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Yoko Ono
20 December 2012
7.53pm
Velvet Hand
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SatanHimself said
I plugged in my vaporizer and got high and then gave a handful of tracks another shot.  

Good Lord – if I tried "Cambridge 1969" (full length) in any sort of altered state, I'd probably start seeing white mice everywhere. It wasn't that one you listened to while "baked", I presume?

20 December 2012
9.19pm
Von Bontee
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Actually, "Cambridge 1969" is quite nice while altered! :) Feedback and shrieking melting into each other – even more than on "Plastic Ono Band", THAT'S the one where it becomes hard to tell one from the other. (I think Satan implied that it was POB that he listened to.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
20 December 2012
10.03pm
SatanHimself
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Yeah, POB is where I went with that.  I would appreciate a list of recommended tracks that everyone considers her most listenable (or most vital).  I'd like to give it a real college try, but like I said:  Her stuff is so obtuse that I can't just jump in and wade through any entire album.

E is for 'Ergent'.
20 December 2012
11.03pm
Velvet Hand
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Ooooh, listy time!

1) You are already know YO/POB – and hey, that's the best one!

2) I dare you to listen to the entirety (eternity?) of "Cambridge 1969" while baked.

3) If you want more of the same, only quieter, move on to "Fly". If you want more of the same, only scarier, move on to "John, John (Let's Hope for Peace)" and "Aü". Then lie down for a bit.

4) If you definitely, emphatically do not want more of the same, listen to the incredible "Open Your Box" (or the censored album version "Hirake"). Repeat.

5) Listen to all available versions of "Don't Worry Kyoko": demo (Wedding Album CD), Cold Turkey b-side (also on Fly), live in Toronto, and live in London (Live Jam, approx. 15 minutes).

6) Yoko also has a few actual songs, e.g. "Midsummer New York" (kicks butt!), "Listen the Snow Is Falling", or "Who Has Seen the Wind". Then there's "Mrs Lennon", which is a bit like "Oh My Love", only scary.

7) Treat yourself to side 3 of Fly ("Airmale", "Don't Count the Waves", and "You"). You will never want to listen to anything else ever again.

The rot started to set in with Some Time in NYC, mainly because of the lyrics. I cannot recommend Approximately Infinite Universe either, except for laughs. Haven't heard all of "Feeling the Space" because what I heard sounded too much like AIU. 

For some reason, I don't really count Double Fantasy, Season of Glass etc. as Yokomusic.

I haven't heard Starpeace, but the cover looks dreadful.

But the "old" stuff is really good! 

21 December 2012
2.32am
Funny Paper
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Velvet Hand, has Yoko written and performed and conventional pop/folk/rock… reggae… jazz… classical… anything…?

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
21 December 2012
3.12pm
Velvet Hand
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She has indeed, although even on the most hummable/danceable of tunes, her voice always stands out as quite unconventional (I think) – so you'd have to like or at least tolerate that.

In fact, I believe that percentage-wise, most of her music is conventional rock/pop rather than head-splitting screeching – it's just that on the whole, I like the screeching (and the music that comes with it) more than the pop stuff.

That said, most of Yoko's early traditionally-structured and -instrumented songs (e.g. "Listen the Snow Is Falling", "Who Has Seen the Wind", "Remember Love", "Midsummer New York", "Mrs Lennon") are really good, and it was only when she pushed the screechy stuff overboard and went pop/rock full-time that the songs began to suffer. I like "Sisters O Sisters" (a little reggae-ish, that one, and a great melody) and "We're All Water" on Some Time in NYC, but the other songs she sings on are embarrassing (just my view though – I can see how one might like "Angela" or "The Luck of the Irish", perhaps because they're duets with John).

Approximately Infinite Universe (2 LPs!) and Feeling the Space (what I've heard of it) are musically pleasant but lyrically painful – a lot of unfiltered feminist rethoric set to professional mid-70s soft rock. Whenever the lyrics are bearable, it's the lack of tunes that drags the recordings down. However, if you're the kind of listener who likes to go for "so bad it's good" stuff on occasion, this might be for you. :-)

I've heard Yoko's songs on Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey, and some of what followed (all pop/rock very much in the styles of its time, i.e. late 70s/early 80s), but wasn't too impressed – I always feel that Yoko needs to go beyond verse/chorus structures and let loose. She did that best on her late 60s/early 70s records, as the albums she's put out since 1995 aren't so hot either…

Hope this helps!

