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Is Let It Be underrated?
8 May 2017
12.55pm
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QuarryMan
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Is Let It Be , the Beatles' final album released, underrated?

I've been thinking about this recently and have come to the conclusion that it is. Despite hits such as Let It Be and fan favorites like Across The Universe it is often maligned.

So what's wrong with it, and why do people hate it so much?

Well for starters, it's no Revolver . Compared to their great projects of 1965-8, it can't compete. But that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Very few albums in history can compete with Revolver , Pepper or the White Album , so it's unfair to a project that was always doomed to failure to compare it with the greats.

The second point is the production, by Phil Spector. Before recording, the band had set a 'no overdubs rule' which Spector blatantly annoyed, using extensive orchestral and choir overdubs. Many people think this ruins the album, but it only actually effects three songs noticeably: Let It Be , Across The Universe and The Long And Winding Road . People think that the overdubs should be stripped away like on the album Naked but I disagree.

With the first of the three, the grandiose production works to great effect. The song is a huge power ballad known across the world and the horns work perfectly with that and George's raged solo. 

With Across The Universe , the production is annoying, but it's not particularly loud in the mix and certainly doesn't stop me listening to the song.

With TLAWR it's the main problem. People HATE the choir here. I personally don't mind the orchestra, but the choir shouldn't be there. Still, the song has an epic sound not heard in many other Beatles releases. 

Again, that's only three songs and each one has good enough lyrics and melody to make up for it.

Another criticism is that the album doesn't feel cohesive. It's a good point (the order of the tracks is stupid) but I think the snippets of conversation throughout give it a casual vibe.

The final criticism people have is the two songs Maggie Mae and Dig It . I can't defend the album on these points. They're pointless songs.

So what's actually good about the album?

Well, it has a few great songs, a few average ones and a couple truly bad ones.

As far as straight forward rockers, this album has several to offer: I Me Mine , I've Got A Feeling , One After 909 , Get Back , Dig A Pony . With the arguable exception of One After 909 , these are all good-great songs, with great guitar playing in particular. 

The album boasts a few great ballads: Let It Be , Across The Universe and Two Of Us . TOU is lovely, LIB is an true anthem and ACT has some of the band's prettiest lyrics. The Long And Winding Road is contraversial but I think it's melody makes up for the choir, and that bit where the orchestra plays the main vocal melody at the end is brilliant.

I'm not a huge fan of For You Blue but the guitar intro is great.

If I had been Spector, I would have included the nine songs I have mentioned in a cohesive order, and it would have made a decent finale for the band. 

Anyways, considering how many good-great songs there are, do you think  Let It Be is underrated? Let me known what you think.

Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

8 May 2017
1.39pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Yep. Underrated as an album, not as a song. 

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8 May 2017
1.39pm
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Beatlebug
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I like this album a lot more than most fans seem to.

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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8 May 2017
3.12pm
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Evangeline
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QuarryMan said
Well for starters, it's no Revolver . Compared to their great projects of 1965-8, it can't compete. But that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Very few albums in history can compete with Revolver , Pepper or the White Album , so it's unfair to a project that was always doomed to failure to compare it with the greats.

If a band makes something and (if it was a failure) It's not fair to judge it against their other work? Why is that unfair?

Yes, it's not right to not take the album on its own (lacking merits), but if they obviously can do better (as you mention in the above albums) why can't we compare their poor work to their great ones and see why they failed in that respect?

And for the first point, I could think of quite a few albums that are much better than Pepper and Revolver .

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8 May 2017
3.13pm
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William Shears Campbell
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It has a nice song lineup, I just don't agree with some of the mixes (@ Dig It )

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8 May 2017
3.27pm
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sir walter raleigh
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My only problem with Dig It is that they didn't use any extended takes. I could have stood for another four minutes of yelling.

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"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

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8 May 2017
3.51pm
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William Shears Campbell
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@sir walter raleigh said
My only problem with Dig It is that they didn't use any extended takes.

Yeah, that's what I was referring to.

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8 May 2017
4.01pm
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Martha
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I find Let It Be extremely underrated. Apart from The Long And Winding Road which I can't stand there are only great songs on that album in my opinion. 

What I especially like about Let It Be is that it sounds very human; much more human than Abbey Road for example. Abbey Road is certainly a masterpiece and I prefer it to LIB but still, it feels as if AR was a great show with marvellous stage performance and LIB is the midnight jam that happens in the studio backstage after the show is over. 

Obviously, this comparison is not quite working for all of the album' tracks because of the overdubbed songs. Anyway, the many snippets of talking and the back-to-the-roots feeling of some songs outweigh the arguable overproduction for me so that it feels like a simple yet pleasing album.

