Top critical review
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Beautiful, strange, contradictory, interesting.
on 2 September 2011
Be careful not to build this album into something that it isn't. It isn't a great album - some tracks are, but others are little more than jamming sessions that were used to fill the two sides.
It's the contradictions that make this such a strange and ultimately interesting album.
The title track 'Imagine' is now a peace anthem - high ideals, a hymn of gentility that is used to portray Lennon as an idealist. But how badly that sits with the vitriolic attack on Paul McCartney that is 'How do you sleep?'!
'Gimme some Truth' has some of the most powerful anti-establishment lyrics ever committed to record. Brilliant. But 'I don't Wanna be a soldier Mama' is repetitive and weak by comparison - little more than a make-it-up-as-you-go session.
`Jealous Guy' - painfully brilliant. `Crippled Inside' - nowhere near as good.
'Oh my Love'- Lennon balladeering at his best. "Oh Yoko!" - a song that seems to be trying to prove something, but which ultimately fails.
Don't get me wrong - this is an album worth buying and worth playing often. But it shows an artist in pain - trying to resolve the momentous decision he made to leave everything and set up with Yoko, hitting out at his former best friend, trying to find a new role for himself.
Listen to it in that light, and `Imagine' makes sense, the ambiguities can be explained. Not a great album overall, but a piece of pop history - in turn beautiful, strange, contradictory, interesting.