Now And Then... Things Come To An End
November 2, 2023 2:51 PM   Subscribe

The Beatles have released their final single, Now And Then [4m]. With posthumous contributions from two departed members, the surviving duo got together with AI-based audio processing technology to bring out this final track from The Fab Four, only a few months shy of the 60th anniversary of their appearances on Ed Sullivan. Here's a short film from The Beatles about how this track was created. [12m30s] Previously.
posted by hippybear (76 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There’s a moment in Now and Then, at around 1:08, when Ringo does one of his perfect little drum fills, and I got a frisson of excitement that took me back to memories of listening to way too much Beatles, and the song never quite delivers that again for me.
posted by Kattullus at 3:05 PM on November 2 [10 favorites]

That was surreal.
posted by clavdivs at 3:15 PM on November 2

I was skeptical when I heard of this, and honestly the track is only OK, but it really is a new Beatles track, and not some AI-generated stuff as some people seem to think. And I think that's lovely.

Watch the short about the creation - it really is kind of sweet, they had this tape since he died and could never complete the song because it was so lo-fi. But the voice separation technique (barely rates as AI - it's on every video call now) just let them draw it out, and hear John's voice singing the track clearly for the first time. Must have been a real emotional moment.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:22 PM on November 2 [12 favorites]

As a Beatles fan I feel conflicted. It was never meant to be a Beatles song and it doesn't really sound like one; it sounds post-Beatles. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not a very strong tune and I'm not a big fan of the novelty angle. Lots of people are excited and happy and that's cool, we can always do with more of that. It seems to have been a very special thing for Paul and Ringo.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:26 PM on November 2 [11 favorites]

I think it's basically on par with Free As A Bird and Real Love, neither of which are amazing but definitely feel like Beatles songs. This one does, too. It's just not amazing. Which is fine.
posted by hippybear at 3:28 PM on November 2 [6 favorites]

I only half-listened once but part of it reminded me of "because".
posted by aniola at 3:31 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

Someone else used the term 'necroconsumerism' for this kind of thing and .. yup.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:35 PM on November 2 [34 favorites]

Aniola - apparently they lifted some backing vocals from Because (and 2 other songs) on it, at least according to David Bennett Piano YouTube channel.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:35 PM on November 2

It sounds like something that could be on the Anthology series (makes sense!) except not quite so Jeff Lynne-esque. Maybe they skipped the click track. I don't know they needed the strings, but John was always complaining about Paul's songs getting the lush treatment, so maybe it was just Paul doing him a solid. Great vocal though.

Jimmy Buffett's posthumous album drops tomorrow; Paul helped out with that one too.

... I know what it is to be sad, and it's making me feel like I've never been born ...
posted by credulous at 3:38 PM on November 2 [3 favorites]

Aniola - apparently they lifted some backing vocals from Because

posted by aniola at 3:39 PM on November 2

Someone else used the term 'necroconsumerism' for this kind of thing and .. yup.

Even since the 80s with John Wayne, corporations have been trying to decouple a person's likeness, voice, and other characteristics from the person themselves so that they can exploit it eternally for free.

What's happening here may share superficial characteristics with that kind of postmortem exploitation, but I think there are quite a few notable differences here: literally none of the artists or their families involved has any real monetary motive for that kind of exploitation. If anyone is damn-near bulletproof to some ghoul trying to make some coin on John Lennon or George Harrison, I'd say it's their collaborators (and Yoko and Olivia). Secondly, this is a song they wanted to figure out how to use back in the 90s and the vocal isolation tech simply wasn't up to the task.

It's a decent if unremarkable song, and I'm OK with Paul and Ringo working with the various engineers involved to put it together with the blessing of Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono.

And I'm also fairly confident that George and John would be OK with it, too. That's good enough for me.
posted by tclark at 4:01 PM on November 2 [24 favorites]

I like this more than Free As A Bird and Real Love, though it is very similar in terms of production.

