You put it better about the harmonica part-- I don’t not like the harmonica in general, but like you said it doesn’t feel quite right, but “everyone else had one so we better get one too”.
Thoughts on 02. With the Beatles
“It Won’t be Long”
I love the call & answer “Yeah? YEAH!” and the chord changes, and the different backing vocals. Solid.
“All I’ve Got to Do”
The drums are super effective here. The start and stop syncopation. Also get some Zombies - Time of the Season vibes here 4 years earlier.
“All My Loving”
Saved by the jangly guitar strumming for sure.
“Don’t Bother Me”
It’s got some cool stuff happening, particularly with the guitar. I’ll be referencing this again later when we get to their tracks “The Night Before” (vocal line) and “I’m in Love with her and I feel fine” (intro guitar riff).
The harmonica fits better here, but song is a bit of a throwaway.
“Till There Was You”
I always liked this one. The Spanish feel is nice. Pretty timeless, and you can hear the increase in the quality of the production compared to that last album.
“Please Mister Postman”
You can tell this Marvellettes cover was done out of love. It only makes sense to listen to The Monster Mash afterward.
“Roll Over Beethoven”
If this is the take they chose to keep for the opening riff, the others must have been really rough. George can hardly play it. Let Chuck Berry show you how it was supposed to sound 8 years earlier. Also a rough overdub on the closing chord.
“Hold Me Tight”
At 1:40 in, it sounds like it’s about to get cool. They should have just taken those two chords and made it more punk rock. Not my favorite.
“You Really Got a Hold on Me”
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover. Solid and done out of love but yeah, original’s better but only a year older than the Beatles’ version.
“I Wanna Be Your Man”
Oh, Ringo… The chorus guitar part sounds like gameshow music, but there is actually some nice guitar tone going on. Here’s a clip from The Beatles anthology where Ringo Talks about the Rolling Stones recording it. I also love this live clip where Ringo’s trying to sing but it’s so loud nobody can hear anything.
“Devil in Her Heart”
More Spanish vibes. It’s a fine cover.
“Not a Second Time”
My old man Muppet joke would be “This answers the question of what I thought of listening to this album”, but that’s not really true. This track is fine, just suffers from too many ideas. Piano solo is fine.
“Money (That’s What I Want)”
Another cover, this time Barrett Strong who did it better. I’ve never really liked this song that much. I actually prefer the 1979 version by Flying Lizards.
It’s pretty funny to think about how many covers they recorded on these first couple albums!