John Lennon
Mind Games
(Capitol 42425)

Too bad for John Lennon that he ran out of songs in like 1969. By the time of Mind Games he was rehashing the same thing he'd always done, just not as good. It's by no means a bad album, but it's another one to force down the throat of anyone who still insists that Lennon was such an amazing legend or whatever.

The album seems to be programmed in precise order of best to worst. It gets increasingly bad as it goes along. Side A has some reasonable rollick to it, with "Mind Games" and "Tight A$" rekindling some Imagine magic, although by now all the "make love not war" stuff is getting pretty old. "Aisumasen" is a limp rewrite of "Bring it On Home to Me," though at least the lyrics are honest. "Bring on the Lucie" is John trying to write a George Harrison song. "Intuition" is some kind of weird calypso trash that sounds like Lennon vaguely wants to write one of those Paul McCartney "music hall" type songs ("You Gave Me the Answer," "Honey Pie," etc). It contains the line: "As I play the game of life / I try to make it better / Each and every day." Even Brian Wilson would think twice about singing that.

"Out the Blue" was better when it was called "Sexy Sadie," and "Only People" sounds like it was written by Johnny Whittaker. This is your amazing legend? Yuck.

It degenerates from there. "I Know" is a paper-thin recast of "I've Got a Feeling," "You Are Here" is, unfortunately for the listener, not "here" in any appreciable way, unless "here" is Margaritaville. The album culminates in the final track, what I nominate as Lennon's worst, "Meat City." Ouch.

The remastered CD adds bonus track demos of "Aisumasen," "Bring on the Lucie," and "Meat City" – yes, exactly the songs I wanted to hear demos of. Overall, it's still a good enough album since Lennon's sound is so engaging, but it doesn't exactly make you think we lost anything when he got gunned down by FBI agents outside that movie theater. Oh, wait, that was John Dillinger.

Review by Arthur Friendlier