Milk and Honey (1984)


 
1. I'm Stepping Out 2. Sleepless Night 3. I Don't Wanna Face It 4. Don't Be Scared 5. Nobody Told Me 6. O'Sanity 7. Borrowed Time 8. Your Hands 9. (Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess 10.Let Me Count the Ways 11.Grow Old With Me 12.You're the One

 

Whenever a great artist has their life ended prematurely, there tends to be a selfish desire of the estate of the particular artist to capitalize by releasing everything possible that the artist recorded when they were alive - regardless of whether or not the artist themselves would ever want that to have occurred. Sadly, John Lennon was no exception. The good thing about this posthumous album, is that there was every intention of releasing this material - very soon after he had completed Double Fantasy. These sessions were designed to compliment that album - he was even working on these tracks during, and slightly after that album's release (he was actually shot dead on an evening returning home from one of its recording sessions).

It must be said though, that this record is somewhat incomplete. There's only so much one can do to "fix things up" after the artist has left us and in many cases it's just too obvious. Fortunately though, most of the songs hold up quite well, and even though they don't sound "finished", there's nothing here that is unlistenable in terms of "completeness". Even the "home demos" at the end of this album sound justifiable - perhaps because they serve as an addendum to the tragically short life of John Lennon.

It's very obvious this was intended to be a "companion" to Double Fantasy. The song order alternates between a John song and a Yoko song, and even the cover of the album is almost identical to the aforementioned album - including the font and and placement of the artist and title. It becomes tiresome for me to constantly put down Yoko Ono's songs whenever they would appear on a John Lennon album, but you can't change what can't be changed. She does manage to put out her best set of songs ever here, it's just that her Japanese accent left too much of an effect on the songs, and I doubt if she would have received any notoriety had she not been Mrs. John Lennon. Someone who enjoys making playlists on their Ipod is tempted to take the John songs from Double Fantasy and the John songs from this album and make one, really good album.

John's songs are strong here, for the most part. He's still in his "househusband" mode on I'm Stepping Out and that part his life became a bit tiresome to hear after awhile. He really succeeds on the reggae infused Borrowed Time and the one hit song Nobody Told Me. Such sadness that his genius was still in full bloom. The best song here, ironically, is the homemade Grow Old With Me. My guess is this is one of those songs that could have been "doctored" in the studio and made into a proper song, but it was probably thought that it sounded perfect just as it was - a very personal song from a man who had discovered the secret to happiness shortly before he was violently gunned down. I'm glad that Yoko (or whoever) took the time to release this one (NOTE: A "complete" version of this song would appear on later compilations. I still think the original version is the best).

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