Hurple Hoopla

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As with the 2009 Beatles reissued CDs, I had to bust my budget and go out and get the recent John Lennon Signature Box. This will be the 3rd time I have bought some of those CDs. But, not all of them. Thank goodness. The thing about this particular slate of CD releases is that this was supposed to be the first time the original 70’s mixes of these albums would be on CD. So, I broke down and bought the full package. After all, it comes with neato-keano box! I didn’t buy the single-disc “best of,” I figured I could put together my own CD off the regular CDs. And I have. I also didn’t buy the 4-disc set, even though it had a track or two exclusive to it, because I don’t care about those tracks. At all.

Also, supposedly, this new batch of John Lennon reissue CDs was remastered by the same team that did the Beatles remastering of 2009. Well, if it was, they sure didn’t take the same care with the John Lennon solo stuff. (Probably because they had to get to the McCartney solo stuff, and then the Harrison stuff, and then the Ringo stuff… bleh) That’s all I’ll say about that. No, it’s not a bad remastering job, just not as good. But, that Beatles set would be hard to beat, so no serious complaints there.

But, yes, I do have some complaints.

The first, and main one, is that, gah, those 70’s mixes are horrendous! I forgot just how horrid most of Lennon’s 70’s output sounded. Put me down in the column marked “prefers the 2000 remixes,” because I do. Wow. I mean, really? This is quite a step down from George Martin and Geoff Emerick. These things sound like amateur hour productions compared to the Beatles releases. And Paul’s solo releases. And then, there’s the post-Imagine albums. Holy… What the hell happened to Lennon’s ability to write a decent song? It’s like he moved to New York, stumbled into a studio where Elephant’s Memory happened to be recording, and then forgot how to write. That craptacular Some Time In New York City album has got to be in the running, along with CCR’s Mardi Gras, for worst album by a major-label act, ever! As for disc 2 of that album… Can someone just muzzle Yoko, already? Please?

Things get a little better on Mind Games, but, that’s where the over-indulgent excess 70’s period starts to kick in. That’s when Lennon moved out to LA and started living the wild Rock Star life with Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie and the rest. And. It. Shows. Walls And Bridges is even worse. These were recorded at a time, and in an atmosphere, when the studios were allowing the big stars to do anything and everything they wanted. No whim was denied. If Keith Moon wanted to rent a studio for 9 months to throw a 24-hour party, and maybe even record a solo album, even though he couldn't sing (at all) then, hey, that's cool. That's the atmosphere in which those last two albums were recorded. And if it weren’t for one good cover (Stand By Me), then Rock ‘n’ Roll would be in contention with Some Time In New York City for Lennon’s worst album.

Now, for complaint number 2. Why not throw us fans that shelled out enough for a second mortgage on our homes to buy the full-catalog box set and give us the new 2-disc version of Double Fantasy? Are you guys really going to hit us up for another $12.99 to get that? So, then, we’ll have 2 copies of the original mix of that album, and one copy of the new remix. Bite me! I am not going to buy the new mix. I’ll get it somewhere else, like borrow from a friend who did buy it and rip it to a CDR. And, you can blow me if you don’t like it greedy Japanese woman.

And, finally, I reach complaint number 3. The box, itself. It’s friggin’ HUGE! The CDs, themselves, take up a little bitty teensy slot in the middle of the thing, about the size of the Beatles Mono box. But, the entire box is the size of a small tractor. Okay, that’s over-doing it a bit, but the box is about 4 times larger than it needs to be. The rest of the room, that’s not taken up by the little CDs, if filled with foam rubber. Yeah, that’s cool that the box will probably protect the CDs if I happen to accidentally drop them off the roof of the Empire State Building, but… c’mon! Some of us have limited room and want what room we have filled with CDs, not giant foam rubber filled cardboard boxes, even if that foam rubber contains a tiny oasis of John Lennon.

Anyway, besides all that, Plastic Ono Band and Imagine are still amazing albums, two of the best ever recorded. And together, Double Fantasy and Milk And Honey are one good album. Guess which half isn’t good. So, not a major loss, I guess, well, except for shelf space. Or my wallet.


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