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If you appreciate the Beatles and John Lennon, you will simply adore this lavish, lovely app-based work of art devoted to the last truly creative period of Lennon’s life: the crafting of his final album, Double Fantasy. With truly innovative use of the iPad and iPhone as an entertainment consumption device, it’s one of the finest multimedia attempts we’ve experienced on the platform.
When you launch the app, you’re presented with the option of taking interactive visual tours through the demo tapes Lennon record for the album with some stunning tricks in tow, including creative use of your iPad’s or iPhone’s accelerometer to animate gorgeous multi-layered rendered graphics. You’ll see the Bermuda scene that Lennon immersed himself within while writing the songs that ended up on the record; spin around with your iOS device, and the visual vista spins along with you.
In another scene, you’ll swipe the screen to move through a nightclub, with John Lennon’s voice recounting how he happened to stumble upon The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” being played on the sound system — and instantly recognized Yoko Ono’s influence on the track. Then you can hear members of The B-52s talk about their side of that story. It’s so intimate and wonderful, and even if you don’t adore Ono and her infamous impact on the Beatles, it’s difficult not to feel the love. While it’s easy to create gratuitous multimedia products, there's nothing in this app that feels tacky or tacked-on. It’s a fluid use of digital media to tell a personal story, and an artistic triumph unlike anything we’ve seen on iOS.
If you want to get right to the music, there’s another section of the app with stacks of virtual tapes that you drop into an old-style cassette player, with a perfectly-tuned reproduction of the clunky fast-forward, rewind, and play buttons you’d find on an old machine. Perhaps the only bad thing we can say about the experience is that some of the song demos are interrupted by the voices of Lennon’s friends and associates, telling related stories about their impressions of his thoughts and motivations. We really just wanted the option to hear the music itself.
The bottom line. For those who count the music of John Lennon as part of the fabric of their lives, this is the best $5 you'll spend anytime soon.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Gorgeous visual production values. Exclusive audio content. Delightful interface flourishes.
Some songs interrupted by narrative voiceovers.