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The Beatles - Let It Be - Naked CD (album) cover

LET IT BE - NAKED

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.47 | 234 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Interestingly, Let It Be... Naked is actually better than the original Let It Be from 1970.

To begin with, Let It Be... Naked is not an incredible revelation. It's pretty much just an alternate version of Let It Be. And second, although I'm a Paul McCartney fan, and although I've never been much of a fan of the original Let It Be, I never thought Phil Spector's postproduction detracted from the album. It's like Ringo Starr said - - or was it George Harrison? - - if you hire Phil Spector to produce your record, don't be surprised if your record sounds like it was produced by Phil Spector. Nonetheless McCartney strongly disliked the album's sound, and thus, 33 years later, we have Let It Be... Naked.

... Which is actually an improvement, however slight, over the 1970 album. Whereas the original "The Long and Winding Road" was a solid, baroque pop gem about the end of something, the version here sounds like an early McCartney solo song - - it's almost as if that long and winding road has led him to a new beginning.

The alternate mixes of the filler songs like "Dig a Pony" and "For You Blue" don't change my opinion of them, but each of the five songs following "The Long and Winding Road" ("Two of Us," "I've Got a Feeling," "One After 909," "Don't Let Me Down," and "I Me Mine") benefits from the new treatment. Plus, it helps that "Dig It" and "Maggie May" - - probably the weakest songs on Let It Be - - are omitted on Let It Be... Naked, replaced by "Don't Let Me Down." Apparently the latter song was removed as part of Spector's "re-producing" of the album.

I'll bet that some, or even many, have argued that Let It Be... Naked should be regarded as the genuine "original" Let It Be. After all, both versions are comprised entirely of material created on or prior to April 2, 1970. This includes all of Spector's overdubs. Other than the change resulting in the addition of "Don't Let Me Down," which was originally intended to be on the album, the biggest difference between the 1970 and 2003 versions is that for Naked, three of the songs don't include Spector's contributions. To ensure that customers who already owned the 1970 album wouldn't be paying twice for the same material, different takes or mixes of the remaining seven songs were used for Naked. There are other changes, but overall, these are two versions of the same album.

Given their similarities, Let It Be... Naked and Let It Be are both three-star albums, although I have a slight preference for Naked. If you're any kind of serious Beatles fan, you should have both. Otherwise I'm not sure it matters. The Naked versions of the best-known songs ("Get Back," "The Long and Winding Road," and "Let It Be") are slightly but noticeably different from those you'll be familiar with, so if it's these you'll mainly be listening to, Let It Be is a better bet. On the other hand, Let It Be... Naked hangs together better as an album.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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