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Brainwashed (Bonus DVD)
     

Brainwashed (Bonus DVD)

4.6 13
by George Harrison
 

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Out of the limelight for much of the decade prior to his death from cancer in November 2001, George Harrison hadn't stopped following his muse. The posthumously completed Brainwashed is immersed in the simple charm, melodic instinct, and spiritual insight that had always marked Harrison's better work. Wistful, spare tunes like "Stuck Inside a Cloud," which pits

Overview

Out of the limelight for much of the decade prior to his death from cancer in November 2001, George Harrison hadn't stopped following his muse. The posthumously completed Brainwashed is immersed in the simple charm, melodic instinct, and spiritual insight that had always marked Harrison's better work. Wistful, spare tunes like "Stuck Inside a Cloud," which pits a simple, plaintive vocal against one of the ex-Beatle's trademark twangy guitar lines, dominate the disc, and there are occasional allusions to Harrison's illness (as on the melancholy "Run So Far"). The album was co-produced by Harrison, his son Dhani (who also sings and plays guitar), and George's longtime friend and collaborator Jeff Lynne, who himself has wondered if the results are slicker than Harrison would have wanted. Far from gleaming with studio polish, however, Brainwashed only suffers Lynne's overly heavy hand on a couple of tracks, including "Never Get Over You," which tilts the emphasis away from Harrison's tune and toward the plush production. Elsewhere, Harrison's searching songs provide grist for both body and soul with simple, understated arrangements and evocative lyrics. "Had no idea where I was heading/I only found it out when I was down upon my knees/Looking for my life," he sings atop acoustic strumming on the pensive "Looking for My Life." Even in his less-than-stellar health, Harrison proved an inventive instrumentalist, shifting from guitar to dobro (check his slide work on the subdued instrumental "Marwa Blues") to ukulele on songs such as a lilting cover of Hoagy Carmichael's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" -- which itself dovetails nicely into the sun-dappled blues of "Rocking Chair in Hawaii." While hardly flawless, Brainwashed has more than enough glimmering facets to qualify as a diamond in the rough -- and a sweet, understated epitaph for "the Quiet Beatle."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
George Harrison went quiet not long after the second Traveling Wilburys album, surfacing only for the Beatles' Anthology in the mid-'90s. He was recording all the while, yet he died before completing the album that would have been the follow-up to 1987's Cloud Nine. His son, Dhani, and his longtime friend/collaborator Jeff Lynne completed the recordings, released late in 2002, nearly a year after George's death, as Brainwashed. Given its baggage it's easy to be suspicious about the merits of Brainwashed prior to hearing it. Posthumous efforts often feel incomplete, Harrison's albums were frequently inconsistent, and Lynne favors ornate, cinematic productions that run contrary to George's desire for this project to be simple and low key -- nothing that would suggest that Brainwashed would be a success. Defying all odds, Brainwashed isn't just a success, it's one of the finest records Harrison ever made. No, it doesn't achieve the splendor of All Things Must Pass, nor is it quite of its time like both Living in the Material World and Cloud Nine were, but it's a quiet, subtle gem, one that strikes close to the heart of Harrison's music. It's intimate, alternately insightful and cheerfully lightweight, balancing his trademark black humor with silliness and good humor. Anyone searching the album for his views on mortality -- as he faced not only cancer, but an attacker that nearly took his life -- will surely find it, but this is not a somber album, it is a warm album, the sound of someone enjoying life without losing his wry sense of humor. This same spirit carries over to the music, with Harrison abandoning the idea of getting a hit and simply relaxing, primarily by playing a lot of ukulele and guitar. There aren't any major songs here and perhaps a tune or two could be pegged as throwaways by the cynical, but there are no down moments and it all holds together well -- better than most Harrison albums -- and it's a fitting way to say goodbye, every bit as good as Double Fantasy and, in some respects, even sweeter.
Entertainment Weekly - Tom Sinclair
It's nice to report that Harrison's last will and testament stacks up remarkably well against the rest of his oeuvre. (B+)

Product Details

Release Date:
11/19/2002
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0724354196928
catalogNumber:
41969
Rank:
12148

