My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Imagine was recorded in early and middle 1971 and released in September of the same year. Backing musicians on the album include Nicky Hopkins and George Harrison. The album was co-produced by Lennon, Ono and Phil Spector. The cover image was taken by Andy Warhol.
What I think:
I’m not as big of a fan of this album as I am of Lennon on the Plastic Ono Band. On that album he is so emotionally raw and trying to find his place in the world I feel the utmost sympathy for him. Here, there is more confidence and with that came one of the most magnificent pop songs ever written in “Imagine”. There are sparks if genius in other places as well with “Crippled Inside” “Gimmie Some Truth” and the super sweet “Oh Yoko!”.
What has sort of stood out on this album for me the last couple days as I have thought about it is how this album strengthens the conflicting feelings I’ve always had for Mr. Lennon. I think the hypocrisy between the message in “Imagine” and the resentment and vengeance towards Paul McCartney is “How Do You Sleep?” is the perfect example. In “Imagine”, Lennon wants us to all JOIN him in a life of peace and harmony, where we are all equals. He then later in the album devotes five and a half minutes to slamming his former writing partner, showing that he can’t even manage his personal relationships in a productive manner let alone be a signifier of a new way of living. I get it, he is human and not perfect, but it’s the fact that the final line of “Imagine” is “I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will live as one” really bothers me.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do think it should be here, despite it’s conflicting messages it is still a pretty good collection of songs, and like I wrote about contains what is arguably the best pop song ever written.
Rating (Out of 5): 3
Imagine Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (47/225)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 79%