Imagine (1971)


 
1. Imagine 2. Crippled Inside 3. Jealous Guy 4. It's So Hard 5. I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama, I Don't Wanna Die 6. Gimme Some Truth 7. Oh My Love 8. How Do You Sleep? 9. How? 10.Oh Yoko!

 

Widely regarded as John Lennon's best solo effort, and for very good reasons. This album is near-flawless. Known mostly for the title track, the soft, kind hearted plea for world peace will probably exist for thousands of years after everyone on the planet is long gone. There are many similarities between this release and his freshmen effort Plastic Ono Band. Like that release, this album fluctuates quite widely in the "style" department, Lennon showing us he's much more than a one dimensional artist.

There are ballads, love songs, rockers, protest songs, and pleasant pop melodies throughout making the recording attractively diverse. The main difference between this album and his last is that, although still angry, this album is a lot less personal. To some extent, you could argue then that it's more accessible. Yes, he's angry, but with the lyrics to Give me Some Truth, I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama, I Don't Wanna Die and Crippled Inside, are masked in a way that sound as though they could be coming from anyone - especially during the turbulent early seventies.

All is not doom and gloom. Apart from the above mentioned title track, songs such as Jealous Guy, Oh Yoko! and the very beautiful and underrated Oh My Love see a much softer person that, to some extent, we fell in love with several years earlier when he was a mop top. With all of these styles, you have to give credit to Lennon for not mucking this up into a disaster. This could have been an unorganized mess, yet the album mostly never loses its focus.

Sadly, there's one horrible exception here that's so awful that it tears this masterpiece down a notch and prevents it from being a true great work. He manages to take a very bitter, very obvious stab at his "ex", Paul McCartney on the scathing How Do You Sleep?. It's painful to listen to the bitterness he expresses, and sadly, he comes across as a bit immature. In case anyone missed the point, the inner sleeve has a picture of Lennon holding a pig in a manner that his ex-Beatle mate was doing on his last solo album, "Ram". It didn't make anything easier that ex-Beatle George Harrison plays guitar on the beastly song. To be frank, Lennon should have known better. I mean, how can the title song on this album be about world peace, love and understanding, etc. and yet, at the same time, feature such a petty song about such brutal hatred?

Fortunately the two would kiss and make up a few years later, but it doesn't help having the permanent scar plastered here for all to relive. Anyone who knows the history of John Lennon knows that, unfortunately, his personal life was always filled with contradictions,yet people tended to idolize his "good" image, which was always a bit unfair. Anyway, aside from that gaffe, the rest of the album is quite brilliant.

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