While the movie Help! was less celebrated than its predecessor, the album Help! features a generous handful of the group’s best loved songs, including ‘Yesterday’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, and the title track, easily the highest concentration of great songs on a Beatles album thus far. It’s their last album before they became a studio band – they had to fit in recording around touring still – and it’s difficult to argue that it’s not the best of The Beatles’ early era.
The four tracks mentioned above all hold up very well, while McCartney’s acoustic folk-rock of ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ is my favourite of the album tracks. The use of the volume pedal on Harrison’s ‘I Need You’ is effective, and while I enjoy ‘The Night Before’ it is in a style that the group had largely outgrown and it would have fitted better on an earlier album. The covers don’t add much, although Ringo’s ‘Act Naturally’ has some charm.
They’d keep growing quickly over their next few albums, but in hindsight, Help! was the first proof that The Beatles were a legitimately innovative musical force, and not just a trendy band for adolescents.