Acoustic by John Lennon | 724387442924 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Acoustic

Acoustic

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by John Lennon
     
 

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This 17-track collection may well be the most intimate musical portrait ever painted of one of rock's most revelatory songwriters. Spanning Lennon's entire post-Beatles career, Acoustic provides a direct line to the genesis of the songs, which is particularly valuable on material that changed shape when bulked up in the studio -- such

Overview

This 17-track collection may well be the most intimate musical portrait ever painted of one of rock's most revelatory songwriters. Spanning Lennon's entire post-Beatles career, Acoustic provides a direct line to the genesis of the songs, which is particularly valuable on material that changed shape when bulked up in the studio -- such as a rivetingly raw "Cold Turkey" and a stab at "My Mummy's Dead" that outstrips the already potent emotional punch of the original. It's equally interesting to hear Lennon revamp tunes for live acoustic performance; three of the disc's cuts are culled from concert appearances, including a jaunty take on the protest classic "John Sinclair" and a version of "Imagine" that takes on the feel of a mammoth campfire sing-along, thanks to the unfettered audience participation. Here, too, is Lennon's original demo for "Real Love," which, as heard on the Beatles' Anthology 2, featured overdubbed contributions from Lennon's three surviving band mates; the original boasts a winsome simplicity lacking in the reunion recording. Those who own Lennon's posthumously released Anthology box of acoustic, demo, and alternate versions will be familiar with nine of the recordings here, ranging from the incendiary strummer "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" to the contented "Watching the Wheels." But with seven previously unreleased recordings and an unrefined and earnest expression throughout, Acoustic blows by like a soft autumn breeze, bringing both freshness and a poignant chill to the atmosphere.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The 2004 compilation Acoustic collects 16 tracks featuring John Lennon alone (more or less) backed only by his acoustic guitar. It's a good idea for a compilation, but the execution is problematic. First of all, Lennon's solo albums didn't have all that many solo acoustic songs on them; they were carefully constructed in a studio, often featuring layers of overdubs, even on such emotionally direct albums as Plastic Ono Band. So producer Yoko Ono has chosen to rely primarily on demos and home recordings for this compilation -- a choice that may not sit well with casual fans lured in by the simple, classy title, thinking that this is a more polished affair than it is. More problematic is that this 16-track collection is a hodgepodge of nine cuts previously released on the 1998 rarities box Anthology and seven previously unreleased tracks. Home recordings and demos are by their nature music that appeals primarily to die-hard fans, of which Lennon has many. However, those very fans will already own over half of this collection on the box set, and they'll not only wonder why they have to buy these songs again, but why the seven "new" songs didn't appear on Anthology in the first place, especially since they are very good. Of particular note: a lean, mean version of "Well Well Well" with a heavily phased vocal; a folky, laid-back "God"; a revved-up, tense "Cold Turkey" where John uncannily mimics Marc Bolan's high-pitched, lamb-like warble; a terrific, rollicking "What You Got" that cuts to the quick of the song; and a simple, light "Dear Yoko." These are all well worth hearing, but it's hard to recommend Acoustic as an album not only because of the recycling but because of the haphazard liner notes that never acknowledge when the recordings were cut (outside of the live tracks taken from a 1971 Ann Arbor, MI, rally for John Sinclair and a cut from an Attica benefit concert that year), nor offer any liner notes or context. The booklet simply offers fake book arrangements for the 16 tracks here, complete with lyrics, a chord chart, transcribed chatter ("I just wanted you to go and A&R it. OK, I'll try it."), and the meaningless instructions of "Flat Tuning," which presumably means that John's guitar was slightly out of tune when he cut the song (it's hard to tell, since "flat tuning" is not a musical term). This booklet along with the repeated recordings makes Acoustic feel like less than the sum of its parts, but those hardcore fans will likely buy it anyway because these seven previously unreleased tracks are worth hearing. But they'll grumble when they lay their money down.
Rolling Stone - Anthony DeCurtis
A gripping, bare-bones portrait of the artist at work.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2004
Label:
Emi Europe Generic
UPC:
0724387442924
catalogNumber:
874429
Rank:
15296

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