Review Summary: Living In The Material World is a gem that got lost in the aftermath of the epic "All Things Must Pass"
Following the Beatles break-up George Harrison "the quiet Beatle," unleashed an epic triple album (a double album in CD-format) entitled "All Things Must Pass," this feat alone should have thwarted his nickname but quickly following the album was the first ever large-scale charity event, "The Concert For Bangladesh." By 1972 George was understandably, but by October he was back in the studio recording what would become "Living In The Material World."
Where as "All Things Must Pass," had a large catalogue of rejected Beatles songs such as the majestic title track, and Hear Me Lord (both of which can be found performed by The Beatles on various bootlegs) "Living In The Material World," was created from completley new material. Another noteable difference between the two albums is that where as "All Things Must Pass," had an abundance of guitarists "Living In The Material World," features only George on guitar. This fact combined with the more insightful lyrics makes this album a much better window into George's heart, soul, and humour than it's predecessor.
This is clear straight from the beginning of the album with the single Give Me Life (Give Me Peace On Earth)
a slower acoustic number where George cries out for everything he wants in the world such as, clearly indicated by the title, peace on earth, and love. Sue Me, Sue You Blues
shows of George's great sense of humor and wit, although it may be viewed incorrectly as a response to George Harrison losing a lawsuit over the copyright infringement of My Sweet Lord, this song is about The Beatles break-up and the dissolving of their business ties. Cleverly written in the style of a square-dance/hoedown the irritated feeling of the lyrics becomes humourous with lines like "Bring your lawyer, and I'll bring mine, we can have a bad time." The Light That Has Lighted The World
is a slower piano-based ballad that musically has strong similarities to John Lennon's Jealous Guy. George is clearly angry at people who cannot accept that he is changing with lines like, "So hateful of anyone that is happy or 'free' They live all their lives without looking to see The light that has lighted the world"
Don't Let Me Wait Too Long
is my favourite track off the album. Lyrically it's a simple but heartfelt love song, but carried along with a superb and memorable melody the song becomes alot more. Musicially it recalls the wall of sound production of Phil Spector on "All Things Must Pass." Who Can See It Now
is an emotional track that seems to recall Harrison's times with The Beatles, I only ask, that what I feel, should not be denied me now, cause it's been earned and I have seen my life belongs to me, amongst other topics. The title track Living In The Material World
and The Lord Loves The One,
are the most up-beat tracks off the album, and both explore George's personal beliefes about Religion, and "The Material World." Be Here Now
is a beautiful ballad that follows in the vein of The White Album's "Long, Long, Long." The music is lead by a gentle acoustic guitar and sparse piano, while George delivers a heartfelt vocal overtop. Definitley one of the stand-out tracks. Try Some Buy Some
appears to be a drug-reference, and musically sounds similar to Who Can See It Now. The Day The World Gets Round
features a great chorus as George sings the same notes as his harmonics, it's another social commentary song that continues to let us see how George felt at the time. The closing track appropriatley titled That Is All
is a great ballad that sums up George's great belief in the power of love "That is all I want to say, our love could save the day." The delivery is heartfelt, and the music compliments the vocals with a sweet dream like sound.
In the end Living In The Material World
is a great album, that provides great insight into the mind and soul of George, and even though both the album and single (Give Me Life) went to number one. It has become a gem lost in the aftermath of arguably George's best work "All Things Must Pass."