John's voice is pretty magical on this one -- I would love to hear the full isolated vocal. It's such a haunting melody.
posted by swift at 4:03 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

It is IMO not as good as Real Love or Free As A Bird (apologies to the previous poster). But it's The Beatles, and in this world we need more of that and less of all this other shit that's going on.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:04 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]

Free As A Bird is the standout of these for me.
posted by kyrademon at 4:13 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

This doesn't really grab me, but if everyone involved in it is OK with it and it makes some people happy to hear it, it's all good. The one track I heard off the new Stones album was also a solid meh, and they weren't as constrained by having to work with existing material.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:17 PM on November 2 [3 favorites]

I'm conflicted because I don't know why this didn't come out before. It sounds like latter day Beatles. But why wasn't it released then? Did John not like it? It feels wrong to release something with his voice he didn't want released. I agree it's better than Free as a Bird. But why is it coming out now?
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:24 PM on November 2

So there is this show called "breakfast with the beatles" on XXX.X FM in Seattle every Sunday at like 8 to 10 in the morning. And I've been listening to it for years after a full life time to of listening to them et cetera.

This one could have been played on that as a sleeper EP b side and acoustically I would have hummed along with it like Saint Kerfuffleless which is something i suppose.
posted by MonsieurPEB at 4:25 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

It's a decent if unremarkable song, and

evil is that which is unnecessary, said some famous philosopher (or whatever), but not in those exact words according to google. This sorta Electric Light Orchestra-esque ditty doesn't sound very necessary at all to my ears.

Does this mean I think it's evil? Nah. I'm not a philosopher (or whatever).
posted by philip-random at 4:28 PM on November 2

I'm conflicted because I don't know why this didn't come out before. It sounds like latter day Beatles. But why wasn't it released then? Did John not like it?

I may get some details wrong, but John had a few demos left when he died, recorded after his time with The Beatles, but never used either under his own name or Plastic Ono Band because they were never developed into full songs. Free As A Bird and Real Love are two of these songs, and they were worked up by the three surviving Beatles and released as part of the giant reissue effort Anthology in the Nineties. But this track was too messy, audio-wise, to really work up in any meaningful way.

If you spend the 12 minutes to watch the documentary you can learn a lot about this. It isn't some kind of sacrilege or "hidden shame" track by John or anything. It was a shitty demo that held promise. And then a bullet and it never happened.
posted by hippybear at 4:31 PM on November 2 [8 favorites]

Oh my. The Beatles have been such a huge part of my musical life. 💗

It's Peter Jackson's technology developed for Get Back that made this track possible. from Youtube:
ow and Then's eventful journey to fruition took place over five decades and is the product of conversations and collaborations between the four Beatles that go on to this day. The long mythologised John Lennon demo was first worked on in February 1995 by Paul, George and Ringo as part of The Beatles Anthology project but it remained unfinished, partly because of the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal John had recorded on tape in the 1970s. For years it looked like the song could never be completed. But in 2022 there was a stroke of serendipity. A software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team, used throughout the production of the documentary series Get Back, finally opened the way for the uncoupling of John’s vocal from his piano part. As a result, the original recording could be brought to life and worked on anew with contributions from all four Beatles. This remarkable story of musical archaeology reflects The Beatles’ endless creative curiosity and shared fascination with technology. It marks the completion of the last recording that John, Paul and George and Ringo will get to make together and celebrates the legacy of the foremost and most influential band in popular music history.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:32 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]

It might me be, but it just doesn’t sound like John.
posted by my-username at 4:35 PM on November 2 [4 favorites]

Someone else used the term 'necroconsumerism' for this kind of thing and .. yup.

posted by mhoye at 4:39 PM on November 2 [14 favorites]

Underwhelmed, unlike with FaaB and Real Love.
posted by Rash at 4:41 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

Those gloopy slathered strings remind of the Phil Spector treatment that was often criticized on Let it Be. As far as Beatles projects go, I rate it mediocre and soon to be forgotten.
posted by ovvl at 4:54 PM on November 2 [3 favorites]

What I like about this song is that it's so utterly sad. It might be the saddest Beatles song I've ever heard. It's like the polar B-side of Free As A Bird, which was uplifting and angelic.

