The Beatles

Now & Then

Apple • 2023

The facts has been widely publicised in recent weeks: this is the Beatles’ last song, or to be more precise, the last song on which all of them featured with their own contributions made during their lifetime. And with a sound quality made possible by AI, all because John Lennon left behind a song skit in the late 1970s that contained too much background noise to be any use. That said though, when fragments of Lennon were made into the singles »Free As A Bird« and »Real Love« in 1995, George Harrison is said to have shown little interest in the material. Now Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have gone back into the studio to make something out of it. Produced by Giles Martin who also provided the strings, the result sounds good. The tiny melody that circles around three notes, also has its qualities. You can look past the fact that Lennon’s lyrics are not his most expressive. Or that the parts built around the few lines sometime seem a little padded. After all, a Beatles song reconstructed after the fact is different from one written when the band were still together. And even some of those weren’t all that great. The open harmony sequence of the verse alone was worth the effort, so we can be glad that we have been served up a little bit more of the Beatles here. Even if it only lasts four minutes, it’s another posthumous triumph for Lennon over his murderer. The B-side features a high-resolution new mix of »Love Me Do«.