Laibach

Let It Be

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Probably the band's most famous release in the English-speaking world, Laibach's Let It Be -- unlike the Replacements' album -- didn't just name itself after the Beatles' swan song, it full-on covered every last bit of it, with the notable exception of the title track ("Maggie Mae" has a Slovenian folk tune substituted for it). Having spent some time beforehand drawing any number of parallels of right-wing extremism with their home country's government and the West alike, especially when it came to the resemblance of big rock concerts to totalitarian rallies, all Laibach had to do was tackle what they felt was the Beatles' worst album. In some respects, Let It Be wasn't that hard of an effort -- songs like "Get Back," "I Me Mine," and "One After 909" simply had to have the Laibach elements applied (growled vocals, martial drums, chanting choirs, overpowering orchestrations, insanely over-the-top guitar solos) to be turned into bizarre doppelgängers. The sheer creepiness of hearing such well-known songs transformed, though, is more than enough reason to listen in -- "Dig It" in particular becomes a full-on Third Reich chant, only to be trumped by the meta-metal fake-live recording blast of "I've Got a Feeling." In a more subtle way, "Across the Universe" easily trumps the original, only a female choir, harpsichord, and organ turning it into a disturbed anthem of acquiescence. Meanwhile, other efforts like "Two of Us" have a smooth, strong passion to their arrangements -- the sheer appeal of the commanding delivery in its own way helps explain the appeal of stage-managed demonstrations and performance. It's a joke endlessly folded in on itself, a killing joke and then some. Happily, it's just as funny as it is disturbing, and points for the hilariously unsettling cover art as well.

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