Admittedly, the soundtrack to Yellow Submarine wasn't one of the highlights in the Beatles' catalog, so providing an official alternate version of it is no big deal. The soundtrack always felt cobbled together, because it was. It only contained four new songs -- two of which were written by Harrison, which indicates how seriously Lennon and McCartney took the project, if their enjoyable throwaways ("Hey Bulldog" and "All Together Now," respectively) didn't provide enough of a clue -- plus two previously released songs ("All You Need Is Love," "Yellow Submarine") and a side of George Martin instrumentals from the film's score. The Beatles never assembled a slighter album while they were active, so it wasn't a sacrilege when their organization decided to assemble a "songtrack" -- a soundtrack that featured only the songs in the film, not any of the instrumentals -- to coincide with the re-release of the film in 1999. In a way, the "songtrack" (which is what the Beatles' associates insisted on calling the new effort) is an improvement on the soundtrack since it eliminates dead weight and strengthens the original six songs with nine songs featured in the movie ("Eleanor Rigby," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," etc.). It's a little jarring not to hear the songs from the soundtrack in a different order on the songtrack, but ultimately the record is entertaining, if a bit familiar. That's not the case with the sound, though. The Beatles have decided to make this the first remixed CD in their catalog. The differences are slight but often notable and never really an improvement; as a matter of fact, it could likely be enough to irk, possibly anger, longtime Beatlemaniacs. It helps distinguish the Yellow Submarine "songtrack" as much as the new sequencing.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine