Artist(s): The Beatles
Release Date: 08/06/1965
Edited Version Available: Yes
Parental Advisory: No
Other Choices: A Hard Day's Night Soundtrack, The Beatles: 1, Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road
Common Sense Says: Fun movie songs, "Yesterday," and other Beatles favorites.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that the soundtrack to the Beatles' second, epically silly film Help! dodges all those pesky issues that have caused the film to age ungracefully (e.g. the cartoonish ethnic stereotypes) and just delivers the great songs, including many that have since become standards for generations of artists. Besides such gems from the movie as "Help!" and "Ticket to Ride," there's the all-time-classic ballad "Yesterday," as well as some fun country-tinged cover tunes.
- Families can talk about how so many songs on this album ("Yesterday," "Ticket to Ride") have been recorded by other artists and what makes other artists like them.
- "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is the beginning of a new style of songwriting for John Lennon. Do you like the experiment? Are there later Beatles tunes you think are similar?
- The modern music video owes a lot to the performance scenes in this movie. What's your favorite?
What's the story?
Containing seven songs from the movie and seven more for good measure, Help! is topnotch Beatles fun, and also offers a good sample of their styles. Besides the title song, "Ticket to Ride" and the perennial classic "Yesterday," the album includes two pleasantly lightweight songs ("I Need You," "You Like Me Too Much") by George Harrison, two country-tinged numbers (Paul on the Lennon/McCartney "I've Just Seen a Face" and Ringo on a cover of "Act Naturally"), and John tearing up the place with retro-rocker "Dizzy Miss Lizzie."
Is it any good?
In the year between their two movies, A Hard Day's Night and Help!, the Beatles evolved dramatically as songwriters and musicians, and the songs on the Help! soundtrack show it. While there are plenty of bouncy pop singles in their earlier style, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney rise to new heights as thoughtful lyricists and clever arrangers, and suddenly the basic rock band is incorporating everything from East Indian instruments to string quartets in their recordings. Not every track is as stellar as "Yesterday," "Ticket to Ride" and "Help!," but they're all appealing. The 2009 remastered recording's sound quality is stunning, and it adds a short making-of documentary video.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Most of these songs don't stray from the relatively upbeat territory of the pop music of the day, celebrating happy romantic relationships and complaining about not-so-happy ones. But this album marks the point at which Lennon and McCartney started looking at the complexities a bit more: in "Help!" the desperate narrator has learned the hard way that he needs his loved one after all; "You're Going to Lose That Girl" warns a careless lover to change his ways or "I'll make a point of taking her away from you."
Educational Value: A good sample of Beatles styles, from ballads ("Yesterday") to rockers ("Dizzy Miss Lizzie") and various genres of music, including two country-tinged numbers (Paul on the Lennon/McCartney "I've Just Seen a Face" and Ringo on a cover of "Act Naturally").
Role Models: Most of the songs' characters are navigating the perils of romance in a positive, ethical manner, though often ("Yesterday," "The Night Before") with a sense of betrayal by the love who did them wrong. A few, as in "Help!" and "You're Going to Lose That Girl" distinguish themselves, by seeing something wrong (whether in their own life or someone else's) and doing something about it.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Not an issue
Sexy stuff: "Ticket to Ride" has the lyric "She said that living with me was bringing her down/ She would never be free when I was around."
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: In the movie, yes, but not in the songs.