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Badfinger produced the sessions for the Straight Up sequel themselves, abandoning its lush production for a live, hard-rocking sound. Apple wasn't keen on the record, insisting that it be remixed, then, once it was remixed, refusing to release it, so the band jumped ship to Warner Bros. in the fall of 1973. Just after Badfinger released their debut single for the label and were prepping a new album, Apple sprung Ass on the world. As it happened, it would be the last record Apple would release, so it was barely given any support by the label and made little impression on the sales charts. Still, it certainly hurt the band, since its heavier rock alienated some pop fans and its chart belly-flop tainted plans for a triumphant return on Warner. Truth is, Ass probably should have remained on Apple's shelves. Their eponymous Warner debut, which appeared just months after Ass, feels more like the sequel to Straight Up than this. Where that album is an unabashed pop record, Ass is the sound of a pop band rocking out rather clumsily. That's not to say it's without its moments, since Pete Ham's "Timeless" and "Apple of My Eye" (a hurt but lovely kiss-off to their label) are pretty good. But, by and large, Ass is a misguided effort, heavy on stumbling rockers and mediocre songs. It may be tempting to lay some of the blame at Joey Molland's feet, since he wrote half of the album, but that's too easy. Badfinger was in a transitional phase and chances are, Ass would have stiffed if Ham had written half of the record. It wasn't fated to be a great album, and it wound up being the weakest thing the original band cut.

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