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Further proof that the Beatles live: AG, Mrs. Howl

November 8, 2012

I was reviewing AG’s The Beatles EP when I heard a beep coming out of my Facebook page. It was Mrs. Howl announcing the band’s December 8 full set of John Lennon and Beatles songs at Boneshakers, commemorating the 32nd anniversary of Lennon’s death. I don’t know, but perhaps one of the reasons Mrs. Howl sounds so tight and the band’s songs are so well-crafted has something to do with the fact that they learned their stuff, in great part, after listening to the masters. Looking forward to that show.

All this brings me back to AG’s Reimagine: The Beatles by AG. AG (Adrianne González, also from LA’s the Rescues) is another songwriter that knows her craft. To celebrate Lennon’s birth (he would’ve been 72 on October 9), AG released a Beatles cover album unlike any other. First, the song selection itself was an act of divine chance. Her publishing ended up with the rights to the only six songs not owned by Sony, and after passing through AG’s filter the songs received a new, magical identity. Yet, they remained themselves.

“I Wanna Be Your Man” is the song Lennon-McCartney gave Jagger-Richards before they became Jagger-Richards and the Rolling Stones were desperate for a single. As in the whole EP, this is not a dead-on cover: AG reinvented the songs into mellow, respectful, harmonies-filled gems that became her own.

The strings-keys-fueled “I Saw Her Standing There” has an ’80s feel and is as unpredictable as the other covers. But because AG knows, understands, and has these songs imprinted on her subconscious, the songs are there, but in a completely new, original packaging that doesn’t violate their essence.

A piano-based version of “Misery,” an underrated Beatles’ gem, is one of the EP’s high minimalist points and the only track without vocal harmonies, but the cover doesn’t lack anything.

“There’s a Place” (first released in 1963, the song is an early sign that the Beatles were, also, above-average lyricists) is a fitting closer to an EP that even at its weakest (a too folsky, syrupy version of “She Loves You”) sooner or later grows on you and moves into your heart. We’ve heard it all before: classic Beatles, disco Beatles, Brazilian Beatles, Spanish Beatles, Gujarati Beatles… AG’s take on the Fab Four is different and highly recommended.

It is always refreshing to hear young artists (like AG and Mrs. Howl) embrace the music that made it possible for everything that came afterwards). Hopefully, stuff like this will help destroy the nonsensical “Beatles or Stones” camps. It’s not “the Beatles or the Stones” — it’s the Beatles and the Stones. The Beatles and the Stones knew it, and it is about time we all agreed on that one.
— Enrique Lopetegui

AG
The Beatles (aka Reimagine: The Beatles by AG)
(Red Parade Music)
***1/2

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