In 1971 George Harrison put together and played the first benefit concert with the “Concert for Bangladesh” shows. Following this Harrison took a year off writing and recording music.
At some point in 1972 he got back in the studio and started work on a new project, this time scaling back the scope of his project following the gigantic All Things Must Pass sessions which featured a lot of musicians, this time only working with a few people and making a single disc album instead of a triple album.
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) opens the album, stylistically this isn’t a departure from All Things Must Pass, carrying the same lush and beautiful sound with spiritual lyrical themes.
I wouldn’t say this song is on par necessarily with the stuff from the previous album but it’s still a very beautiful and nice song that shares a lot of qualities with stuff from that album. The piano melody is very nice and George’s songwriting has not gotten worse as he sings about wanting to find some hope and peace during these hard times. Great opening track to the album.
Sue Me, Sue You Blues is in part about the breakup of The Beatles, but more about how they were all suing each other. Unlike Paul and John’s songs to each other, this doesn’t serve to attack. The song rather points out how tiring and unnecessary the whole situation is and how none of them are gaining much from this and just having a bad time.
“Swing your partners, all get screwed/ Bring your lawyer and I’ll bring mine/ Get together, and we could have a bad time”
Honestly this is another huge banger on the album, I love how the piano and guitar trade parts during the last minute of the song. The drumming is also excellent on this song.
The Light That Has Lighted The World is good and all but I’m a bit split on the lyrics. Well the song is about how people say that he changed, how they hate to see someone happy and how they all hate change. It’s just that it comes off as a bit defensive in the first part *oh, you think I changed? Well you just hate people who are happy*, idk there’s a few good lines in there I guess. The song kinda blends in with everything else so far, it’s not a standout track, but rather filler.
The next 2 songs aren’t special either, they’re good ofc but they’re like ATMP B-sides y’know, they sound like they’d fit in there but I’m not sure that’s as good of a thing as it sounds. Because well…they’re forgettable honestly. I can’t argue against them being good songs but I can’t justify them as being anything worth remembering either tbh with you.
The title track, Living In A Material World is pretty great though, there’s a pretty nice sax solo (what’s with 70s solo Beatles albums and sax solos?). The writing is interesting, talking about how he wants to escape this ‘material world’, there’s references to the beatles, he name drops all of his former bandmates and talks about how even though they started out poor, eventually they got caught in the material world as well. It’s another in a long line of spiritual songs George wrote during this period as he hopes to see much clearer now and he prays to not get caught again in it.
I don’t really care for The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord), I feel like George has already done this song 15 times and there isn’t anything all that interesting about it. I do like Be Here Now, it’s a slow acoustic number with a great sense of atmosphere and it is overall just very great.
The album gives us another 3 slow ballads to end the album, none are particularly note-worthy imo but the closer is the best out of the 3. It’s not that they're bad it's that a lot of these feel a tad bit uninspired.
And I guess that’s my feeling towards the whole album, it’s a bit uninspired, there’s great moments and sure there’s no bad songs on it but there’s also not much worth remembering. It’s a huge step down from the masterpiece that is All Things Must Pass and while still a good album, it’s a very disappointing one to me as well.
Favorite Songs: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth), Sue me Sue you blues, Living In The Material World and Be Here Now