http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/3b276b4bd5e30d4f91827e21a3990d12c97cade8.jpg Let It Be... Naked

The Beatles

Let It Be... Naked

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
November 20, 2003

It's difficult to review Let It Be . . . Naked without drowning in the welter of vexed issues that shattered the Beatles. For a start, Naked is being hyped (in a musical nod to the "director's cut") as the "band's take" — that is, the stripped-down version of the album the Beatles intended to make as they embarked on what was then thought of as Get Back in 1969.

This notion, of course, is ridiculous. The unfortunate truth is that John Lennon and George Harrison are dead, and, whatever its merits, Naked exists essentially as an excuse for Paul McCartney, after decades of complaining, to finally remove Phil Spector's production effects from "The Long and Winding Road." As a result, the song — a technologically souped-up version of the take in the Let It Be film — now sounds like a vaguely interesting demo, rather than the lavish (and frankly emotional) epitaph for the Beatles that Spector turned it into.

Does an artist of McCartney's stature deserve to have his songs sound exactly as he wants them to? Absolutely. But here, on the other hand, is Lennon's assessment of Spector's work on Let It Be: "He was given the shittiest load of badly recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something out of it. He did a great job." Both Lennon and Harrison went on to work closely with Spector, who produced Plastic Ono Band, Imagine and All Things Must Pass — arguably the three best albums of the Beatles' solo years.

So, put simply, Naked is McCartney getting his own back. That said, it's nice to have the sparer rendition of "Across the Universe" that Lennon recorded, and the sonic improvements to the album as a whole are undeniable. Casual fans, however, will wonder what all the fuss was about; novices should still get the original. And Beatles fanatics will likely be disappointed that Naked has little to do with the early bootlegged versions of Get Back — which, for better or worse, really are naked — and is just as much an interpretation of what the album was supposed to be as Spector's effort was. Let it be? Not a chance.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »