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Limited edition 180-gram, audiophile vinyl LP pressing of this album from the Fab Four comes housed in replicated artwork. One of the few Beatles' albums panned by critics at the time of its release, quot;Let It Bequot; sets a high bar that many other bands' best albums can't reach. Recorded in early 1969 and released in 1970, quot;Let It Bequot; was created during a time of high tensions for the band, and it got production help from Phil Spector. In spite of critical reviews, fans took the album to #1. The title track, quot;Get Back,quot; quot;The Long and Winding Roadquot; and quot;For You Bluequot; all summited to the #1 position of the singles' chart. It also features the understated crowd pleaser quot;Across the Universe.quot; This vinyl pressing contains the 2009 digital remaster of the album, making it sound more vibrant and electrifying than ever before. The only Beatles album to occasion negative, even hostile reviews, there are few other rock records as controversial as Let It Be. First off, several facts need to be explained: although released in May 1970, this was not their final album, but largely recorded in early 1969, way before Abbey Road. Phil Spector was enlisted in early 1970 to do some post-production mixing and overdubs, but he did not work with the band as a unit. And, although his use of strings has generated much criticism, by and large he left the original performances to stand as is: only "The Long and Winding Road" and (to a lesser degree) "Across the Universe" and "I Me Mine" get the Wall of Sound treatment. The main problem was that the material wasn't uniformly strong, and that the Beatles themselves were in fairly lousy moods due to intergroup tension. All that said, the album is on the whole underrated, even discounting the fact that a substandard Beatles record is better than almost any other group's best work. McCartney in particular offers several gems: the gospel-ish "Let It Be," which has some of his best lyrics; "Get Back," one of his hardest rockers; and the melodic "The Long and Winding Road," ruined by Spector's heavy-handed overdubs. The folky "Two of Us," with John and Paul harmonizing together, was also a highlight. Most of the rest of the material, by contrast, was going through the motions to some degree, although there are some good moments of straight hard rock in "I've Got a Feeling" and "Dig a Pony." As flawed and bumpy as it is, it's an album well worth having, as when the Beatles were in top form here, they were as good as ever. [Let It Be was remastered and released on vinyl in 2012.] ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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