And I'm also very fond of Maggie Mae and Dig It because I love the humour they have about them. All in all, LIB has many humorous aspects like the 'Hope we passed the audition' bit and in my opinion, it is more suitable for the Beatles to end their career with something a little cheeky than with an epic masterpiece - the latter would have been too ordinary, too perfect.a-hard-days-night-george-10

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Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

8 May 2017
5.35pm
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Von Bontee
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I wanna say a word in defense of Dig It . One of the hallmarks of post-Pepper rock albums, not just the Beatles' but everybody's, is the technique of song segues...all of the ""real" Beatle albums post-Revolver had at least one. It's one of those little touches that help cement an ÀLBUM out of what might otherwise seem only a collection of songs. And without Dig It -into-LIB , this album would lack any such touches.

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8 May 2017
6.22pm
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Beatlebug
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@Martha said
All in all, LIB has many humorous aspects like the 'Hope we passed the audition' bit and in my opinion, it is more suitable for the Beatles to end their career with something a little cheeky than with an epic masterpiece - the latter would have been too ordinary, too perfect.a-hard-days-night-george-10  

Damn! Wish I could thank this more than once! Since I already hit the thank button once, I shall just say it again: thank you for those words, Martha, my dear. apple01

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It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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8 May 2017
9.07pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Silly Girl said

Damn! Wish I could thank this more than once! Since I already hit the thank button once, I shall just say it again: thank you for those words, Martha, my dear. apple01  

Plus they've technically got Abbey Road as their grand send off. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

8 May 2017
9.44pm
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Von Bontee
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I have several problems with LIB , and one of the main ones is that it just feels slight. If you exclude the two little goof numbers, you have only 10 songs, the fewest on any Beatles album. This is kinda disorienting in itself, but it wouldn't matter so much or be as noticeable if any of the tracks were EPIC. All of the "real" Beatles albums from "Revolver " through "Abbey Road " built to a big epic studio-tour-de-force finish, while LIB has no opportunity to do likewise (partly because of the avoidance of overdubbing and studio trickery.) It's an unfortunate missed opportunity, in that LIB could've provided it's own epic finish under its own terms if it reserved Side Two for live-on-the-rooftop stuff alone, presenting in roughly chronological order the three rooftop tracks already on the album plus the live "Get Back " and "Don't Let Me Down " Leave in the best of the adlibs, cut out the redundant repeats, and you have a roughly 20-minute slice of unadulterated live Beatles performance, with no annoying screaming teens to detract. Epic! Something that no other Beatles album offers.

Another thing - and this kinda goes back to my earlier post about the lack of segues - I don't get the impression that any of the LIB tracks "talk" to each other. SPLHCB had the title track and the reprise tying the album together. "Savoy Truffle " reminded us that earlier on the album we heard a song called "Ob La Di, Ob La Da", plus there were a pair of "Honey Pie "s linking the two albums. The AR medley had vocal and musical bits repeated. I wish LIB had something like that...how wonderful if the album included both the acoustic AND the electric versions of "Two Of Us ", preferably the take with John & Paul goofing with Scottish accents! 

Really (and sorry if this isn't the thread for it, there are like a dozen threads regarding LIB and LIB ...Naked and I know I've written something like this before on one of them), I wish the whole "Let It Be " project could've been made into a really messy double album, one that was intended to be more of a document(ary) than a polished, commercial album. One that would have room for stuff like the full "Dig It " (including little Heather Eastman's vocal!), "Maggie Mae /Fancy My Chances", Paul & Ringo's little piano-boogie duet, the feedback/Yoko noise jam, stuff like that. Stuff as different as could be imagined from "Let It Be " and "The Long & Winding Road" (which would nonetheless have a place on the album as well.) Call it simply "January 1969" or something, "...a new phase Beatles album" as indeed it proclaims in the actual album notes. (Unfortunately, to preserve the integrity, that means there'd be no room for "I Me Mine " or "Across The Universe " - a real shame, as they're two of my favourites on the album as it is...)

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13 May 2017
11.12am
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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I don't believe that something can be "underrated" or "overrated". Everything is subjective, and I don't think one person's opinion on Let It Be is any more correct or important than mine as long as they have at least given the album a chance and have listened to it. Why do you all feel as though your opinions are more correct than others'? You might not know you think this, but by calling Let It Be "underrated" you are showing that your underlying belief is that the general opinion that LiB is not a great album is wrong, and so are the people who have that opinion. 

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13 May 2017
7.42pm
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Dark Overlord
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I don't consider Let It Be underrated. First of all, the album sounds like it was recorded in Aunt Mimi's basement. Second of all, there are better Beatles albums out there such as Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, and Abbey Road . Also, Paul's bass work on the album is subpar, especially compared to previous albums and he only plays bass on half of the songs. This is the album The Beatles went out with, there was a lot of pressure, inside problems, and The Beatles didn't get along with each other as well as they used to, so it shows in the final release.

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