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

George Harrison   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Voices,Slide Guitar
Jeff Lynne   Bass,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Acoustic Bass,Wurlitzer
Herbie Flowers   Bass,Tuba
Jools Holland   Piano
Jim Keltner   Drums
Ray Cooper   Drums
Jane Lister   Harp
Mike Moran   Keyboards
Marc Mann   Keyboards,Recorder
John Etchells   Recorder
Ryan Ulyate   Recorder
Sam Brown   Background Vocals
Dhani Harrison   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Wurlitzer
Joe Brown   Rhythm Guitar

Technical Credits

Jeff Lynne   Producer
Dhani Harrison   Producer
George Harrison   Producer

Customer Reviews

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Brainwashed (Bonus DVD) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful album.  I agree with the reviewer who said it gets better the more you listen to it.  The album has a lot of depth.  Of course there is a sadness to it, but this can't be helped.  The songs that were chosen were chosen well.  It has some of the best guitar ever on a George Harrison album.  Contrary to the prevailing opinion, my favorite GH album is "Living in the Material World."  I wasn't expecting something like that.  But I like this album a great deal.  I think my biggest surprise was that I actually liked hearing the uke.  I'm more of a guitar and bass fan, having played bass for many years.  But George did some interesting things on every instrument he played, going way back to the sitar on Beatles albums.  
Guest More than 1 year ago
George has made me a ukelele fan. What a great way to say goodbye and let us have a glimpse (and some peace) about dealing with death. George was a fine musician and a better man.
Guest More than 1 year ago
His physical being is gone,but through his music and passion he lives for a lifetime. This CD belongs between "ATMP" and Cloud 9.Thank you George.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brainwashed is filled with beauitiful melodies, delightful slide guitar hooks accompanied by a strong voiced Harrison. The use of ukelele on many of the tracks blends in splendidly. The non Harrison cut (Devil and the Deep Blue Sea)is fun and destined to be a sing-a-long. No overproduction ELO style here! Great album to keep fans reminded of an individual who loved life and music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The song 'Rising Sun' is George's most beautiful. There is much bittersweet and beautiful music on this elegantly produced disc.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good CD--classic Harrison: spiritual, playful and thoughtful. It's sad to realize that I'll never again experience listening to a new George Harrison CD, but reassuring to remember his wonderful music will live on forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not expect "Brainwashed" to be a post beatle masterpiece but Dahni and Jeff did a beautiful job with what George laid down and the new CD is wonderful!!! I LOVE IT. Mr. Harrison's songs are as fresh as the day's of the early Beatles. PLAY IT LOUD! LOUD Kelly
Guest More than 1 year ago
An exellent album. The more you listen the better it it gets.George has always been better post Beatle
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything you could ever wish for. A testament to a simple, lovely and inspirationally dignified human being.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great job, Jeff and Dhani. Understated, warm sound.. George's guitar is much more prominent here than on his last work, Cloud Nine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is very good and shows us how we will mis George in the future. Nico, Belgium
Guest More than 1 year ago
Got to be his best album since All things must pass. He really hits the nail on the head with this one, no irritating songs or down moments. sadly missed guitaris
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this when it first came out for a professionally trained musician friend (who occasionally performs professionally); she gave it back a couple of weeks ago. Never heard the entire album and didn't understand why until I finally played it for myself; now, I'm giving it away (i've been a serious guitar "hobbyist" for 30+ years). With apologies to those who like the album, I just don't know what everybody sees in this, other than it being the swansong of one of the two (Lennon is the other) most talented, spiritual, intelligent and sensitive Beatles... The songs are mediocre at best and what redeeming values were there are ruined by the flat, overprocessed, cold digital sound quality. Jeff Lynn's overproduction kills what little warmth might have been left... Everything Lynn does sounds the same; he's no Phil Spector, that's for sure... The title song, "Brainwashed" had possibilities, but repeated plays leave me feeling it's kind of adolescent... This is not close to being one of Harrison's best works; "All Things Must Pass," both the original and the newer release, are the best, methinks.....