And it's sad not just because of the melody and the vocal but because of what it is and what it represents -- the last Beatles song, sung by a dead man, produced by men who are themselves close to the grave, with lyrics that seem readymade for grief and loss:
Now and then
I miss you
Oh, now and then
I want you to be there for me
Always to return to me
I think if the strings and Jeff Lynne-isms are stripped away, there is something stark and strange about this song. It could never be a fan favorite, but I think it's a very interesting product of its moment.
posted by swift at 5:21 PM on November 2 [12 favorites]

Jeff Lynne-isms... lol

You can always tell the parts he wrote in the Traveling Wilbury's songs can't you?

I'm not quite done with Get Back yet. Hasn't changed my mind yet about my impressions of the individual Beatles at all. Probably won't even listen to this except by accident. Ringo is pretty awesome, George saying "fuck this" and leaving, yes. John being a dick. Paul being a pretentious dick. Billy Preston just being fucking perfect.

But man could they write amazing songs...
posted by Windopaene at 5:33 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

It sounds like it's one of their unreleased songs because it just wasn't good enough.
posted by NoMich at 6:19 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]


My soul slides away.
posted by StarkRoads at 6:36 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

It felt drastically overproduced, like a tumbled-over wall of sound. I felt that way about the Beatles last album, Let It Be. Maybe we could get a Now and Then Naked.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:48 PM on November 2 [3 favorites]

Guitar groups are on the way out.
posted by mazola at 7:11 PM on November 2 [7 favorites]

i was cruising around grand rapids today and wgrd, the active rock station and the least likely station to make a big deal out of this, as their idea of an oldie is black sabbath, metallica or alice in chains, was hyping this up with interviews and excerpts from the demo, and then, with the dj admitting that this was a station that NEVER played the beatles, played the song

it's a sad song - it's haunting and it's alright, but it's hardly a deathless classic - paul doubled the lead vocals, but a bit down so it's not real obvious - liked ringo's drums - didn't think the strings were excessive - the beatles were a pop group, right? - also on the chorus, i think ringo might have been singing deep in the mix

i just thought it was funny that a station that is more likely to go nuts over the new foo fighters or five finger death punch song (or hey, the new green day song, which is called the american dream is killing me and rips off part of its melody from petula clark's song don't sleep in the subway), was hyping this up, especially as i don't think they or anyone else bothered with playing the new rolling stones record

but i'm currently trying to figure out why this cd of salsa sudamericana with bands from colombia and venezuela seems like the pocket or clave is so different than cuban - i think it's the electric bass
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

Is it just me, or does this sound like a James Bond song? (At least for the first 32)
posted by kozad at 7:27 PM on November 2

I listened to the demo after this, and the demo is haunting in a much more meorable way.
posted by joeyh at 9:01 PM on November 2 [7 favorites]

It’s kind of hat-on-a-hat, isn’t it? Like the George Lucas special enhanced definitive editions of Beatles music. Even more akin to the resurrected Han-Jabba scene in SW’77. It’s a nice tune but yeah very wall of sound, when the demo was so stark.
posted by supercres at 9:05 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

(Which is entirely understandable; if you think it’s going to be the last John Lennon tune you ever produce, you’re going to throw everything you’ve got at it.)
posted by supercres at 9:08 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

Fucking garbage. It's like using Excel to make an "average" Beatles song. Garbage in pursuit of profits.
posted by metametamind at 9:29 PM on November 2

Jeff Lynne-isms... lol

You can always tell the parts he wrote in the Traveling Wilbury's songs can't you?

And that's a bad thing?
posted by fairmettle at 9:58 PM on November 2 [2 favorites]

You can bust on Jeff Lynne a little bit, but... Full Moon Fever.

And c'mon, if we're getting in the habit of ranking songs around here, let's put this one against "Savoy Truffle" and "Wild Honey Pie"...
posted by credulous at 10:01 PM on November 2 [1 favorite]

Someone else used the term 'necroconsumerism' for this kind of thing and .. yup.

I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

...that so many MeFite's favorited this cynical opinion on a rather sweet little nothing like Now And Then.

