Plastic Ono Band (1970)


 
1. Mother 2. Hold On 3. I Found Out 4. Working Class Hero 5. Isolation 6. Remember 7. Love 8. Well Well Well 9. Look at me 10.God 11.My Mummy's Dead 12.Power to the People* 13.Do the Oz* * Bonus CD Tracks

 

It is the consensus among all critics and most diehard fans that John Lennon's first real solo album, with actual songs, is undoubtably his very best, and ranks amongst the best of any solo effort by any member of The Beatles. In many cases, though, this is a very sad record. Sad because John Lennon let's us all deep inside of his heart and soul, and what we find is not pretty at all, even downright ugly.

Around the latter half of the sixties, we saw The Beatles, and particular John Lennon, become increasingly....well....weird. We saw them run away from society and follow the Mahahrishi for some transcendental meditation, saw Lennon divorce his "good English wife" for that "weird Japanese lady" (that seemed to be forever, literally, at his side), we heard all the bizarre experimental albums (one that featured the above mentioned new girlfriend, along with Lennon, bullock naked on the cover) and saw and heard all about the bed-ins for peace. It was definitely one strange thing after another.

What this album sort of did in its own special way is to explain to us why John Lennon had evolved into this rather curious character. This is a confessional of the strongest kind. He bares his soul and lets us know basically that, Beatle or no Beatle, he's had a miserable life and feels incredibly cheated. Had the music not been so superb, it could have been very easy to write the whole thing off and shake your head, but the music is outstanding. Everything that John Lennon does well, he does so on the album. The music is on many fronts - angry rockers, quiet acoustic pieces, and some harrowing piano ballads. There's not a bad track on the album.

It's not necessarily a fun listen. In fact, this is downright depressing, and had this come from just about any artist, it would have been extremely narcissistic, and, well, no one would have probably cared. But this is a man that an entire generation had idolized, so we don't mind the barrage. In fact, we wish we could reach out to the man and give him a hug. I'm serious. Although the music is outstanding, we can't escape the lyrics and the message. Whether it's a plea to his dead parents that deserted him, the faith he had lost in fame and/or religion, or the entire country and upbringing that was forced upon him, it's a soul baring record in the strongest sense.

Not surprisingly, there's very little on the album that's "popular" and/or would appear on a "hits" collection, but the whole album works very well just as it is. The whole world now felt as though they understood this man just a little bit better.

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