I've been listening intensely to Brainwashed, the new George Harrison album.
Admittedly my first reaction was one of relief — relief in discovering that the album is as good as it is. My subsequent reactions have been a mix of emotion and discovery. While George Harrison is iconic in stature, to me he feels more like an intimate — a big brother. I came of age and developed my youthful idealistic social consciousness listening to the songs of The Beatles and George Harrison played a significant part in that early development. So the music on this album imparts an unavoidable saddness. Beyond that, however, Brainwashed is deeply moving and perhaps his best effort since All Things Must Pass.
It seems clear to me that George Harrison, in writing and committing these songs to tape, was addressing his loosing battle with a premature death, but they are neither morbid nor do they elicit pity. On the contrary, the songs seem to be putting on record his deep spirituality, his love for those close to him and his continuing, often frustrating, quest for enlightenment. He is frank in his critical self-analysis and his willingness to impart some of the wisdom and insight he has gained in his life.
And the music is wonderful. Considering Jeff Lynne was involved in the production of Brainwashed, the sound is remarkably restrained. When listening it's hard to believe that George wasn't there for the entire production. Of course this adds to the poignancy of the album, but more importantly the authenticity. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Brainwashed by George Harrison and then listen to it numerous time, without interuption or distraction, and feel the river run through your soul.