Ah, George Harrison. Beatle, Wilbury, solo artist… this late and lamented guitar legend was incredibly versatile, and while most people recognize his work with the Beatles, his solo work is unbelievable. His posthumous 2002 release Brainwashed is no exception, showing just how versatile he was until the very end. While left not-quite-finished, his extensive notes allowed his son Dhani and fellow Wilbury Jeff Lynne to look at what was left to do, and they were successfully able to finish the album, leaving a legacy which should be noticed.
From opening track Any Road to the moving Pisces Fish to title track and closer Brainwashed, this is a very solid album, and a fitting tribute to (in your humble narrators opinion) one of the guitar greats.
Any Road, with the lyrics “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” seems at first to be suggesting that you should figure it all out, but upon repeat listenings, it’s much deeper than that. Any Road suggests that it’s not necessarily a bad thing, to take life as it comes, and to enjoy the ride. To quote an unrelated band, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” It’s got a great tempo, and it’s catchy. One thing I can tell you for sure, Any Road has earned a permanent spot in my road trip mixes.
The mildly surreal Pisces Fish… hmm. I’m not sure exactly how to summarize. With references to finding the next Pope in a brewery, and finding tranquility on a river, the lyrics “I’m a living proof of all of life’s contradictions, one half’s going where the other half’s just been” point out the absurdities of everyday things, and it’s ok to accept that.
Title track Brainwashed closes the album on a tranquil note, beginning with the various ways people are being brainwashed and that truth is within the self, and ending on a very tranquil, relaxing Hindu chant/mantra.
This is a fantastic album left behind by a fantastic guitarist. I’ve been unable to stop listening to it, and as I’ve mentioned, there are tracks that have earned a permanent spot in my road trip music list.