Top positive review
Nobody loves you when you're down and out...
on 19 June 2018
It has been a thing, since this album’s release, to criticise it, like its predecessor, the underrated “Mind Games” by saying “it only has a few good tracks on it”. I disagree, there is some good material on here.
“Going Down On Love” is lyrically sparse, I guess, but it has a quirky appeal, with Lennon showing what a naughty lad he was by referencing a sex act and hoping no-one would notice, and a good bongo percussion bit. The rousing saxophone-dominated “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” was a fine choice for a single (a number one in the USA). “Old Dirt Road” is a typical slow, thoughtful Lennon song, that would have fitted on the previous album. “What You Got” is a heady, funked-up number with Lennon in trademark throat-straining voice. “Bless You” is a beautiful, slower number as indeed is “Scared”. Lennon has been criticised on this album for lacking direction and conviction. These two tracks would seem to disprove that theory, full of sensitive, personal lyrics and musically mature, too.
“Number 9 Dream” is a stimulating, ethereal piece of classic 70s Lennon, with a great vocal, Beatles-style string-heavy orchestration and bizarre, non-sensical unknown language chorus - “ah bawakawa pousse, pousse”. It works, though. “Surprise Surprise” is a rock and saxophone romp with the sort of sound George Harrison used on his “All Things Must Pass” album. “Steel And Glass” sees Lennon railing at someone (hopefully not McCartney again! Apparently it was a rant at an ex-manager) Indeed, it sounds like it would not be out of place on the “Imagine” album, sounding a bit like “How Do You Sleep?” in places.
“Beef Jerky” is an instrumental jam, but an invigorating one at that. “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out” is somewhat self-pitying and indulgent, as Lennon was certainly not down and out, he just lost a weekend. No big deal, get over it.
I have always had a bit of a problem with the sound on this album - too tinny in my opinion.
However, the 2002 remaster is much bassier and full than the thin, jarring 2010 remaster.