George Harrison – George Harrison (1979)

History: George decided to take some time away from music after Thirty Three and 1/3, spending his time falling in love with Olivia Arias, helping Eric Idle make The Rutles film, and also starting up his film production company to help the Pythons make Life of Brian. He also spent a good amount of time watching Formula 1 racing. When he did decide to work on a new album again starting in 1978, he took all those experiences with him as influences to write his songs. Besides the band members who had worked with him on Thirty Three and 1/3, he also added some new musicians including keyboard player Steve Winwood.

My own personal history and initial prediction: When I looked at the tracklist nothing stood out to me, but when the song started playing I immediately recognized “Not Guilty” thanks to the version that was included on the Beatles Anthology. To be fair I also completely forgot where I had heard it until I looked it up after. At this point I was looking forward to see just what George was going to do next, and let’s be honest I was also really happy I wasn’t listening to another Ringo album.

Review: I’m starting to think that the late 70s was just not the best time for music. Maybe that’s an unfair assessment, but these last few albums have just not been appealing to me the way some of the others in the past have. This is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but it was definitely lacking that extra bit of something to really excite me or pull me in.

One thing this is definitely not is a rock album. I had a hard time determining exactly what genre it should be defined as, the only thing that kept popping up in my head a lot was “easy listening.” The songs are soft and pleasant, generally fairly slow paced. As you might expect from a man who was recently married and had his first child, many of them are love songs. There are less direct spiritual references this time around, though those are certainly not completely absent. “Love Comes to Everyone” which starts the album, is the most obvious with its spiritual message, where as ones like “Dark Sweet Lady” are far more obviously about Olivia. I particularly liked that one, as there was just something about it that felt so directly sincere and heartfelt.

It’s also not a 100% love fest either, as he does devote some other songs to his recent past times. “Faster” is a tribute to racing, starting off with the sounds of engines and being about a driver who always wanted to push his limits. “Soft Hearted Hana” is a literal drug song, with George describing his experience on mushrooms while in Hawaii. It’s got this great old timey feel to it and is also what feels like a loose, informal recording that makes it interesting to listen to. “Here Comes the Moon” is an attempt at a kind of follow up to “Here Comes the Sun.” George seems particularly fond of making sequels to his songs. I wasn’t too impressed with this attempt honestly, though I would at least say that its mellow nature is well suited for a welcoming of the night.

The main thing is that by the time the album got to its second to last song, “Soft Touch” I found myself hard pressed to write down anything new. I was feeling largely the same about most of the songs on the album. If I was in the right mood for something this mellow and laid back, I could see myself returning to it occasionally. The problem is that I’m often far more interested in listening to something at a much faster pace than this. I see a lot of people making comparisons to All Things Must Pass, and I have to say I’m not really quite hearing that. Maybe it’s the lack of production, but this just doesn’t feel the same as that album to me at all.

Next Time: Wings goes Back to the Egg.

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