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
The dream is over, what can I say?
Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
Member Name: JohnC
Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
Date: 22/01/01, updated on 22/01/01 (537 review reads)
Advantages: Simple, beautiful music
Disadvantages: It can make you cry
John brings his feelings to the fore in this musically simple but lyrically wonderful exposition of his views and feelings on topics as varied as God, his mother, his love, his politics and his own insecurity, after the Beatles. The songs on this album bring out some painful and honest (and in some cases ironic) thoughts from John, in words and music that simply are perfect at times. This album is about being alone and invokes in the songs memories from his early days as a boy, through school, through the Beatles to the present day.
The album opens with ‘Mother’, a track that has an opening like you might expect from Black Sabbath not Lennon, with the sound of a church bell hauntingly introducing a track of supreme honesty and obvious pain. John grew up with his Aunty Mimi (Mary Smith), who was given John by his mother to bring up from the age of 5, his father being away at sea a lot and his mother Julia, being somewhat of a free spirit. John’s mother was killed in a car accident in 1958 and this memory haunted him for many years and he uses this song to say goodbye to her and act as a warning to others who find themselves in his situation. John closes the track with a repeated and increasingly desperate chant (and strangely becoming more childlike) many believe based on the ‘primal scream therapy’ he and Yoko became involved in years after this mother’s death.
‘Hold on’ has John deliver a tune of optimism, encouraging everyone from him, Yoko to the entire world to ‘hold on’ because ‘your gonna see the light’. The song is made particularly interesting by the use of a lovely tremolo guitar melody, which accompanies John’s vocal performance…almost oriental sounding in its style.
‘I found out’ is an altogether darker rock song (in the style of Cold Turkey). Here John shows how his beliefs and experience have all been questioned based on his e
xperience and that he has now found the truth. Again returning to the theme of his parents (“they didn’t want me so they made me a star”), but also rejecting the Maharishi experience and religion (“I have been through it all, from Jesus to Paul”) as such referring to the Beatles and possibly his remark from many years before that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.
The classic ‘Working Class Hero’ follows, showing his pain at being different and alone. This song brings out his fear of being different “they tortured and scared you for 20 odd years, and then they expect you to pick a career” and the brainwashing he feels is the norm to get on in life “there is room at the top they are telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile when you kill”. This song sounds like John is reacting to the people he has met in his rise to stardom and how he remains in tune with this roots.
‘Isolation’ could easily have been the title track of this album as it is no doubt its recurring theme. A slow, moody song like the opening track, which expresses his feelings of being alone, and misunderstood.
In ‘Remember’ Lennon recalls his past again, but this time putting the past behind him and encouraging the listener to think of ‘Today and don’t feel sorry about the way it has gone’. A rocking song with a splendid, humorous ending that is obvious yet comes with little warning or expectation…go and try listen, I am not spoiling the fun!
John moves into one of the best love songs he has ever penned, appropriately entitles ‘Love’. This beautiful song, strummed on guitar with piano accompaniment, explores what love is to each of us and what it means to each other and our lives. Think of a loved one and listen to this song and I defy you not to cry.
‘Well Well Well’ is a driving rock song (aga
in very Cold Turkey style) with distorted and fuzz guitar giving a prominent melody to the song. The song sounds like it was inspired by effect of drugs has on a person with the middle and closing chorus demonstrate the anger John must have been feeling around this time.
‘Look at me’ is a song where John questions himself and what or who he is. Put simply he sings he is ‘Nobody knows but me’
‘God’ epitomises John’s rejection of the past and positions himself on a new course for his life where his activities revolve not around the Beatles but just John. This song is telling the world to move on with him. His comparison to God suggests again the comments about the Beatles and God from the past, but this time he cushions them with his views of other false Gods. The final few lines of the song bring together several references to the Beatles, which state quite simply a message John is trying throughout this album to get across:
The Dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
I was the dreamweaver
But now I ’m reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I am John
The closing song is a sad simple song called ‘My mummy’s dead’. A poignant short song, which simply defines his pain and acknowledges his inability to show it.
Later versions of the album had 2 further tracks on, but not my copy!
In short (or long), one of the best Lennon albums ever, if you really want to know about Lennon. A masterpiece.