Newest Review: ... (his father) or through death (his mother), it is a deeply private affair. Hold On is lovely, continuing with the record's uncompli... more
I Don't Believe In Beatles!!!
Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
Member Name: DanielKemp
Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
Advantages: An intensely personal set of songs. Love and God are two beautiful recordings!
Disadvantages: The middle-section of the album carries some 'filler'.
Producer: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector
I Found Out
Working Class Hero
Well Well Well
Look at Me
My Mummy's Dead
Released in 1970, this is the debut solo album by John Lennon. There's very little else I can add when it comes to discussing this man's career. Of course, the famous story goes that John Lennon is one half of what was possibly the greatest song-writing partnership in the history of popular music. Teamed with Paul McCartney, he reached the dizzy heights of fame with The Beatles in the 1960s.
In 1970 The Beatles split, John was in love with Yoko 'Love her or hate her' Ono and the rest is history. The resulting album from all this insecurity is an intensely personal set of songs, something which would have certainly never been allowed to appear on a Beatles record.
From the introductory toiling bells, to the expressionless drumming from Ringo Starr, Mother makes it apparent that John Lennon will be pulling no punches, neither here nor anywhere else on the record. Seemingly about Lennon facing his inner demons and confronting the fact that both his parents had abandoned him, be it voluntarily (his father) or through death (his mother), it is a deeply private affair.
Hold On is lovely, continuing with the record's uncomplicated arrangements. "Hold on Yoko, Yoko hold on... it's gonna be alright," is the sound of Lennon comforting his wife, bidding her to have faith in him and convincing her that they too can face up to their ordeals. Admittedly, it's hard to keep a straight face when John imitates the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street in the middle of the song but few could reject Hold On's genuine appeal.
Very much bitter and a workout for Lennon's disappointment with this world's pretences, I Found Out speaks for itself, as Lennon imparts the unenviable knowledge he has located through a trial and error lifestyle, "I seen through junkies, I been through it all, I seen religion from Jesus to Paul!" Bluesy and possessing a raw, earthy charm, it is a lesson in minimalist perfection. The unsophisticated, distorted funk makes a return later on during Well Well Well and makes for another winner in my book. Lennon screams his heart out all the way to the devastating finale, where the song all but cowers beneath his presence.
The album, like the man himself, has its flaws. Working Class Hero is tiresome on the best of days, with a droll circulation of only the most basic of guitar chords. John Lennon may be politically aware and discuss the trials of the working class everyman, but nevertheless, he simply will not win me over with this sluggish addition to the album. Likewise, Isolation is a chore to sit through. Neither emotionally rich nor musically convincing, it simply shuffles in an undistinguished manner to the end of its running time. Yes, it is unfortunate that the middle-section of this record is mostly without merit.
Thankfully, things don't just pick up, but rather go into overdrive with the aching plea of Love. Just how does the man wring out so much pain into those few piano chords? I honestly can say, hand on my heart, that I've scarcely heard such a touching and yet stripped back cycle of piano chords. The song defines love itself, as Lennon tries his best to accommodate for the greatest of all emotions - unreserved love. "Love is touch, touch is love. Love is reaching, reaching love. Love is asking to be loved," and so on, ad infinitum. Sounds basic, and I guess from a technical point of view it is, but very few recordings can wreck as much havoc with your heart as Love manages.
Almost as important as Lennon's earlier musings on the world of love is his patriarchal views on religion, as seen on penultimate track God, which describes God as 'a concept by which we measure pain'. Lennon has a seemingly endless selection of expressive piano chords at his disposal, as he practically breaks through your ribcage and grasps your beating heart in his palms. The song, in effect, closes one chapter of his life and opens another, as documented by the lyrics, "I was the walrus but now I'm John and so dear friends you just have to carry on. The dream is over."
Poetic, don't you think?
You cannot deny the quality of song-writing throughout this recording. This is made evident by the fact that the majority of songs from this debut album are not overproduced and are even best described as simple. And yet, the strength of the song writing carries these songs all the way through - indeed, the best songs found on this record feature the fundamental marriage of Lennon's fractured vocals and his affecting piano chords. True, the middle-section of the album carries some baggage, but you'd struggle to find many albums which do not.
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Summary: John Lennon's masterful solo debut album!