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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

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A Sentimental Remaster of The Beatles “Now and Then”

Legendary Band Creates an Ode to John Lennon
Students+around+campus+tune+in+to+listen+to+the+new+Beatles+hit%2C+honoring+John+Lennon+and+George+Harrison.
Gracie Luzarraga
Students around campus tune in to listen to the new Beatles hit, honoring John Lennon and George Harrison.

Artist: The Beatles

Single Title: ‘Now and Then’

Release Date: Nov. 2, 2023

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Genre: Psychedelic Soft Rock

Composed of four talented musicians, The Beatles band was formed in 1960 in Liverpool, England. Gaining admiration internationally among younger generations, the band’s songs are among the most recorded as of 2009. They were the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide.

The Beatles recently released “Now and Then”. Regarded as “the last Beatles song,” it was included on a double A-side record alongside a new stereo version of the group’s first single, “Love Me Do”. A week later, the extended reissues of the 1973 compilations, the Red Album and the Blue Album, were released, featuring both songs.

John Lennon composed and recorded the psychedelic soft rock ballad “Now and Then” as a solo home tape in 1977, but it was left unfinished. Considered a possible third Beatles reunion single after Lennon’s death in 1980, “Real Love” and “Free as a Bird” were both based on Lennon’s tapes and then released as part of The Beatles Anthology, a 1995-1996 revisionary work. It was left untouched for almost thirty years, and finally finished by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, his surviving bandmates. The musicians used guitar parts and overdubs by George Harrison from the abandoned 1955 sessions; he then passed away in 2001.

“Aside from the fact that it was released as this iconic last Beatles song, I actually found the song to be quite good standing on its own. It has a nostalgic quality to it that makes it fit in with only a very small pool of music. I found that it had a great sound to it, and I was very pleasantly surprised when I first listened,” senior Steffi Sarmiento-Mena said.

Peter Jackson, an artificial intelligence technician, hired machine learning-assisted audio restoration technology to extract John Lennon’s voice from the demo for his 2021 documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The “Now and Then” music video was also directed by Jackson. This technology allowed him to include clips of Lennon’s voice in the track as if he were there.

Critics praised the song, saying it was a fitting way for the Beatles to end their career. It peaked at number one in the United Kingdom, German and Austrian charts and made it to the top ten in the US, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. It is the only Beatles number one single in the UK that is not credited to the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, the band’s original songwriters.

“Although I normally denounce AI, after watching the mini documentary that was about the process of making this sound, I found that the band’s consensus was to use AI purely to retrieve Lennon’s voice. I found that it added much more than it could have ever taken away from the quality of the song,” sophomore Mathew Zapata said.

The recently released song by The Beatles attracted an expecting audience, as it was the group’s first new material in a long time. While the song does not reach the legendary status of The Beatles’ body of work, it is a pleasant surprise that fulfills the remaining story for the band.

Fans will be enthralled from the beginning as the song opens with a familiar Beatles count-in and piano chords reminiscent of John Lennon, followed by his instantly recognizable vocal melody. Paul McCartney’s distinctive bass-line and Ringo Starr’s percussion then join along with delicate three-part harmonies and a full orchestra. George Harrison is honored with a brief slide guitar solo.

McCartney also provides extra vocals to support Lennon’s lead singing, which seems weakened on the recording. It can reasonably be said that the band created the song as fantastically as possible, as it sounds similar in style and quality to past collaborations like “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.”

“I would have never thought the song to be a newer one, as it sounds just like their old music. It is incredible to be able to hear his voice again even though he is no longer here, and it makes limits for future ideas endless,” sophomore Thena Barzola said.

A critical perspective might note that, rather than sounding like a finished song, it sounds more like a rough and unfinished sketch that has been meticulously rebuilt and decorated. This is particularly supported by the lyrics. Lines like “I know it’s true, it’s all because of you/ And if I make it through, it’s all because of you” bring to mind the hurried lyrics of early Beatles songs as well as the carefree methods of the group. It is difficult to imagine Lennon being happy with those lyrics. Similarly, it is evident that the song has been reverse-engineered into a traditional form, since in the video, McCartney can be heard organizing the various sections.

“I wouldn’t really say this song ends the Beatles legacy. I feel like the song is a small add-on to an already completed legacy from long ago. I find the song to be fitting for its purpose. It encapsulates so much about the Beatles without really adding anything we didn’t already know about them,” sophomore Danna Miranda said.

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About the Contributor
Gracie Luzarraga, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gracie Luzarraga is a sophomore at Coral Gables Senior High and is a part of the International Baccalaureate program. She is a first-year member of Cavsconnect and very excited to be part of the staff and see how her writing improves throughout this school year. Gracie is very ambitious and loves trying out new things as well as traveling to unfamiliar places. She values writing about her experiences, which is where her passion for writing comes from. She is a member of the swim team and various clubs. Outside of school, she enjoys spending most of her time under the sun, at the beach, baking or reading a good book. Gracie hopes to make the most of her sophomore year by giving back to the community and being as active as she can in the student body. She hopes to pursue a career in the health field one day and work with kids. Overall, Gracie looks forward to this school year and plans to continue to strive as a student.
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