Move over Gal Gadot, a better take of John Lennon's Imagine has been released.
Nearly two weeks after the Wonder Woman star and a gaggle of Hollywood cohorts shocked the world with a turgid version of the 1971 classic, the Dubai-based streaming platform Anghami gave it another crack by recruiting a range of regional independent artists, featuring many from Lebanon.
Dropping online on Saturday and initiated as a plea for people to stay home as a protection against Covid-19, some of the recognisable regional names recording their parts from homes include singer Marc Hatem, pianist Aleph and guitarist Elie Akl. Even actor Wissam Saliba stepped in to showcase a surprisingly decent croon. This version has the potential to go regionally viral, this time for all the right reasons.
Why is this version better?
Because it is much more thought out.
The problem with the star-studded take is that it relied too much on its good graces. Even in times of strife, people still have an appreciation for melody, and the tuneless offering from the actors was simply too much to sit through.
Also, the Anghami version is actually musical in that it features instrumentation. This was rendered professionally with the involvement of Lebanese production companies, The Brain Studio and 8e Art Entertainment.
Ultimately, this take may give you a new found appreciation for a song that, frankly, lost much of its inspirational lustre over the decades.
The original Imagine was written as secular prayer
Inspired by the poetry of his wife Yoko Ono, particularly those found in her 1965 book Grapefruit, Lennon composed the song in the hope it could be a secular hymn.
Writing on piano across the span of one morning in early 1971 in Lennon's English estate of Tittenhurst Park, the track was recorded in three takes later in July with co-producer Phil Spector adding his signature strings.
Released in October, Imagine became Lennon's best-selling single and propelled its namesake album to the top of the charts. The song went on to become an international anthem and used as both a celebratory rallying cry and healing balm throughout modern history, ranging from New Years celebrations to the 9/11 and November 2015 Paris terrorism attacks.
However, despite its acclaim, the song has not escaped criticism for its contradictory lyrics (the most glaring of which is the multi-millionaire Lennon singing about having no possessions) and it’s over all naive message that we can simply wish our problems away.
That said, Imagine, remains a standard of pop music and no doubt it will be wheeled out again when the time calls to stand together and be strong.