The second reunion single, and this one feels a lot less organic than “Free as a Bird,” possibly because it doesn’t have the benefit of those gut-punch Paul- and George-sung bridges. The vocals are, in fact, an issue throughout. John’s ghostly warbling doesn’t work as well here as it does on “FaaB” as he’s completely overwhelmed by the other Beatles’ rich instrumental overdubs. But in fairness, those overdubs are quite nifty, especially George’s guitar solo and Ringo’s well-placed cymbal crashes in the chorus. “Real Love” is not a bad song by any stretch, and is actually rather catchy (especially that chorus!), but it’s definitely mid-tier Lennon at best, limp adult-pap at worst. The B-side? Pointless live version of “Baby’s in Black” that seems to have been included solely to show off John’s funny, sneering stage banter. The music itself is pure snoozer.
I’ll add that the band didn’t help the A-side’s cause from the get-go by premiering it via a LOUSY video 24 hours after the unleashing of the awesome “Free as a Bird” vid, making it feel like the afterthought it was eventually considered. The airing of the “Bird” clip, by the way, beats out the 2004 ALCS as the most exciting television experience of my life… that countdown on ABC – “ABeatleC” har har – while the credits rolled on the first installment of the Anthology special back in ’95? MAN! I remember exactly where I was sitting in the room at the time, and I think I even shed a secret tear or two. SHADDUP.