Jason Falkner: Bedtime With The Beatles Part Two

Billed as for sending young ears off to dreamland, Jason Falkner's brilliant reimagining of classic Beatles songs proves pleasant for infants and insomniacs alike.

Jason Falkner

Bedtime With the Beatles Part Two

Label: Adrenaline
US Release Date: 2008-06-17
UK Release Date: Available as import

Bedtime With the Beatles Part Two, much like its 2001 predecessor, is billed as being specifically for sending young ears off to dreamland. However, once again, Jason Falkner's reimagining proves pleasant for infants and insomniacs alike (not to mention the Beatlemaniacs). And for the truly nostalgic among us, the CD is a treat not only for the music. Those of you over a certain age will also appreciate the cover art, which features an original Corgi toy Yellow Submarine from the late '60s or early ’70s, complete with Fab Four figurines.

As with the first Bedtime With the Beatles, the liner notes suggest that this recording is "suitable for playback" at both "sleep-inducing and maximum levels." And maximum levels may indeed be suitable, if you'd like to captivate a classroom full of preschoolers, or perhaps, just put your nasty neighbors in a better mood. Primarily instrumental, Bedtime With the Beatles Part Two was indeed "designed to lull the listener to sleep (or at least to a sedated, yet engaged, place)." Yet beyond their calming qualities, these tracks thankfully stay faithful, though not slavishly so, to the classic melodies we all know and love.

The album opens with a wavering, shimmering "Norwegian Wood" that instantly invokes a dreamy drifting mood. The redesign of this first classic sets the tone for the rest of the album's obviously reverent, yet wholly original, arrangements. This time out, Falkner reworks a couple of George Harrison tunes in addition to the Lennon and McCartney compositions. Harrison's songs were noticeably absent on the first Bedtime, presumably because of licensing issues. "Something" is, arguably, one of the finest love songs ever written, and it makes for a stunningly lovely little lullaby here. Gorgeously intricate, unexpected flourishes accompany the familiar melody, which is played alternately on several instruments. "Here Comes the Sun" is the other Harrison-penned track, and although it might seem more suited to breakfast than bedtime given its title and theme, here it becomes the most subtle of sweet cradle-songs.

Other highlights include the quite literally hypnotic "She’s Leaving Home" and a lush, leisurely interpretation of "Penny Lane." Falkner's organ- and percussion-based arrangement of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is one of several tracks that, unlike the first Bedtime with the Beatles, feature vocalizations, if not always lyrics. "Hey Jude" also features Falkner's voice. For most of the song he simply hums the lyric, to beautiful effect. It's only near the end that he adds the chorus, actually singing, "Hey Jude". Children, especially, are going to love this soft and simply lovely version.

Next Falkner tackles "I Will" and "Yesterday" Both originals were spare acoustic tunes. Here that is honored even as they are expanded. "I Will" is based around piano and a rich, amplified guitar line accented with finger snaps and Falkner's spoken "Doo doo doo", which seems to anchor the song in the manner of a bass line. "Yesterday" again transfers much of what was acoustic guitar to keyboard, to beautifully resonant effect. The familiar melody seems to just float along.

Falkner sends us off to our dreams with John Lennon's own lullaby for his son Julian. "Good Night" employs the tinkling twinkling of a xylophone and swells of various string sounds in place of the original's vocal melody. It's as if he has opened a window on the night sky and every shining sound is a starry step into sleep. Bedtime With the Beatles Part Two is a must for fans of Falkner and the Beatles, both. It's a wonderful way to drift off, and well worth waking for as well.


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less

Alt-rock heroes the Foo Fighters deliver a three-hour blast of rock power that defies modern norms.

It's a Saturday night in Sacramento and the downtown area around the swank new Golden 1 Center is buzzing as if people are waiting for a spaceship to appear because the alt-rock heroes known as the Foo Fighters are in town. Dave Grohl and his band of merry mates have carried the torch for 20th-century rock 'n' roll here in the next millennium like few others, consistently cranking out one great guitar-driven album after another while building a cross-generational appeal that enables them to keep selling out arenas across America.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.