Monday, 15 October 2018

John Lennon - Imagine 2018 remix


Released October 2018

I was interested to hear the new remix of this album. Personally, I have always preferred the 2002 remasters to the 2010 ones, finding the latter far too trebly for my taste. I find the 2002s more punchy and bassy, which is what I like. I realise that I am in a minority here but anyway, I was curious as to whether there is any discernible change to this new remix. Obviously it is strange hearing familiar music remixed with slight sonic alterations, but I enjoyed it on the "Sgt. Pepper" remix and on Tony Visconti's work on some of David Bowie's albums.

The title track is beautifully warm. When the bass kicks in it is subtle yet solid - full and bassy and no tinniness. “Crippled Inside” has a nice, resonant thump to it and that country guitar is razor sharp and crystal clear. So far this sounds far closer to my preferred 2002 Yoko Ono remaster than the admittedly more popular 2010 one. Because this remix seems to be strong and bassy it will probably annoy “audiophiles”, but for me, as someone who likes powerful bass, it is perfect.

“Jealous Guy” has a wonderfully melodic bass line. Again it is subtle and velvety smooth here. This is a track that often suffered from a harsh, tinny sound. Not anymore. The lush string orchestration now sounds soothing and cultured. Lovely. This is the best I have ever heard the song. The fact is it is not, in effect, the original, may bother some people. Not me. I prefer it this way. It is just better. The bluesy “It’s So Hard” is pulsating and those sweeping strings are once again balanced perfectly, as is the saxophone. “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier” just throbs with muscular bassy beauty. Love it. That saxophone too. Mmmm.

“Gimme Some Truth” has sometimes been a bit grating when Lennon raises his voice and the music rises with him and this is far more easy on the ear here. The guitar intro to “Oh My Love” followed by the piano is sublime, as indeed it is when the understated bass arrives. The bitter “How Do You Sleep?” again has sumptuous bass, strings and that searing guitar solo sounds excellent. The big bass thump in “How?” and that vibrant orchestration has no distortion, for me. Just warmth. The jaunty “Oh Yoko” is breathtaking in its clarity, even the harmonica bit. Just listen to that speaker-shaking punch on “Power To The People”. Great stuff.

Personally, this is the best I have ever heard this iconic album. I know there are probably thousands out there who will say "I prefer the original" (which, of course is still available in various remasterings), “it’s too bassy”, “it’s a sonic mess” or their usual favourite - “it hurts my ears”. Let them all talk. My opinion is just that, a single opinion, and mine is that I love it.


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