This is hardly in the same class as Fred Astaire selling vacuum cleaners.

Based on the 15 minute making-of documentary, it genuinely appears to be a labor of love for all involved, and goodness knows they're not doing it for the extra 59¢ it will add their fortunes.
posted by fairmettle at 12:29 AM on November 3 [11 favorites]

Someone else used the term 'necroconsumerism' for this kind of thing and .. yup.

I vaguely remember an episode of a TV show - it may have been Death in Paradise - where the singer of a band whose popularity was fading decided to pretend to get murdered in order to boost record sales, but something went wrong and he did actually get killed.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 1:18 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]

This sounds better every time I listen to it. I'm glad they've got it into my life.

The demo sounds like a demo: haunting, sure, given what came after, but it goes on a bit and fizzles out at the end (anyone listened to Menlove Avenue lately?). This is a proper Beatles song, with some really interesting touches. It's the track that should have featured on Anthology 3 back in the '90s, and the problems people have with it now are pretty much the same criticisms we heard back then about the "Threetles", with a dash of AI-freakout in the mix.

And what people's problems with Jeff Lynne are, I have no idea. ELO were great, his solo stuff is great, his production of Tom Petty was great, and the Wilburys were great. Imagine a world with no Wilburys! Some of George Harrison's finest post-Beatles work, and Roy Orbison's last hurrah, not to mention Dylan's and Petty's excellent contributions.

I was glad to hear "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love" back in the day, and I'm glad that Paul and Ringo have found a fitting way to sign off on their band with a final homage to their departed friends.
posted by rory at 2:30 AM on November 3 [6 favorites]

Now and then
I miss you
Oh, now and then
I want you to be there for me
Always to return to me

The lyrics....and I believe that the demo that this and "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" was recorded on a cassette, which John had titled "For Paul".

The business bullshit and long-term interpersonal stuff broke things down, but at the heart of everything, they all really, really loved each other, you can tell. Over the years they all had their interpersonal fallings-out and makings-up, just like every group does...and if John had lived longer there would have been even more of them. Maybe some of them musical, but definitely interpersonal-friends stuff. (The last thing George ever said to Ringo before he died was such a loving, Beatle-esque joke that it's poignant.)

My favorite-ever photo of John and Paul together is this one - it's a photo Linda McCartney took when they were recording GET BACK, just a short while before the band broke up. And I think Paul descibes why I love it:
this would be the end of our relationship and, at the end, when the breakup happened, it was kind of sour – very difficult to deal with. The rumour started going around that John and I didn’t get on well, we were arch-rivals, that it was very heavy and ugly. The strange thing is you sometimes get to believe something, if it’s said enough times. So I used to think: ‘Yeah, it’s a pity, you know, we didn’t get on that well.’

“So this picture is a blessing for me. It’s like, this is how we were: this is why we related, or else we couldn’t have collaborated for all that time. [...] I’m just writing something out – possibly it’s a medley or something; it might be for Abbey Road – and it’s lovely, because John is very happily in on the process, and agreeing with me, and we’re laughing about something. Just seeing the joy between us here really helped me, because it reminds me that the idea we weren’t friends is rubbish. We were lifelong friends, our relationship was super-special.

“That applied to all the Beatles, even when we were pissed off with each other from time to time. People used to remind me: that’s families, that happens. Mates disagree. As soon as we started working on music, we gelled, we just enjoyed the noise we made together, we enjoyed playing with each other. We’d worked together for over 10,000 hours over the years, and that old spirit automatically kicked in. Any disputes were got over very quickly.
They gave the rest of us a shitton of great music, but the four of them were solid friends, and that was a much more valuable gift they gave each other. Music was just one of the many ways they manifested that amongst themselves - like with this original demo, "For Paul".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 AM on November 3 [24 favorites]

More like their "final" single if you ask me. Ever more desperate scraps with be dug out of the archive and digitally cleaned up for release as soon as someone thinks they can make a few bucks out of it. Might be McCartney and Starr themselves, might be their kids, might be some corporate behemoth, but let's not kid ourselves this process has exhausted the number of Fab Four $$$$$$$ that can be drained from it yet.

