The Beatles
Let It Be… Naked


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bron-Yr-Aur USER (39 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2006 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Phil Spector is a weird guy. Its been reported that the man is obsessive compulsive, unbearable to work with, and has also been labeled as bi-polar. Hell, the man himself considers himself, as he put it, relatively insane". Oh, and lets not forget the murder charge he was indicted for in 2003. So. Its kind of odd that such a man would rise to prominence as a genius record producer and as the inventor of the wall of sound" recording technique. Whats not surprising is that such a man would be entangled in one of the bitterest musical feuds ever reported. The story itself is well documented. In 1970, The Beatles were splitting up. The proposed Get Back project, which was suggested by Paul McCartney as a back to the basics" experiment for the band, failed dismally, and the songs that were birthed from the sessions were of poor quality. A producer was obviously needed. Against the wishes of McCartney, John Lennon brought in Phil Spector, who touched up the songs, while adding little pieces of his own here and there. The most famous instance of this is The Long and Winding Road, in which Spector added a lush arrangement of strings, which undermines the song to the point of indecency. Nevertheless, the album was released with the Spector additions, and shortly after McCartney released his first solo album (McCartney), seemingly assuring the imminent death of the group.


It is now 2006. Three years ago, Let it BeNaked was released for the general publics listening pleasure. The album, which was supervised by McCartney, loses all of the dramatic touch-ups, and shows the album how it was originally intended to be. While many die-hard Beatle fans were delighted, just as many were disappointed. The album had been re-mixed, re-mastered, and songs had been added/deleted. This was obviously going to be a fairly different album than the one the Beatles had left us with in 1970. My encounter with the album came about a year ago. I had, of course, heard all of the hype surrounding the original recordings and the now de-spectorized prints, and one day threw caution to the wind and decided to purchase this notorious album. What did I think of it?


The first emotion the album conveyed to me was disappointment. While Get Back was just as peppy and marvelous as itd always been, for some reason Paul felt the need to cut the song shorter than found on multiple other albums. I was reluctant to purchase the album at first, and this omen" did nothing to combat those feelings. My anguish was to be short-lived, like Ruben Studdards career. Songs like Dig A Pony proved to be pure gems, and its been rumored that the lyrics were made up on the spot during recording. I havent yet answered the big question. How does it sound? How is the production?.


The overall sound can be described in one word: gritty. This is absolutely nothing like their previous works such as the brass-filled Sgt. Pepper and light-years away from their next effort, the polished and studio-savvy Abbey Road. What you get with this album is just what McCartney said you would: The Beatles stripped down, and playing rock. That said, there are some minor dilemmas. The production for a few of the tracks( most notably I Me Mine, a Harrison number about the selfishness that was consuming the individual Beatles and indeed, the group as a whole) is a little thin, and I attribute this to a severe lack of George Martin. While songs such as For You Blue could be molested by the label of filler", it is noteworthy in its jaunty groove, and for being the one and only true song George wrote for his then-wife Patti Harrison. For those of you who surely will disagree, it has been stated by Mr. Harrison that Something was actually written with Ray Charles in mind.

And, most inevitably, weve stumbled across The Long And Winding Road. So how is it without all them thar strings and choir vocals? Honestly, a lot duller than before. While the original version is incredible sappy, it does hold your attention longer than a more bare version of the same track. The main upshot for the tune is that you can actually here McCartneys piano, which was lost in the mix on the original album.

Every now and again, a song comes along thats so poignant, and so soothing, it could probably stop a nuclear bomb with its awe-inspiring tranquility. Undoubtedly, one such song is Two Of Us. The song is a very basic track, containing an acoustic guitar and exceptionally light drumming by Ringo as the base, and a constant George Harrison lead melody. The entire song is pretty much John and Paul harmonizing, clicking so well that you may very well be inclined to think the song is an ode to each other. What the album was apparently lacking, however, was a good rock number. Something that you could really groove to, so to speak. Quite simply, thats where Ive Got A Feeling comes into play.

Ive Got A Feeling is a rather difficult song to describe. One could almost label it schizophrenic in its personality. This is understandable, as the songs primary crafters, John and Paul, were in totally different places musically. While musically it is essentially a melodic rock song with great vocal shredding by Mr. McCartney, lyrically its a bit tough to pin down. For example, take this lyrical passage, sang simultaneously.

Paul: Ive got a feeling, a feeling deep inside, oh no.

John: Everybody had a hard year.

Paul: Ive got a feeling, a feeling I cant hide, oh no.

John: Everybody had a good time

Paul: Ive got a feeling, a feeling deep inside, oh yeah.

John: Everybody had a wet dream

Paul: Ive got a feeling, a feeling I cant hide, no more

John: Everybody saw the sun shine.


Make of that what you will.

Songs like One After 909 prove that despite all the hype, the Beatles were human. Upon first listen, there wasnt much I could say about the tune except for some sort of questionable expletive. That said, it does contain some sort of charm, and if you allow it, the positively skiffle-esque tune will grasp you and become a parasite to your musical blood bank. Still, its lack of quality is understandable, as it was one of the very first compositions Lennon ever wrote. Indeed, takes of the very same song can be found on The Beatles Anthology 1, recorded some seven years before the album Let It Be was even imagined.


