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A Comprehensive Look At The Beatles Self-Titled Double Album Masterpiece

The White Album, Heard in 1968 and Pronounced Boring. And Now?

Pioneering rock critic Nik Cohn tore a strip off the White Album in a review for The New York Times published in December 1968

NYT Music Popcast

NYT Music Popcast - Host Ben Ratliff Play

Air Date: 9 September 2009
Reporter: Ben Ratliff | NYT
Time: 00:18:25

As a special segment in this week’s music popcast, we revisit the Beatles’ White Album, which friends with good ears have proclaimed probably the most revelatory of all the new transfers. The new stereo version of the White Album is the most exciting restoration work in the newly remastered Beatles catalog. It has, they say, a power and fullness unheard until now.

Our guest is Nik Cohn, author of books including Triksta and The Heart of the World was a pioneering rock critic, who tore a strip off the White Album in a review for the New York Times published in December 1968. Back then, at the age of 22, a Briton in love with street culture and disenchanted with the encroachment of high-art aesthetics into pop, Mr. Cohn felt that the Beatles were a rugged little group who’d gone soft. Jeering at its narcissism and lack of direction, he called the White Album “boring almost beyond belief.” He hears more in it now, but he’s still not particularly impressed. I try to hang on to my affection for it. And what do you think?

NYT Music Popcast

NYT Music Popcast - Host Ben Ratliff Play

Air Date: 9 September 2009
Reporter: Ben Ratliff | NYT
Time: 00:18:25

Dear Prudence

As a special segment in this week’s music popcast, we revisit the Beatles’ White Album, which friends with good ears have proclaimed to probably be the most revelatory of the new transfers. The new stereo version of the White Album is the most exciting restoration work in the newly remastered Beatles catalog. It has they say, power and fullness unheard until now.