John Lennon / Yoko Ono

Double Fantasy Stripped Down

(CD - Capitol #9059902)

Review by

The one unreleased item among Apple/EMI's exhaustive 2010 John Lennon reissue campaign was Double Fantasy Stripped Down, a revision of the original 1980 album supervised by Yoko Ono and producer Jack Douglas. The intent of this new mix is to give the recording a greater sense of intimacy, but Double Fantasy isn’t Let It Be: it doesn’t have a heavily bootlegged original early incarnation, it only exists in its final form; it’s not an album that was designed as a raw back-to-basics record, it was constructed as a slick studio affair. Stripped Down attempts to take only one coat of varnish off of Double Fantasy, stripping away reverb and backing vocals, dampening some of the brighter colors and adding some studio chatter to give the illusion of eavesdropping on the studio, trimming the length of some tracks slightly, lengthening a couple other imperceptibly, boosting John’s voice to the front of the mix. Apart from “(Just Like) Starting Over,” where the removal of the doo wop backing vocals undercuts the loving oldies homage of the song, the changes are so subtle that they’re felt more than heard, cumulatively not affecting the impact of the album all that much. Ultimately, Stripped Down sounds like a rough mix waiting for all the polish that made Double Fantasy feel like a full, complete album.

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