This, of course, is the summer of the Sergeant. The glossy British pop monthly MOJO has issued “Sgt. Pepper: With a Little Help from His Friends,” a multi-artist re-creation of the Beatles’ psychedelic apotheosis, which turned 40 in June. In addition, BBC Radio 2 broadcast an all-star Pepper extravaganza last month, with the likes of Bryan Adams, the Kaiser Chiefs, and Oasis re-recording the album at Abbey Road Studios. Next year is certain to bring epic revisions of the double “White Album”; and the year after, “Abbey Road Redux.”
But only the weakest tributes are predicated on the happenstance of an anniversary. The best seem to come from the musician’s faith that the song hides something — a truth, a realization, a key to her own desires and drives — that only she can find and make visible. The result is not a revisiting of familiar terrain but the opening of a new landscape, where the signs remain readable but now point to different destinations.
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