One of the harshest criticisms Let It BeNaked has garnered is the fact that much of the dialogue between songs was cut out, thus giving it a less humble" appearance. While this makes very little difference, some other changes made from the original album could very well determine whether or not you will enjoy the album. An example of this is the absence of the tracks Maggie May and Dig It. In their place, the immortal Dont Let Me Down. In my own opinion, this is a masterful move, as the mood of the song coincides perfectly with that of the album, far better than either of its predecessors had, anyway. And now, we approach the magnum opus(s).


Across the Universe was a song written by John Lennon for a charity event, much like Come Together was written for Timothy Leary (the acid guru of the 60s)s campaign trail. And much like Come Together, it ended up being used on a Beatles album, instead and/or also. The stripped down version featured on Naked contains only John and his acoustic, and the occasional ethereal instrumental accompaniment found on the original. The song also boasts perhaps some of Lennons most introspective and thought-provoking lyrics, and phrases such as "Pools of sorrow, wasves of joy are drifting through my opened mind" are to this day subjected to intense scrutiny.


The title track of Let It Be sums up the Beatles in many ways. It can refer to their rise to prominence, but most often it is paired with the break-up of the legendary quartet. Perhaps this is because it was the last British single released, perhaps it can be attributed to the film of the same name, in which the Beatles are seen as rabid towards each other half the time, and indifferent for the rest. My personal theory entails all of the above, combined with the glorious, epic, somber feel the ballad has. So. How does the version on Naked hold? Surprisingly, not too well. Many of the backing vocals which gave it urgency and depth are absent, and the during the guitar solo, the rhythm is oddly lacking. While Paul delivers a subtly different yet tasteful vocal take, the guitar solo is completely different, and far worse than the original. A disappointing way to end the album, all in all.

So. Is this album worth my time and money? That depends. If you have the original version of the album, theres really not much need for this, unless you want to hear what Paul and the band originally had in mind. That said, the album is fantastic, and far better than Phil Spectors over-done piece of work. If you have to seriously contemplate purchasing this album, it probably isnt for you. But should you choose to partake in the joys the album does have to offer, its a pretty safe bet youll be satisfied. Besides, Phil Spectors kind of annoying anyway. Him and his Wall of Sound".


Pros

Great songs
Raw sound
"Dont Let Me Down"

Cons

Some songs sound vaguely dated
Occasionally tinny production
Odd feeling of emptiness in certain places


4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
south_of_heaven 11
June 22nd 2006


5436 Comments


great review to the max lol!!!!

sounds like if there was an album by them that I would ever buy, this might be it, since it's them stripped down and playing rock. But I probably never will. They were never my cup o teaThis Message Edited On 06.22.06

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 22nd 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks people. Now I just gotta squeeze that Christina Aguilera one out...

Storm In A Teacup
June 22nd 2006


13149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After reading a lot of Beatles material I've come to the conclusion that McCartney has a huge ego and that he blew this out of proportion. I personally think Spector and co. were just doing their jobs.

stinkypoptart
June 22nd 2006


1169 Comments


nice work im looking forward to your chriistina aguilera rerview


Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006


15743 Comments


Way to own your last review. Excellent job sir.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Seafroggys
June 22nd 2006


60 Comments


way better then the original, I don't know what you're thinking. I much prefer the stripped down version of Winding Road to the lush version. I do like the solo on the Let it Be single version, but overall I like the arrangement on this album better.

El_Goodo
June 22nd 2006


1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Across the Universe was a song written by John Lennon for a charity event


I've heard multiple times that he wrote it after an arugment with his first wife

[quote=John Lennon]I was a bit more artsy-fartsy there. I was lying next to my first wife in bed, (song originally written in 1967) you know, and I was irritated. She must have been going on and on about something and she'd gone to sleep-- and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song[/quote]

That being said I was hesitant to like this album, but as soon as my friend put it in and went to Across The Universe and I heard how great it sounded remastered I was hooked.

Storm In A Teacup
June 22nd 2006


13149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

But awesome nonetheless.

metallicaman8
June 22nd 2006


4677 Comments


Fabulous review, my man. Keep em comin'

El_Goodo
June 22nd 2006


1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's more like de-mastered, really.


Compare the sound quality of the original Across The Universe to this version.

tom79
June 22nd 2006


3376 Comments


yeah, Across The Universe definetly improved. I still like both versions though. Its one of my favorite Beatles songs.

Digging: Wil Wagner - Laika

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 22nd 2006


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

way better then the original, I don't know what you're thinking. I much prefer the stripped down version of Winding Road to the lush version. I do like the solo on the Let it Be single version, but overall I like the arrangement on this album better.


I prefer this version to the original.

MrKite
October 13th 2007


5020 Comments


The version of Long and Winding Road on this is so much better than the other. Doesn't sound as over-done; makes it sound more pure.This Message Edited On 10.13.07



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