Let's have a deep talk about the Past Masters, the beloved/infamous repository of non-album Beatles tracks. First of all, I'll admit that if this collection didn't exist, lots of fans would be claiming for it. So I'm not questioning the need or the utility of its existence. It certainly fulfills the expectative of completist fans who don't want to have the same tracks repeated here and there. Another option could have been the inclusion of those recordings as bonus tracks in albums from the same period; but that's another discussion. I'll just say that I respect the decision of not adding anything to such classic works, even if they did that for commercial reasons rather than historical purism. Now what I'd like to argue about the Past Masters is its use as listening experience and contextual representation of the remaining Beatles catalog. As an initial criticism, I think the inclusion of some tracks is redundant. The original single version of "Love Me Do" is not only much inferior to the definitive album version, but it also lacks of legitimity since the master tape no longer exist. The German versions of "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" are fun curiositities, but they add little to nothing, since the original versions are included as well; so they just serve to make a cult to historicism despite they disrupt the fluidity of the tracklist. Even the WWF version of "Across The Universe" is quite pointless, including amateurish female vocals. Yes, I'm aware that all the mentioned tracks were official releases, but in my opinion they should have been reserved to another kind of compilation, such as the Anthologies. The single versions of "Get Back" and "Let It Be" are a different case, since they are the hit recordings and have historical importance, even though variations from the same masters were included in the Let It Be album. Other point I want to make is the unbalanced and discontinuous nature of the tracklist. I mean, there we have all time classics such as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Hey Jude" next to a bunch of obscure (if the term can be used for a Beatles song) B-sides. Here I'm not judging the quality of the songs, I'm just referring to the weirdness of that mixture. And there's also those jumps in time, particularly that from Paperback Writer/Rain to Lady Madonna/The Inner Light, almost two years, because the 1967 singles and EP were already included in the Magical Mystery Tour album. I think it's more natural to listen to all the hit singles together in chronological order, while the rarities may belong to another release for completist purposes. Thus, I can't avoid the messy feeling I get when I try to listen to the Past Masters as a proper artistic approach. Not to mention the unimaginative black and white album covers, as an honest declaration of what the collection was intended to be. I also have my criticism regarding the Red and Blue Albums and, especially, the "1" compilation. But at least their tracklists are much better contextualized. Still, the Past Masters compilation constitutes a coherent selection of tracks; so coherent to the point of making an incoherent listen.