One of John Lennon's finest post-Beatles
recordings, IMAGINE displays the varied voices that made the former mop-top one of pop's most profoundly engaging and perplexing figures -- an idealist one minute, a cynic the next. Although Lennon's gorgeous title track has become a deserving anthem for peace, the caustic "How Do You Sleep?" -- directed at Paul McCartney
-- would hardly seem like a beatnik's olive branch. These ten songs also see Lennon searching for life's most elemental building blocks: truth and love. On "Crippled Inside" and "Gimme Some Truth," Lennon seems ready to throw off the shackles of modern life -- "I've had enough of watching scenes of schizophrendic-ego-centric-paranoiac-prima-donnas," he asserts on the latter -- while "Oh My Love" and "Oh Yoko!" celebrate both Lennon's profound love for his wife and his belief in the power of love to transform life. Lennon presents himself as a man searching, baring himself and his own frailties (check "Jealous Guy" or "How?"), and one happily still in possession of his natural grace with melody. True to the songs, the arrangements are simple, with John at the piano or behind the guitar. With a light hand, producer Phil Spector
adorns the tunes with impressionistic string arrangements but leaves John's deeply sincere voice at the forefront of the mix. An imaginative, fiercely honest album, IMAGINE captures a man wrestling with his powers and preserves the fruits of his labors. For this 2000 reissue, the tracks have all been digitally remixed and remastered at Abbey Road Studios under the supervision of Yoko Ono
. The enhanced CD booklet, expanded from the original eight pages to 16, includes song lyrics and credits, as well as many rare photos, some taken from the simultaneously released documentary "Gimme Some Truth: The Making of Imagine."