Personally, I'd sooner the band was just left to rest in peace. We're well into the area of diminishing returns now, and every new release just cheapens their legacy a little more.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:25 AM on November 3 [3 favorites]

OK wow. Sometimes I think everyone gets too wrapped up in context or what something should be. I got to hear John Lennon sing a song and the beatles play together again. The song was nice. If it had come out 50 years ago we'd all know the words when someone sang it at karaoke. I wouldn't list the Beatles in my list of favorite bands... I'm not a crazy Beatles fan at all... but ya this is likeable and reminded me of all the Beatles and John Lennon songs I do love.

I really think our society is in one of the post phases. Post industrial, post whatever... Maybe post happiness?

I enjoyed the song. The background being what it was I thought it was cool. If it was a deep fake I would have been sad but it's not. It's a loving tribute and a nice little song. Maybe there is joy to find in that.
posted by chasles at 5:07 AM on November 3 [9 favorites]

(The last thing George ever said to Ringo before he died was such a loving, Beatle-esque joke that it's poignant.)

Ringo is the best Beatle.
posted by chavenet at 6:50 AM on November 3 [5 favorites]

I've been a Beatles fan since I was 7, nearly 50 years now. There's only two Beatles songs I that I actively don't like* and then the rest of the catalog I love.

Sometimes it takes me a few listens to get into a song, even some of my favorite artists. I love Aimee Mann, but I had to come back to The Forgotten Arm for a few extra listens before it really grabbed me. It's never been that way with The Beatles. Maybe because I got into them so young, but they've always just felt like home.

When they released "Free As A Bird," and "Real Love" in the 90s, they instantly grabbed me and felt like Beatles songs. I had a frisson of joy the first time I heard them, the same tingles I got the first time I heard "Help!" when I was 7 and was an instant fan.

"Now and Then" ... didn't do that. I was open and hoping, but to my aging ears it just doesn't sound like The Beatles.

But I'm glad they tried. I'm not cynical about it. Better, IMO, that they tried and if it does give other fans the same joy as other Beatles songs then that's awesome.

* ("Revolution 9" which IMO doesn't even count as a song, and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" because it's just so low-effort and dumb.)
posted by jzb at 7:45 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]

As a boomer, I'm a solid Beatles fan. A cherished gift is the cleaned/remixed CD box set of all their albums that Mrs C gave me a few years back. I feel it's very true to the originals.

I also have the more recent Revolver cleanup and reissue. I'm a bit less enthused about it; it sounds just a hair too modern sonically, like they were just a bit too heavy with using new processing. I dunno if the new Red and Blue reissues will light my fire, if they are also overprocessed.

I thought FaaB was pleasant but not essential Beatles. I'll give this new one a chance. Since the two remaining Beatles were involved, as well as other musical veterans who respect the material, I think it's a legit endeavor, done out of love. It's their legacy, it's not a gang of tomb-robbers.

I love the experimentation of Revolution 9 and the goofy playfulness of You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) but yeah they're indulgences that only a group of their stature could record and sell.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:52 AM on November 3 [3 favorites]

Necro-nothing. Buddy Holly was putting out "new" records until the '70s. This is just finishing a piece they were already working on. Was "Anthology" a cash grab too? There's no end of Beatles bootlegs. If we see them all get AI-cleaned-up official releases now, MAYBE that'll be a cash grab. But, hell, I've bought enough of those bootlegs over the years... maybe the Beatles and their heirs are entitled to some of that money.
posted by Devoidoid at 8:02 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I don't really see how necrocelebrity applies here. The reality is (and the Anthology project proved) that there really is very very little in their archives that's not available (somehow) as a bootleg, and there continues to be strong demand for that material. I do not begrudge Paul and Ringo the opportunity to collaborate one last time with their departed friends, and to finish up something that they knew would eventually come out one way or another. Better to have an authorized release than weird defective audio tracks furtively listed on YouTube.

Is it an instant classic? No - nobody has said that. But its pretty poignant to hear them like this, with two of them gone and two of them past 80.

In an aside, watching the music video this morning, I was struck by how frail Ringo seems when he's standing and singing -- but put him behind a drum set and he looks as fit as he ever was.
posted by anastasiav at 8:51 AM on November 3 [5 favorites]

Oh wow, that music video totally got to me, and made the song sound even better.
posted by rory at 9:10 AM on November 3 [5 favorites]

Thank you for the link to the music video, it certainly enhanced the experience. My first encounter with the new track was audio only, and admit I found it a bit lackluster. But the visuals added the important context of nostalgia and melancholy.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 9:34 AM on November 3

It was never meant to be a Beatles song and it doesn't really sound like one; it sounds post-Beatles.

I get that... I'm just grateful that I got to hear it.
posted by dfm500 at 11:29 AM on November 3

It's growing on me.
posted by kyrademon at 11:42 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]

it sounds post-Beatles.

It kinda sounds like Oasis lol

No seriously I think it's a lovely tribute. So melancholy. The video is sweet. I am 100% sure the reason the remaining two released this is not greed, quite the opposite
posted by bitteschoen at 12:23 PM on November 3

Necro-nothing. Buddy Holly was putting out "new" records until the '70s.

Welcome to late stage capitalism. Jimi Hendrix recorded three albums in his life (with six tracks done towards a fourth) and then, according to Wikipedia there have been thirteen posthumously released studio albums and more than twice as many live albums, plus a like number of singles and some EPs. It’s not music alone: Tolkien published six books in his life (the four you know about plus two slim volumes of verse). In the ensuing fifty years, we have had twenty-three more books by him.

I watched the video just now. What I am mostly engaged by is that it has been fifty-three years since the band ended and most if not all of the orchestral musicians appear to be younger than that. A lot of them appear like they never even shared a planet with John Lennon. And yet here they are on a Beatles track.

It is so strange the way things turn.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:55 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]

I think the music video packs a much more powerful punch than the audio alone. It puts the song into a context that gives it much greater depth and meaning. They were really the 'Fab Four', who enjoyed each other's company and wrote era-defining music. Then and Now is not 'just' a piece of music to judged a-historically, but really a summation of a genuinely unique period of music and musicians.
posted by vac2003 at 2:09 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]

I will say, adding the video into the mix gives the song layers of meaning it really really doesn't have just from the audio. It's a bit unfair to songs, I think and have thought this since MTV began, to have their videos so intertwined with their audio. But honestly, The Beatles were doing music videos over a decade before MTV launched, and the amount of heart and soul and joy and love in that video is really really great. If it had been around when I made this post, I could have included it. But the joy of a good MetaFilter post is, things get left out, and then included later.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on November 3 [9 favorites]

I know a lot of people consider the technology used here an abomination...

It's not an abomination, the new technologies for sonic restoration are truly amazing. but we have to remain aware of the difference between recovering what is actually there in an old recording, vs synthesizing what we want to be there. That is my small problem with the Revolver reissue - it's sometimes a little too "crisp" to me, for something originally recorded with some amazing rooms and warm mics.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:09 PM on November 3 [4 favorites]

I learned today that "She Said She Said" was about Peter Fonda acting like an asshole while John and George were trying to quietly enjoy their acid trip. How can you not love The Beatles.
posted by credulous at 11:02 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]

I was struck by how frail Ringo seems when he's standing and singing

Picture the other 83 year old men in your life.
posted by fairmettle at 11:23 PM on November 3 [1 favorite]

this is good

Now And Then (covered by Timmy Sean)

After hearing the final Beatles song ever yesterday, I was inspired to jump into recording my own take of it. John’s beautiful haunting vocals paired with Paul’s big lush arrangment seemed untouchable to compete with as a melancholy ballad, so I thought the only way that it seemed worth doing was if I leaned in a completely different direction. As I learned the chords on acoustic guitar, the song seemed to reveal itself to me as something in the vein of “I’ll Be Back” or “Things We Said Today.” As they were both on the Hard Day’s Night soundtrack, I decided to embrace the arrangements from that album.
posted by philip-random at 1:13 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]

