The Beatles - Let It Be... Naked
Oct 7, 2020
The Beatles revisited part 15/16

This album shows that not every single song The Beatles made in their later career had to be druggy psychedelic rock tracks or have overblown orchestral production.

Let's be honest here; Let It Be... Naked is the definitive version of Let It Be. It's the far superior version. You can't even try to argue against it, because it's literally what it is. You listen to this once and you can't listen to the original 1970 album again because this has the more fitting production and the track placement actually makes sense, and most of the songs in general sound much better here than they ever did on the original version.

The more stripped back production makes a lot more sense than Phil Spector's production ever did, which that itself should already make much more sense. As messy as the recording sessions behind this album was, it was clear that they intended for it to be more stripped back compared to what they were doing anyway, with them intending the album to be their first before returning to touring and going for a more simplistic rock 'n roll sound. So when you hear, for example, the 1970 version of The Long And Winding Road, it can feel a little overblown. You hear the piano, McCartney's vocals and the lyrics and you'd think it would be a much more chilled song, like the first half of Hey Jude or something. But then you get all the orchestral parts coming in, and it loses all the charm it could have had. And that's honestly part of the reason why I don't consider The Long And Winding Road on the 1970 album to be all that special. It's a classic track, definitely, and an essential Beatles song, but personally it just doesn't do much for me anymore. Meanwhile, the version here is a lot more interesting. It's much more simple, and much more focused. It's just an all-round better version. And this could be said for a lot of songs here. Across The Universe, for example, while the original is amongst my favourite Beatles songs ever, the vocal effects do admittedly take away from it quite a bit. So hearing the version here where it's just Lennon's natural singing voice with no overdubs or awkward vocal effects, it makes the song a lot more beautiful in my eyes. I also think that Two Of Us, Dig A Pony and I Me Mine are a lot more noteworthy on this version. I will say that a couple of tracks were a little more effective with the original production, with the title track feeling like it's lacking a bit, which may admittedly be down to the original being such a classic that hearing any different versions will automatically be a bit more surprising, and Get Back, for example, just feeling a lot more rewarding in the original album.

Another thing that makes this an infinitely better album is the track listing. For one, the inclusion of Don't Let Me Down – an amazing Lennon song that really should have made the original album – automatically makes this the better album. Seriously, every single other track on the album could have absolutely ruined classic songs, but the inclusion of this song in particular still would have made this record a lot more essential than the 1970 release. But there's also the fact that these songs flow together so much better. One of the main issues that I think everyone has with Let It Be is that it can feel a little awkward at times, with songs not really meshing together well at all, and it ends up feeling more like a compilation than an actual album. But here, you don't have that problem at all. It all feels like the intended placement of these songs, and it makes it a hell of a lot more interesting.

Let It Be... Naked is easily the best version of this album. Is it perfect? No. Do all of the tracks sound better? No. But do the majority of them sound better? Yes. Honestly, this is just the much more consistent version, with absolutely no duds and it sounding a lot cleaner and fresh and like it works. This just proves that the album that is often neglected and forgotten completely from The Beatles' later discography could have been a classic that could stand up there with Rubber Soul and Magical Mystery Tour. You know, albums that aren't really seen as top-tier Beatles, but are still beloved by pretty much everyone. Let It Be could have been up there with those album had it been like this to begin with. Either way, I'm glad that we got both versions. While I don't really return to the original version much anymore after listening to this one, it's still nice to have both the stripped back version and one that sounds like a more conventional Beatles record. Both have their ups and downs, but the Naked version is definitely a hell of a lot more consistent.

Favourite Tracks: Don't Let Me Down; Across The Universe; I Me Mine; I've Got A Feeling; Let It Be; The Long And Winding Road

Least Favourite Track: ?

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