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Occupying the critical
pews on this album is a bit like spitting in church. To listen is akin to a
religious experience for devotees. To be less than reverential is to stand against
the accepted orthodoxy. However, it's equally difficult to imagine the man himself
being any less than dismissive of such an approach. Lennon was an awkward bastard
at times - which simply made him a well-rounded individual in anybody's terms:
the other side of Lennon the man. Likewise this album displays both sides of
Lennon the artist: from sensitivity touched by genius - to ill-disciplined,
The title track
speaks, profoundly, for itself; even if applying the cold light of critical
glare - not usually applied to untouchable monuments in the public consciousness
such as this - begins to reveal that it's less startling insight, more the voicing
of a naïve wish-fulfilment that comes across us all in platitudinous 'if
only' moments. But then that was the true spirit of Lennon - his lyrics were
of the common experience; intended to be among us, not talking tablets delivered
from on high. The poignant 'Jealous Guy' is not quite so Olympian as 'Imagine'
but can still be placed at the foothills of his achievements. Also the raucous,
ranting list of acid-tongued, word association that is 'Gimme Some Truth' -
which turns the full glare of his venom onto the social/political diaspora of
the early-'70s in typically angry and judgmental style.
From here, despite
the gentle assignation/resignation of the delicate 'Oh My Love' and the echoing,
voodoo edge to the booming 'I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama' the rest of the
tracks are simply a series of tumuli in the Lennon canon. 'It's So Hard' is
the kind of self-indulgent, rambling blues rocker that picks up the (very) slack
of Let It Be and pre-curses his return to rocking roots with the Rock'n'Roll
album of 1975. It's as rough and ready as 'Yer Blues' and just another part
of the style circus that mimicked his multi-faceted personality.
That the minor
keys on Imagine - 'Crippled Inside' and 'Oh Yoko!' to name two that are
locked firmly in the box marked throwaway - still don't embarrass his memory
that much tells its own significant story. But they do disprove the rose-tinted
view of Imagine as some unified whole, or evenly outstanding achievement.
There is a definable division in tone, quality and approach. Imagine thatů even
genius had its off days. A fact that is too easily glossed over nearly thirty-years
later, although such talk is relative to us ordinary mortals of course.
John Lennon: Imagine
Parlophone CD-Album 724352485826
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|Makes mi cry out of mi umps - a proper good record
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