Well, it is better than I was afraid it might be, not up to Free As A Bird or Real Love for me, but still good. Listening to the original demo, I definitely think much more could have been made of it if they followed the Jeff Lynn treatment of the other two. I didn't really get that Beatles sound until Paul's slide guitar at the end, so that is where it falls short in my opinion - a nice little song but it needs more George, it needs even more of John's haunting sound instead of that anodyne lushness. Still, I'll be listening to this frequently and I expect it will grow on me. Glad that they released it.
posted by blue shadows at 1:31 AM on November 4

Paul McCartney: Now And Then (2021) [52:06]—Inside The Music, 29 April 2023
posted by ob1quixote at 4:46 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]

Heard it once and didn't like it.

John's voice seems to have some sort of reverb/echo which is odd because nothing else on the track does, rather like a clumsy photoshop montage where the lighting on one part of the picture is different to the rest. The strings part is just unnecessary.
posted by epo at 12:15 PM on November 5

As a major Beatles fan, I listened to this and wanted to be feel more moved than I was. Then I heard Lennon's demos for this track, Free As a Bird and Real Love and was kind of amazed by how much more they sounded like classic Beatles songs than the overproduced "final" versions did. The new Beatles version of Now and Then didn't make me feel much, but the demo sure did. (If you like the demos I'd suggest saving them however you can, and doing it quickly. It seems Universal Music is on a crusade to scrub every trace of them from the internet and it took some real digging for me to find them on Youtube.)

Having said all that, the music video for the new song was a bit of a gut punch. That moment at the end where they all take a bow and fade away, man.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:29 PM on November 5

I don't have any problem whatsoever with this being released, but the song itself is kind if underwhelming and, if not for the backstory, would probably never see the light of day.
posted by dg at 3:48 PM on November 5

From the "I may be wrong but don't think so Department": ON THE REMAKE THEY LEFT OUT THE MIDDLE SECTION ALTOGETHER!! AND yes I am shouting. Listen to John's original demo. The bridge begins with "I don't want to lose you.." The section brightens things with a major key while rest is in a minor key.Hear it for yourself. Am I wrong? It's just not on the revised version!

Paul, I've loved you since 1964 and have everything the band ever recorded. But what the hell were you thinking?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:13 AM on November 6

Seekerofsplendor, you are right, Five Thoughts About the Beatles’ Last Song, “Now and Then” has some discussion of the missing pre-chorus bridges.
posted by blue shadows at 10:21 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]

Thanks much, blue shadows
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:59 AM on November 7

Slate: The Beatles' "Final" Music Video Is an Abomination -
"Now and Then" shows that Peter Jackson has really, truly lost it.

Agreed, I couldn't take it, reminding me of the end of "The Return of the Jedi" v.2 or was it v.3? Whichever it was when Lucas inserted the ghost of Anakin Skywalker.
posted by Rash at 9:54 AM on November 7

This re-imagining of Now and Then as an early Beatles performance is a delight.
posted by Catblack at 4:01 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]

“Now and Then: What The Last Beatles Song Says Three Decades After ‘Free as a Bird’,” Lina Morgan, Song vs. Song with Todd in the Shadows, 07 November 2023
posted by ob1quixote at 4:13 PM on November 7

Slate: The Beatles' "Final" Music Video Is an Abomination - "Now and Then" shows that Peter Jackson has really, truly lost it.

Late to the party but what the hell, I'll weigh in anyway.
I disagree with the argument that this article makes. No one thinks that Lennon agrees with this project because he's smiling in the video. It's very clear that he's shown in historical material that was made decades ago.
What does bother me slightly is the amount of Lennon frolicking that is shown in the video. It's just too much and it's a bit uncanny. It's almost like they're using a dead man as a puppet... which in a way they are.

Overall though I mostly do like the video and the song. It's not perfect but it's pretty good. I'm glad I got to see and hear it.

Then again, I also enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies, so what do I know?
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:30 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]

Some of you may like this version by the Mona Lisa Twins. I sure do.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:22 AM on November 20

« Older Bill Bruford curates his legacy of musical...   |   Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.