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The Beatles - Let It Be CD (album) cover

LET IT BE

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.21 | 356 ratings

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thehallway
Prog Reviewer
3 stars How does one react to a messy album that's supposed to be messy?

Let It Be is far from the perfect swansong The Beatles of all bands deserved at the end of their career (though Abbey Road is a masterpiece). It definitely contains some brilliant tunes, but probably more dross than any previous record from the fab four. What's more of a problem though is the awful production quality, which mixes two extremes of sonic distaste in the form of the Phil Spector's 'hideously dense wall of sound' and the 'back to basics' trend of many rock bands who are inexperienced with mixing. The result is muddy, imbalanced and lacking any professionalism, because the over-the-top orchestrations from Spector totally cancel out the intentional rough edges left in place by Lennon. What I miss is the bright and clean, warm and pristine production of George Martin.

'Two of Us' is a little bit middle of the road to open an album. A nice enough country song, but it doesn't grab me, and the vocals are poorly mixed. 'Dig A Pony' sounds more White Album with its carefree, rocking attitude. If anything captures the 'live session' intentions of this album, it's this song. 'Across The Universe' has been fucked about with by Spector, in any case sounding more like it belongs on the Magical Mystery Tour bus than on a blues rock album. 'I Me Mine' is the first wow moment. Harrison's message is simple, his chords predictable, but the orchestra actually works here, embellishing a fine tune whose time changes make for interesting listening. It gets epic, in a good way. While 'Dig It' and 'Maggie Mae' can only be described as filler, the title track is the other strong point on side one. 'Let It Be' is just a magical ballad. Its simplicity works in its favour.

'I've Got A Feeling' has a feel-good vibe, but probably stretches a thin musical idea out for too long. 'One After 909' was written in 1962 so sounds like it belongs on the first Beatles album. It's nothing special. 'The Long and Winding Road' is a well-known ballad, the only other song here where the orchestra fits. It subtly points in the direction of Paul's solo career. Then the album finishes strongly with the bluesy 'For You Blue' from Harrison and our rooftop finale 'Get Back'.

Overall, there are a few good songs here but the overriding quality is inconsistency. The arguments, lack of ideas and production issues were bound to lead to a record that wouldn't be The Beatles' best. Live or half-live, I don't care too much. The Beatles were studio craftsmen, kings of the overdub, writers of the best pop music the world has ever seen. You can't be a lazy 'jam' band if you all hate each other!

thehallway | 3/5 |

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