Album Review: The Minnesota Beatle Project Vol.3

by Jim McGuinn

With repetition, it's easy to take things for granted. The Office will always be funny. Radiohead will always make great albums. Zooey Deschanel will always be cute.

But actually, maintaining consistency and awesomeness over the long haul is not easy. But the Minnesota Beatle Project has done it. Now back with Volume 3 of the series, it's amazing to hear the stylistic diversity and quality of the artists of our community who covered songs of The Beatles this time, as well as the selections from the Beatles' seemingly never-ending well of great songs. Turns out those mop tops wrote a few gems, and while the third edition of, say, a tribute to Colour Me Badd might not be all that interesting, like the first two, MBP3 is chock full of well known hits like "Help" and "Here Comes the Sun," along with some lesser known Beatles songs "Love You To" and "Long, Long, Long."

It's a little intimidating for artists to approach how to cover the Beatles. There's a continuum between "bringing the band to the song" on one end, and "bringing the song to the band" on the other. Some do the former, with faithful versions that celebrate the songs but don't stray far from the originals in terms of presentation or instrumentation — like Motion City Soundtrack's "Here Comes the Sun" or The Arms Akimbo (whose original music is rooted in Merseybeat) doing "You Wont' See Me." Others take more risk and re-imagine the songs in their own styles. Tapes 'n' Tapes reach for an obsessive intensity and squall on Lennon's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," while the 4onthefloor take "Why Don't We Do It On the Road?" into the Southern boogie swamp. Maybe the boldest move on the album is from Solid Gold, who turn George Harrison's "Love You To" from India to Indie.

As with past MBPs, the artists and engineers donated their time so that the most possible proceeds can go to support and enhance music and art education for students in Minnesota public schools. Already over 15,000 students have been impacted by grants from the first two compilations — the last track on MBP3 is a version of "A Hard Day's Night" by the Anoka Middle School for the Arts, one of the first recipients of help from the MBP. And just as the Beatles' music is morphed into Beatles Rock Band and Circ Du Soleil for a new generation of fans, the Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 3 takes the most influential musical artist of the past 50 years and uses their music to push our artists creatively while helping give opportunities for the next generation to make some music of their own.

Video Premiere: Solid Gold performing "Love You To"



Produced by MPLS.tv and Dan Huiting.

Disclaimer: 89.3 The Current is a proud media sponsor and partner in the Minnesota Beatle Project. And even if we weren't, we'd still think it's a pretty great record.