Timeless songs are not a cliché. Somewhere tonight someone with an acoustic guitar is playing “Barbara Allen”, a centuries old folk song. Or, citing someone from the comparatively more recent hazy past, another guitar player strums the chords to Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More”. The Beatles’ piano and vocal driven classic “Let It Be” is one of those songs and the artistic collaborative &Friends recorded a remix of the cut for their first single. It isn’t breaking new ground, per se, to stress the gospel inclinations inherent to Paul McCartney’s paean to peace and acceptance but recasting the track with house music trappings definitely moves things outside the box in a notable way.
The percussion in that part of the song is one of its defining qualities. &Friends achieves a convincing drum sound despite its pre-programmed nature and it gives the house sound present in the track a bounce lesser projects would have failed to achieve. &Friends begins the track with potent guitar playing that continues through the early verses while keyboards provide a glittering sheen throughout the recording. The singing loses some of its punch during the house dominated passages of the track as additional instrumental dissipates their central position in the mix. Some listeners will appreciate this, others will not.
&Friends has the avowed intent of using music to bring peoples from different nations, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and so forth together on common ground. There are many out there who will scoff at their noble intentions, not without reason, but even the most cynical voices will be forced to agree, if they are reasonable, the presence of such collectives in the music world is an unreservedly good thing. Backing it up with first class musical talent is a welcome bonus.
Watch the video for “Let It Be” below
Several people from different nations open the video with the words “let it be” in their native tongue. It’s a nice idea for beginning the clip and &Friends keeps the compelling visuals coming through the remainder of the video. It is a high quality visual experience from first second to last and an obvious labor of love for those involved with this project. Those involving themselves with the footage exhibit natural charm and give the song an even brighter glow than before.
The singing during the gospel-fueled segments of the song will strike a chord in all but the hardest of hearts. It has a confident, upper register spiritual sound that blends in well with the various instruments &Friends employs through the number. As covers go, the project’s version of “Let It Be” is difficult to surpass.
They have paid tribute to the song’s emotional depths while re-envisioning it in a thoroughly modern way. The greatest songs are elastic, malleable, and &Friends have proven that. It may be unlikely that Sir Paul McCartney hears this song, but it is likely he would smile if he did and applaud the collaborative’s efforts to pour old wine into new bottles. It is a success by any measure.