John Lennon
Imagine


2.5
average

Review

by Stem/Long Stem USER (9 Reviews)
May 4th, 2006 | 47 replies | 5,589 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


6 of 7 thought this review was well written

For those not familiar with my other reviews, let me state - I am a confessed hater of Plastic Ono Band. I think it's badly produced, excruciating, petulant album made a whining, pathetic rock star who has surrounded himself with pointless, indulgent 'friends' for so long that he no longer has any idea just how lucky he is. However, in my own contradictory way, I also think "Working Class Hero" is one of the greatest songs ever written.

So while listening to "Working Class Hero" earlier today, I decided to give Imagine, which I'd previously thought was a very good album, a spin. If I remember rightly, this is the first time I've listened to it since I first heard Plastic Ono Band. The new perspective was pretty revealing. Imagine now does nothing but make me angry at its creator.

Sure, Imagine is markedly superior to its predecessor. But that's just a matter of aesthetics. Here, Phil Spector is allowed to produce the album the way he wanted to, rather than adhering to Lennon's silly ideas of 'authenticity'. And Lennon has at least realised that singing in tune (or something at least approaching it) is generally a good thing.

But, underneath all that is the same Lennon who made Plastic Ono Band. He's still whining about anything and everything, and insulting the listener in the process. Quite way so many people hold up "Imagine" as one of the best songs ever has always baffled me. Aren't they listening to the lyrics? This man is asking us to imagine no possessions, while he's sat in his comfy mansion and we're listening to him on crackly radios in council houses. He's asking us to imagine no religion when religion is the only thing keeping a lot of people going. Honestly, "Imagine" just sounds like a parody to these ears - a sarcastic swipe at the optimism of the 60s. The optimism, let's not forget, that helped him become an icon in the first place.

But even if "Imagine" is supposed to be genuine, the rest of the album throws up more proof that Lennon was completely self-obsessed by this point. He's "Crippled Inside", apparently. He doesn't want to be a soldier, especially not over ludicrously 80s-sounding stadium drums. On "Give Me Some Truth", he informs us that 'I'm sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics'. The rub, of course, is that those 'hypocritics' (yes, very funny, John) are the only people who genuinely cared about John Lennon, since they were the only people actually giving him the truth and trying to stop him succumbing to a deluded rock star worldview. Too late. Similarly, "How?" is dreary and unimaginative, showing as it does a John Lennon caught in pre-pubescent existential angst. 'How can I have feelings when my feelings have always been denied?' Oh, ***ing grow up, John.

Perhaps the most depressing thing about Imagine, though, is that it's home to Lennon's best song. "Jealous Guy" was actually written for The White Album. Despite Spector's excellent production job, it would have been better served there. That way, we'd have no reason to own this turd of an album. In any case, it's a belter of a song. Honest, brave, and emotional, it was written for Yoko after Lennon, in a fit of paranoia and self-doubt, asked her to name every one of her previous lovers and rate them out of 10. This, then, is his apology, and it's proof that whatever people say about Yoko 'ruining' John, she also inspired him into writing some of his best songs. Admitting your own flaws in song is never easy - most either sugarcoat them, offer up excuses, or exaggerate them to the point of comedy. Lennon does nothing of the sort, and as such, effectively set the benhmark for confessional songs with this. Fittingly, the only other thing here that comes close to being so grounded in reality is "Oh Yoko", and even that suffers from Lennon's crippling arrogance, since he spends half the song talking about how easy it is to turn her on. It does have a cracking melody though.

The fact that the album's most revealing moment (that is, revealing of just how ungrateful, arrogant, bitter, and deluded Lennon was by this point) is an anti-Paul McCartney rant entitled "How Do You Sleep?" highlights just what's wrong with Lennon's solo career. Without McCartney, John Lennon is nothing.



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user ratings (331)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
May 4th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Would you like it spelled out in Wham lyrics?

Iai
Emeritus
May 4th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

:downs:This Message Edited On 05.04.06

incubotic
May 4th 2006



78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is quite a good album, I dunno why you guys are being quite critical.

Imagine, Jealous Guy and Oh Yoko in particular are all classics, there are some other decent tracks like How, Oh Love. The rest isnt that great I guess but still this is one of the best solo Beatles albums, if not the best from what little ive heard of their solo careers

Iai
Emeritus
May 4th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Basically.

And I don't like "God".

Iai
Emeritus
May 4th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

An inflammatory statement if ever I heard one

Which is why I put the quotations, but really, that just made it worse, didn't it?

