Music Review: In a new expanded collection, how much of John Lennon’s ‘Mind Games’ is too much?

The new remixed and expanded “Mind Games: The Ultimate Collection” is for those John Lennon fans who really, really love his inconsistent 1973 record of the same name.

The problem is, many Lennon fans would rank the original “Mind Games” fourth or fifth among his most beloved records. Not that the fourth-best John Lennon album is bad or anything, it’s just that “Mind Games” has to have a special place in your heart to make the new “Ultimate Collection” worth it, which is available in two or six-disc editions.

Most Lennon fans will be more-than satisfied with the two-disc version that offers the original album remastered plus a disc of outtakes.

And for those rare few who may pick “Mind Games” over, say, “Imagine” or “Plastic Ono Band” as their favorite Lennon album, there’s the “Super Deluxe Edition” that was limited to just 1,100 copies for a cool $1,350. It includes extras such as a hologram-engraved EP and bespoke I-Ching coins.

Thinking about buying that one? Too late, it’s long sold out.

But for the rest of us, there are the more economical six- or two-disc collections. The six-disc version has all of the music included on the two-disc version, with additional CDs offering listeners multiple ways to experience “Mind Games,” including an audio documentary and an expansive book that goes deep into the songs and what was happening in Lennon’s life and the world at this time.

There’s the original recording remixed “from the ground up” by Lennon’s son, Sean Ono Lennon dubbed “The Ultimate Mixes.” “The Elemental Mixes” presents the songs stripped down from post-production enhancements, but with Lennon’s voice at the forefront.

The best disc of the bunch is the “Raw Studio Mixes” which delivers “Mind Games” as it was recorded in the studio before overdubs and other post-production effects. This one, more than any of the others, really puts the listener on the studio floor with Lennon and the other musicians.

Disc three, titled “The Elements Mixes,” not to be confused with “The Elemental Mixes,” goes in the opposite direction and removes Lennon’s vocals all together. That’s a bold move, to put it kindly, that will likely become the least played one in this set for most.

“The Evolution Documentary” delivers just what it promises — mini-audio documentaries showing how each song evolved. That’s kind of cool, especially for those who like to hear how the songs changed during recording without listening to every single take. The studio banter from Lennon and Yoko Ono is a fun bonus.

Rounding out the set on disc six, or disc two of the slimmed down release, are, of course, the outtakes. Whew.

All of it may have the more casual fan throwing their hands in the air and shouting the Lennon lyric, “Gimme some truth!”

It’s unlikely that anyone listening to all five-plus hours of “The Ultimate Collection” will be shouting “Gimme more ‘Mind Games’!” ___

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