When I was in middle school and high school, I used to sit in my parents’ basement and listen to Double Fantasy over and over and over. I kind of overdid it on the Beatles/John Lennon thing after that, so it’s only recently that I’ve been listening to John’s solo material — ever since I discovered that I’ve been carting around his multidisc Anthology with me from apartment to apartment and decided to give it a go. I was astounded … but even more astounded to learn in my research (of course I couldn’t casually listen to something without there being intense research involved) that Double Fantasy had been re-released with some 2010 remixes.
While on the whole I’m a little skeptical of this trend to retrofit things that were perfectly fine to begin with, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot — it worked for Let It Be, after all. And holy crap. Magical.
There are 2010 remixes on a ton of songs, including some that are on other albums (the thing is like 35 tracks in total), and there’s only one serious miss on the album — “Woman,” which sounds like a mid-nineties remix. Or like it could turn into “More Than Words” at any moment. But it’s more than made up for by “Cleanup Time,” which is seriously down-n-dirty and amazing, and “Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him,” which is I think actually a remaster and completely gorgeous.
I love the stripped-down versions mostly because it’s really nice to hear the vocal track clearly without having to fight your way aurally past the ’80s factor. I’ve discovered a lot about these songs that I never noticed in the original, and I’ve really come to an appreciation of Yoko. When you’re a middle-schooler, you’re not really equipped to enjoy her unique brand of birdcall-yodeling, but as an adult whose social life is 95% musicians, I love to listen to her and try to pinpoint the moment her voice stops being a voice and starts being an instrument. Whatever you have to say about her (and please don’t let it be that she broke up the Beatles, because we’re better than soundbyte crap like that around here), the woman is ballsy and courageous, and I kind of love her.
I love John for so many reasons, and I love him as someone who is well aware of the man behind the fairy tale. Dude wasn’t a saint, and that’s fine. Neither are the rest of us. But he had a beautiful way with words, a voice that gives you goosebumps, a knack for pointing out the ridiculous problems in the world, creative ways of getting the world to pay attention to those problems, and he loved the shit of out his wife, and that’s a pretty amazing package.
I wonder what he’d think of the world now.