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The Beatles - Let It Be CD (album) cover

LET IT BE

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.21 | 359 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The final Beatles studio album ever released was not the last one recorded, contrary to popular belief. The Let it Be sessions actually took place in January and February of 1969, where as Abbey Road was recorded in Auguest of the same year. So why did it take a whole year for these tapes to be released as an official album? During the sessions (which were also caught on film), there were increasing tensions in the band and the result was sub par material (as in it sounded awful). The group's original intention was for it to be released like this to give the world a view of the awful condition the Beatles were in at the time. In comes Phil Spector, who took these original tapes and made them presentable to the listener (and the band claims that he butchered the tapes) and made what would become the final album. This album also finds the group coming back to their roots, with a lot of songs that represent what they were and how they sounded long ago, but there are still hints of their current influence in the music as well.

The album opens with the foot stomping acoustic ballad Two of Us, which has some nice acoustic work and a great middle section where Ringo lets out some technical drum patterns (technical for Ringo that is) as well as some great harmony vocals from Lennon and McCartney. Dig a Pony is a bluesy number with a lot of powerful riffing and some great vocals from Lennon (the group really seemed to be in the Dig It phrase at the time). Across the Universe was a song Lennon wrote originally in 1968 for the World Wildlife Fund, and in the version used for that effort there were some outdoor sound effects towards the end, but in this version that sound is gone. Anyway, it's a majestic acoustic piece with some creative acoustic work and nice use of a vocal choir to really give the song an epic, out of this world, feel. I Me Mine is the first of two Harrison songs on the album. It would also be the last session until the Free as a Bird/Real Love sessions in the 90s of the group (although that is arguable because Lennon wasn't present, but he hadn't been involved with any George Harrison songs since Revolver). Anyway, it has some nice hammon organs and a creative bridge section, and despite its short length, it's one of the better songs on the album. Dig it, much like Flying (in that all the members had contributed to the song) and to a lesser extent Helter Skelter, is short segment of a longer, more varied jam between the group. John Lennon makes many remarks during the brief excerpt, but it's a shame that more of the song wasn't reproduced for the record.

Let it Be is one of the more famous Paul McCartney songs, with extremely memorable lyrics and a spectacular epic and majestic feel. Paul McCartney really sings his heart out on this piece and George Harrison's guitar solo really is perfect for the piece and is quite brilliant. Maggie Mae is a traditional folk piece that gets a comical rendition on this album. It only lasts less than a minute, but from that minute you can actually here the band enjoying themselves. I've Got a Feeling is, like Happiness is a Warm Gun, actually two seperate songs, Paul McCartney's I've Got a Feeling and John Lennon's Everybody Had a Hard Year. There's some great riffing throughout and the song flows quite well from piece to piece. One After 909 is a piece that the group had been performing ever since they were the Quarrymen back in the late 50s. It's a short but sweet song that invokes memories of the past albums (as in Please Please Me). The Long and Winding Road is the song that McCartney hated because of Phil Spector's orchestral arrangement for it. It's a majestic, triumphant, and sad piece overall, but the range of emotions and the sheer power of McCartney's voice makes this one of the better tracks. For You Blue is a bluesy George Harrison number that has some rollicking slide guitar from Lennon as well as some great riffing and soloing throughout (during the Go Johnny Go section that is). The album closes with Get Back, the original title for the album itself. The song was actually recorded live during the infamous rooftop concert. It has some great guitar from both Lennon and Harrison as well as some great vocals from McCartney. It ends with a bit of a joke from Lennon, who chides "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition."

In the end, Let it Be would be the last official Beatles album to feature new material until the Real Love/Free as a Bird Anthology sessions in the mid 90s (numerous years after the death of Lennon in 1980). This album is rawer in sound, it has a looser feel than any other Beatles album, and it has some of their witty and humorous moments, but it also has it's incredible moments. The creativity and experimentation seen in Abbey Road and The White Album was gone, but the core of the group was not lost. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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