Brainwashed (2002)


 
1. Any Road 2. P2 Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night) 3. Pisces Fish 4. Looking for My Life 5. Rising Sun 6. Marwa Blues 7. Stuck Inside a Cloud 8. Run So Far 9. Never Get Over You 10.Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 11.Rocking Chair in Hawaii 12.Brainwashed

 

Released almost a whole year after George's death, expectations were not all that high. After all, this was George Harrison, the man who just didn't seem to care too much about his celebrity status, and in many ways, seem to give up entirely on his career as a musician. This was a bit strange since his last album, Cloud Nine was a major critical and commercial success. Of course it had been a whopping fifteen years since that album had been released. Interestingly, shortly after that album, George teamed up with superstars Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne had formed "The Traveling Wilburys" as sort of an "alter ego" supergroup and quickly released 2 very good albums before they hung it up as well. Then the whole "Beatles Anthology" project arose, so we saw George involved with that for a short time. Other than that, nothing.

So the songs here were supposedly the bits and pieces from the last fifteen years, which is never really a good sign in terms of what we may expect when its finally released in terms of quality. Fortunately, he had Jeff Lynne behind the controls, and Jeff actually confessed that after his friend's death, he changed the songs up a bit, even though George had asked him not to. He shrugged it off saying he could have talked George out of it anyway. Kudos to Jeff Lynne, because whatever touches he added certainly didn't hurt. This is arguably George's best solo album of his scattered, uneven career.

The style is very similar to Cloud Nine as well as the quality of the songs. Everything is very easily accessible and the songs are all quite catchy with a variety of moods and feels. Underneath the veneer of the tracks is a sense of humor and contentment that almost sounded like George was cool with dying, and maybe even looked forward to it. He understood that he was just passing into a better existence. Never one to shy away from his religious beliefs, the only time the album gets a tad too heavy is on the last, title track, where the last couple of minutes is a Hindu chat. It's easily forgivable since we all knew that this was extremely important to George, so he should have his last wishes on his very last song on his very last album.

This was a perfect way to end a career. After the tragic, premature ending of bandmate John Lennon twenty years ago, it was comforting to see that George's passing was allowed to be much more graceful. This, in a strange way, was an awesome way for George to say goodbye to everyone - and you have to wonder if he was smiling from the great beyond after people realized, much to their surprise, just how wonderful his last album actually was.

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