Double Fantasy (1980)


 
1. (Just Like) Starting Over 2. Kiss, Kiss, Kiss 3. Cleanup Time 4. Give Me Something 5. I'm Losing You 6. I'm Moving On 7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) 8. Watching the Wheels 9. Yes, I'm Your Angel 10.Woman 11.Beautiful Boys 12.Dear Yoko 13.Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him * 14.Hard Times are Over * 15.Help Me to Help Myself * 16.Walking on Thin Ice * 17.Central Park Stroll (Dialogue) * * CD Bonus Track

 

This is actually a very painful album to listen to due to the circumstances surrounding the release, and the events thereafter. In case you weren't around, John Lennon "retired" five years before this album came out and was actually separated for a time from Yoko. They soon got back together, had a child (after several miscarriages) and John Lennon seemed to have finally found peace within himself. He and Yoko recorded this very personal, happy album and the public welcomed him back openly. Then, exactly one month after the release of this album, some lunatic shot him dead outside his Dakota apartment in New York City.

This album, in a strange way, became a symbol for the tragedy and loss of arguably rock's greatest star ever. Yes, people bought the album in droves, but a lot of that was due the fact that John was now gone. It's very hard to listen, even decades later, to this album and not be reminded of all of the tragedy.

Since this was a celebration of their re-found love, and since Yoko was a songwriter/musician herself (in the loosest sense possible), this is a joint album with each contributing their own set of songs - something they hadn't done since the disastrous Some Time in New York City. The results here are better than that outing (they really couldn't be worse), and even Yoko sounds better than she ever has (that's not to say good, just better).

John does mostly well with his contributions. The album had three top ten singles ((Just Like) Starting Over, Woman, and Watching the Wheels) and, as mentioned, sales were probably spurned by the untimely death, but all of the songs hold up very well, and deserve credit on their own merits. His other killer track is the somewhat rocker I'm Losing You, although it was put to shame years later when an alternative version surfaced with members of Cheap Trick backing him up. They probably should have included that one, but it might have sounded too different from the rest of the record. Also a winner is the saddest song in the history of rock and roll, Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) for his four year old son. Sad because John sings of all the promise and future of their relationship to come in such a sweet melodic, almost lullaby fashion, yet his sweet little boy would soon be without a Dad. It really is hard to digest. This was such a far cry from the nasty hearted teddy boy that fronted The Beatles so many years ago.

Yoko, as usual, should have reserved her songs for her own album rather than muddling things up here. She tries, or maybe they try. Sad thing is, she just can't sing. No matter how catchy some of the melodies are, her thick asian accent just ruins everything. And really, do we have to hear her having an orgasm throughout the middle of Kiss, Kiss, Kiss as she's moaning and screaming incomprehensible Japanese words? It really is embarrassing. Yes, I'm Your Angel has a nice 1940-ish flair to it, and had anyone with talent sung the song, it might have come off quite well.

Ironically, as soon as this album was released, John and Yoko were immediately back in the studio recording a quick, companion, follow up to this album (it was upon returning from one of these recording sessions when he was shot and killed) and some of the sessions were released posthumously several years later. One is almost inclined to take the John songs from both albums and make "one really good" album.

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