Skyler
May 4th 2006



1084 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

As much as I love the Beatles, I cannot stand John Lennon. I agree with most of this review and your views on John Lennon as well.

robo2448
May 4th 2006



132 Comments


I think you're all on crack. Just kidding, but I love this album.

Nice review.This Message Edited On 05.04.06

Neoteric
May 4th 2006



3243 Comments


Go Iai! Great review, Beatles > John Lennon.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2006



15727 Comments


Bleh. Lennon was pretty overrated, like Kurt Cobain for old people.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Seafroggys
May 4th 2006



60 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I want to say one thing to reviewer, and hopefully I won't get banned for it.

........Fuck you.

This album is genious. Imagine is the greatest song ever. You say that religion is what keeps most of us going......but this song is what keeps me going. It is the fuel of my life, my bible, the morality that I live my life by.

The key to approach the song is not in the literal meaning, but the metaphorical meaning. No religion means the lack of organized religion in the way we know it....down with the structure of Christianity and Islam and all that jazz, and everybody believes based on their own accord. No possession, IMO, means possession based on monetary value, not sentimental value. No countries.....well, the concept of countries is dumb to begin with. No war....self explanatory.

Gimme Some Truth is my second favorite song.....in case you didn't realize, he's talking about the establishment and politicans. A great angsty song!This Message Edited On 05.04.06

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2006



15727 Comments


Fanboys of the world unite. Come ye Tool minions, Nirvana minions, Green Day minions, and now Lennon minions! Hot dang.

In short: Don't fuck with Iai.

Zesty Mordant
May 4th 2006



1196 Comments


You say that religion is what keeps most of us going......but this song is what keeps me going. It is the fuel of my life, my bible, the morality that I live my life by.

hahaha, oh man
The key to approach the song is not in the literal meaning, but the metaphorical meaning. No religion means the lack of organized religion in the way we know it....down with the structure of Christianity and Islam and all that jazz, and everybody believes based on their own accord. No possession, IMO, means possession based on monetary value, not sentimental value. No countries.....well, the concept of countries is dumb to begin with. No war....self explanatory.

Looks like someone missed the whole concept of the review. Besides, the review pretty much addressed exactly what you are talking about and the hypocrisy of thought that fueled the song in the first place.
I thought it was a great review, not particularly because it presented an interesting perspective on an album that is often de facto "forbidden" to criticize, but just because it was simply well-written and analyzed. Excellent work (as usual).

Iai
Emeritus
May 4th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol musicofficial101 is an iai fanboy

Edit; Yeah, Zesty basically summed that one up.This Message Edited On 05.04.06

Neoteric
May 4th 2006



3243 Comments


Opinions ftw

ImTheFloor
May 4th 2006



59 Comments


Excellent review! I don't agree with it, but you at least had balls enough to say exactly what you thought, and it was written very well.

I applaud you!

santi3hg
May 4th 2006



440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

[QUOTE=MusicOfficial101]Fanboys of the world unite. Come ye Tool minions, Nirvana minions, Green Day minions, and now Lennon minions! Hot dang.[/QUOTE]

Haha, that is the perfect analogy.

Anyways, for one thing I hate John Lennon for his ideologys. People thinking peace and love and no belief is pretty insane, imo. But thats not the point...although to expressed in his music.

I hate those who sing off tune, and this album he did so. It was horribly done in my opinion. And instrumental mental work did nothing for the album. Might as well have him sing monotone.

Good review.

Seafroggys
May 4th 2006



60 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

reviews aren't supposed to have points. They're supposed to be as objective as possible. Granted, its all opinionated, but there shouldn't be a point to any review other then to tell the reader how one feels.

To the above:

You do realize how many people sing out of tune? Quite a bit. Everything's protooled these days that no one ever notices. Lots of out of tune singers were around back then.

I haven't noticed too many pitch problems with Lennon, and I have perfect pitch. In fact, he's my favorite singer, not from a technical aspect because others like Roger Daltry and Freddie Mercury beat him anyday. Its just the sound of his voice.

And i believe in peace, love, and world happiness. You got a beef with me?This Message Edited On 05.04.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2006



16081 Comments


Meh, this is Lennon's best solo stuff. Although I do agree with a lot of points in the review. Meh. That's my point. Meh.

onefortheman25
May 4th 2006



196 Comments


John Lennon, Shmon Lennon
ehhh.

santi3hg
May 4th 2006



440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Seafroggys: Well thats just my opinion, cause if it's one thing I can't stand is singing out of tune when its something like 4/4 signature. But thats me.

Also I don't have beef with you believing what you believe in. I have my own opinion on world status. That is out of the music discussion.



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