If the new The Beatles album is to be their last then it will stand as a cheapskate epitaph, a cardboard tombstone, a tatty end to a musical fusion which wiped clean and drew again the face of pop music.
At £3 – bar a penny – can this mini-collection of new tracks, narcissistic pip-ups and chocolate box dressing really be the last will and testament of the once respected and most famous group in the world? I suspect, in fact, that almost £1 of the cost is to cover the accompanying book of fab glossy pix… Lump it or leave it, music lovers.
On the reckoning of this album The Beatles have lost their self-respect and sold out all the principles for which they ever stood.
Remember all those quotes about “the men in suits“, and the contempt for candyfloss Hollywood chorales, the earnest pride in their album, and the fervent yearning to reject phoneyness right along the line? Forget it… because with this LP, the philosophy seems to see them go along with this load of old flannel and musical castration.
Almost all of the fun and raw feel has been taken away or polished up by Phill Spector, who was called in by Allen Klein to give a nice professional ‘reproduction‘ to the LP, but he does leave in Lennon’s intro to the opener ‘Two Of Us‘. In its original form, ‘The Long And Winding Road‘ had empty simplicity.
Now it’s all obtrusive Mantovani-type strings and Cinemascope chorale… acceptable… but totally unnecessary.
The worst development in the fortunes of The Beatles is that whereas their finance may be one thing, interference in their individual work without their control – as in ‘The Long And Winding Road‘ – is something else altogether.
Final tracks are another strong one from George, a whispery chunky rocker called ‘For You Blue‘ and then ‘Get Back‘.
The worst thing about the excellent live numbers on this album is that there are so few of them.
The next worst thing is that they are dressed up in abundance of glossy card and paper and pushed out at £3 minus one penny.
George Harrison believes The Beatles will work together again and, if only to restore the respect of those who admire, appreciate and love them, I pray he is right. In its overwrapped state, this glorified EP is a band and sad mistake.