Let It Be by Laibach
"No, you won't fool the children of the Revolution."
- T. Rex
First things first - I hate the Beatles . Oh, I've got nothing against Ringo; after all, he was in The Magic Christian, Candy, and Caveman (which, despite what I'm sure are the efforts of Mr. Starkey to have it buried, still pops up from time-to-time on late night TV.). George seemed like a really nice guy, and a good musician, to boot. John? Well, I always felt a kind of kinship with John. You see, for ten years of my life I too was stuck in a band with a likable guy who could sing better than me - just like John. It made me bitter and I poured that bitterness into my lyrics - just like John. After my band broke up, I formed a band with my wife - just like John (only, my wife has talent). Hell, I've even hung out with Ralph Nader, jerked my gherkin to the old Mike Douglas Show, and have been shot a shit-load of times.
You see, I loathe Sir Paul "Do da ditty ditty la la do" McCartney so much that, by extension, I hate anything that he's been involved with (with the possible exception of the film Eat The Rich ). "But, Rodney," you might say, "You can't hate an entire band just because you hate one of its members." Wanna bet? Look, everybody loves the Marx Brothers, but if Carrot Top had been the fourth brother, you'd vomit thick, black goo every time you watched Animal Crackers . Admit it. Well, that's how utterly repulsive I find Paul. I, for one, have had enough of silly love songs. Paul is nothing but a hack. Paul's status as a former Beatle has lent credibility to that shitty, middle-of-the-road pop that he deals in. Paul has helped to legitimize Britney Spears. Christ, He's the reason that Christina Aguilera is gyrating across your TV screen and not down at your local "gentlemen's club." If Stephen King hadn't killed John Lennon , thereby elevating the status of the Beatles to a mythological level, * Paul would be performing at the Trailblazer Theater in Hershey Park (You know. That little stage next to the roller coaster that loops) this weekend. Christ, have you ever seen the people who turn up at a Paul McCartney concert? Fat soccer moms who burst into tears when Paul launches into Yesterday. For fuck's sake, if someone in the audience of a Milkmen show had started crying over Stuart, I would've stopped the show, leapt from the stage, killed them, and had sex with their headless corpse - all without missing a beat. Man, am I glad that I got that off my chest. Now, on with the review.
|After this, nobody made fun of Linda's
tofu-meatloaf ever again.
Covering a Beatles tune is risky business. For every Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and the Banshees, there's a Yellow Submarine by Milton Berle. Into this musical minefield stepped Laibach .
The year is 1988. The former Yugoslavian Republic is tearing itself apart. The music group/Art collective Laibach need to document this moment in history. What better way than to cover The Beatles' Let It Be album. Cover is really the wrong word. Remake comes close but doesn't quite cut it. Re-imagining …yeah, that's it. Liabach re-imagined (There's no Heaven…) the Beatles as muscular Wagnarian heroes. Ringo's light drumming is replaced by exploding kettledrums. Teutonic growls are substituted for John and Paul (Schilinger's bitch)'s harmonies. George's I Me Mine gets the Ring Cycle treatment and reemerges as nightmare fodder. I've Got A Feeling comes across like a Nuremberg rally (Laibach used to fill stadiums, back in their homeland).
Don't get me wrong, Laibach are not Nazis. They just understood that odd strain of Fascism that runs through rock. Remember that picture of Bowie sieg heiling a crowd? Or the time that a young Mick Jagger goose-stepped across a German stage? Remember the Indigo Girls ever doing anything interesting - no. That's the genius of this record. The best analogy I can come up with is that Laibach transformed the Partridge Family into the Manson Family.
Then, just when you think that you've got it all figured out, in the middle of the CD, comes Across The Universe . Laibach let their friends SPK tackle this one and the result is pure, straight up, tie Paul to a tree and let the fire-ants do their job, magic. Female vocals, harpsichord, and harmonium combine to make
this a beautiful listening treat only rivaled by the joy of hearing Paul's screams as a Blue Meanie forces him into a wood-chipper. The song ends then, suddenly, we're back on the sonic battlefield with Dig It .
|The Beatles, in Hamburg Germany, with former
manager, John Von Smith.
I shit thee not, when I say that I've owned this CD for over ten years and, at least, once a month I sit down and listen to the whole thing, all the way through, while trying to figure out why I'm so fascinated with it. My best guess is that it's the closest mankind has ever come to capturing performance art on plastic.
Note of interest. Laibach re-imagined every song on Let It Be except for the title track. That's right, there's no Let It Be on Let it Be . That's were you, gentle reader, come in. Many of you are musicians. And many more of you (some would say myself included) are not. It doesn't matter. I want ALL of you to record your versions of Let It Be . When you're done, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work out a way to make them all available on this site. [Which I've started doing HERE - Rodney] I'm starting on my Let It Be as soon as I finish this review. Which is now.
The Official Laibach Home Page
* People who make Stalin look like an amateur are constantly rewriting the history of music. Music writers used to consider the Ramones to be hapless idiots. In the last few years they've been forced to reconsider this position. Now Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky are considered the fathers of all modern music - including Bluegrass. Before Lennon got capped, the Beatles were on their way to Where-Are-They-Now-Land. It was only after John found out that happiness might not be a warm gun, that the lovable lads from Liverpool (and Paul) were recast as founders of Western Civilization. By the way, have you ever seen that annoying VH1 show (OK, that's redundant.) The List? Ever notice how every list is topped by The Beatles? Best Death Metal Band? The Beatles. Best Ska Album of all time? Meet the Beatles. Best Spoken Word Performance? "Number nine…number nine…number nine…"