Why the Beatles’ new song Now and Then is the most important record of 2023

The chatter about the quality of the production is interesting, as it’s purely the result of technological advances; as the record is a composite – a labyrinthine one at that – so everyone feels they have the right to notionally produce it themselves. No one questions the production of Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds, say, or Norwegian Wood, because that’s what they sound like. Similarly, as Now and Then has been built like a digital jigsaw, so we all feel we have the right to say, deep breath, it would have sounded better if they had a) double tracked John Lennon’s voice, b) made the acoustic guitar less intrusive, or c) been more mindful of the If I Fell key change. But it is what it is, and what it is, is very, very good indeed.