The Beatles • The Japan Box (2014)

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Help! (Japan - 2014)

By The Beatles • Official album


From Wikipedia:

The Japan Box is a boxed set compilation of the five albums released by the Beatles for the Japanese market between 1964 and 1965, originally released in Japan by Odeon Records. The albums consist of Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles’ Second Album, A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles No. 5., and Help! The box set presents them in the Mini LP format. It also includes a 100-page book.

From SuperDeluxeEdition, July 16, 2014:

I suppose some fans of The Beatles could look at this latest repacking of five Fabs’ albums released in Japan during 1964 and 1965 as an unnecessary, pricey addition to the ever growing Beatles’ canon, seeing as all the music contained on these discs has already appeared in previous, relatively recent CD packages of one sort or another.

Or, this new superbly produced set could be viewed as the gift that keeps on giving from a spectacular back catalog and another chance to celebrate the nostalgia and the ongoing world-wide, 50th anniversary appeal of the Beatles.

Similar to Canada in the early days of Beatlemania, Japan was allowed to produce several rather unique Beatles releases on the Odeon label featuring substantial differences in track listings and cover artwork to their United Kingdom counterparts, before A Hard Day’s Night (stereo, although here with a different cover), and Help! (here in “Original Stereo Mix”) closed out the party and Japan was then soon after directed to sync up with the Beatles’ EMI and US album formats. […]

Sure, as far as sound goes – more on that later – we are treated to the already five year old mono and stereo remasters and perhaps a case could be made that using the original Japanese mastering from 1964 and 1965 would have made this set more authentic, if not less ear-worthy.

But Apple had already decided with the recent The Beatles: The US Albums box that 21st century masters would be used in these types of re-releases, so to employ an old cliche, basically, it is what it is. […]

As for sound, this set sounds a good as the remasters did 5 years ago, and utilizing the “Original Stereo Mix” for Help! is interesting, but recycled, as it also appeared as a bonus on The Beatles In Mono Box Set, circa 2009. However, it should be noted that some audio enthusiasts believe that no matter the source material, the Japanese manufactured issues are superior to the domestic versions. […]