenuous to me when there is so much marketing and so much push to really tell everyone “This is the last Beatles song, please listen,” when at the end of the day it isn’t The Beatles anymore.

To me, the band ended with the song simply titled “The End.” The last track on Abbey Road, and the last song they ever recorded together before breaking up as a band.

“Now And Then” may be the last The Beatles song, but it isn’t Beatle-esque. 

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About the Contributor
Nickolas Morales, Features Writer
Nickolas Morales, better known as Nicko, is a first year Quest News journalist of the 2023-2024 School Year. He is a student athlete,  joining the tennis team his sophomore year and the varsity tennis team his junior year. Academically he has taken 6 AP classes throughout highschool so far, and is taking another 4 senior year. Outside of school, Nicko is an avid enjoyer of music, science fiction, and movies. He hopes to major in film at a top film school. He currently writes many essays about film and is planning to do more. He's additionally vice president of mathletes and former co-president of Chess Club. 

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