Not a testament: a beautiful last gift from the Quiet One.
"Didn't want to be a star - wanted just to play guitar", sang George Harrison in 1989 before slipping into domestic joys - and misfortunes - of his last decade on Earth. So, in the words of his son Dhani who, together with Jeff Lynne, finished the work following George's instructions, this record is "a cradle for the voice and a guitar". Ex-Beatle jokingly wanted the album to be entitled "Portrait Of A Leg End", and him finding stardom unhip - legend's grotty, as George would call it running down a memory lane to his "A Hard Day's Night" persona. It's back then, in the very beginning, that Harrison was considered a thinker, and that's exactly what he had been like all of his life. And though the artist put no exuberant joyfulness into "Brainwashed", there's no life-weariness either - just quiet observations which sum up what kind of human being was George.
Just a human being - and he didn't shy away from odd poking at the way the world goes, "P2 Vatican Blues" sounding a direct, if pretty much ironic, blow at organized religion from the one raised a Catholic. But Harrison climbed up to another level of spirituality that have him freedom to enjoy the path taken, the downhome feeling filling a simple message of the opener "Any Road", and a privilege to talk to God intimately, like in "My Sweet Lord" and in the title song of this album. Assuming "Brainwashed", the track, is spilling an anger at Creator would be a grave mistake still: it's rather a cry in the wilderness that falls all around as we are misled every day and every way, a plea for the light to be rekindled, an intense chant dissolving into pacifying mantra - and there's no better example of the struggle which went on deep within George's soul.
"I'm a living proof of all life's contradictions", admits Dylanesque "Pisces Fish" which sees Harrison try to reconnect with the nature he loved so much so that even discovered himself "on a wrong planet" when going outside the garden, as George confesses on accompanying DVD. A place the artist considered his own was a garden and a cloud - not a Cloud Nine of his previous record but something too thick to make him cry out loudly, although "Stuck Inside A Cloud", a love song, isn't dark at all, with etherial instrumental "Marwa Blues" a marvellous lift to it and a reminder of how great a guitarist's gone away. Harrison's playing is excellent throughout, and it's here that he finally let himself be at play and take an ukulele to the fore in an old ditty "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea". Which is a contradiction of another sort, you know.
George may have known the art of dying quite early, yet his search for the answers never stopped, and here "Oh Lord, I got to get back somehow to you" line of "Looking For My Life" isn't a surrender but quest. Harrison did't see death as the end, "(Can Only) Run So Far" being a mild acceptance of his own limitations with the fleeting shadow of regret lurking in "Never Get Over You". A Pisces Fish, then? Like an old bluesman, the artist bid farewell before "going down to the river", a blissful vision described in "Rocking Chair In Hawaii", but... "But in the rising sun you can feel your life begin", that's the last will of the artist who eventually resolved the greatest conundrum of his: how can a spiritual person live in a material world.