Let It Be feels like the loose, shaggy dog of The Beatles catalog. Recorded before but released after Abbey Road, the stories behind the album – the acrimony between the band, the various (and rejected) Glyn Johns, the final polish by “wall of sound” producer Phil Spector and eventual release after the Beatles officially broke up – all of this overshadows the original intent: that of four guys getting back to their roots, playing together the kind of rattling rock and roll they loved in the beginning.
Thirty years later the story gets even more complicated and elaborate with Let It Be…Naked, which strips out the Spector contributions, removes the banter and in-between noise and re-sequences the album, even removing two tracks and adding one (“Don’t Let Me Down”). I readily admit Let It Be in either of its incarnations is something I rarely revisit, and each have their moments that work (I really enjoy “Don’t Let Me Down”), but the honest answer if I’m going to pick one? It’s usually the original version. Songs like “The Long and Winding Road” really benefit from Spector’s contributions, and at this point it’s just become the standard for the album in my head. …Naked has its spotlights, but those spotlights act more as road stops, quick diversions that only make you appreciate the original more. It’s neat to hear “Across the Universe” so unadorned. or the quieter, more contemplative version of “Let It Be,” but when I go back to the original there’s an energy that missing from the …Naked version.
Sorry, Paul. For me it’s just an interesting vanity project.
PS – I dig “I’ve Got A Feeling”
Quick note: This was supposed to be release a month ago but – as will sometimes happen, Beatles burnout stopped the project. As we’re nearing the end of the Fab Four, we should be back on track, as referenced in this post.