22 December 2012
3.16am
Funny Paper
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Thanks Velvet Hand for that detailed answer.  I picked three songs from your list more or less at random and listened to them.  I didn't like the "Listen the Snow is Falling" nor the "Midsummer New York" (with one exception, when she periodically belts out the word "shake" her voice suddenly actually gets good); the music and instrumentation of "Sisters O Sisters" is pretty good, but not quite up to my taste's threshold, I guess.  One song (just about any song) by the Brazilian pop artist Ceu blows Yoko out of the water, IMO.

 

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22 December 2012
3.29pm
Velvet Hand
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Ah well, I tried. :-)

But you're right – the "shaaaaake" bit is, for want of a better word, awesome.

22 December 2012
10.58pm
Von Bontee
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As far as her actual singing goes, I've always thought she had a nice little controlled vibrato when she's singing really softly – actually, it's pretty vibrant when she's all-out shrieking as well, but it's a little easier on the ears when it's quieter. Her pitch control isn't great, of course; she often sounds flat. (Except when she's sharp.) I've often wondered if it took her and Pattie many takes to get those "Birth-day"s right on pitch. Maybe Pattie was keeping her on-key?

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
23 December 2012
8.26am
Funny Paper
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More generally, I hate to say this, but Yoko sounds like she's disturbed and she's bottling up a lot of darkness and anger and she's in DEEP DENIAL.  Many people go through periods of denial, but she seems to have been that way all her life.  I don't judge non-celebrities, but if you're making money from us peon Peasants, then we have a right to judge you!

Piggies!

 

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24 December 2012
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Ben Ramon
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I've been meaning to listen to Yoko's stuff for a long time- I like experimental and challenging music- but never got around to it. I've heard "Mrs Lennon", and love the chord progression and atmosphere (later nicked by Big Star for "Holocaust") but I find her voice ruins the ambience. I've also heard "No No No" off Season of Glass, which purports to be her artistic and musical reaction to John's death and starts with gunshots and her screaming- it's pretty harrowing, and the song itself is one of the most bizarre I've ever heard, which is saying a lot.

I'll have to give YO/POB a try, and Fly.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
24 December 2012
12.24am
Funny Paper
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Thanks for that video, Ben Ramon.  I actually like that song "No, No, No" a lot.  I never heard it before.  Good voice, good arrangement and instrumentation.  I like it a lot better than the selections Velvet Hand recommended (sorry VH -- I'm continually amazed how everybody doesn't share my exact same tastes!a-hard-days-night-paul-10)

I also like that album title Season of Glass, and the cover.  Must investigate further.

 

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24 December 2012
12.29am
Ben Ramon
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Season of Glass was Yoko's album immediately after John's death. I understand it's a pretty bleak affair, as suggested by the cover, which a lot of people considered tasteless. But hey, it's her husband who was murdered in front of her; who are they to judge?

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
24 December 2012
12.41am
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Ben Ramon said
Season of Glass was Yoko's album immediately after John's death. I understand it's a pretty bleak affair, as suggested by the cover, which a lot of people considered tasteless. But hey, it's her husband who was murdered in front of her; who are they to judge?

On the subject of "No, No, No" as a statement of her response to John's death (I was only commenting on my musical appreciation of it), I don't find it as bizarre as you do; after all, avante-garde artists have pretty much done everything.  She's obviously trying to be circuitous and shockingly provocative in juxtaposition of certain images/themes with the ostensible main subject; and I find she just barely skirts the edge of -- and manages to avoid -- being too cutely "edgy" about the whole thing.

I just had a thought: It would have been clever, perhaps, for her to title the song "O No" instead.

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24 December 2012
1.01am
Ben Ramon
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I just find the music and production is insane; like dissonant New Wave on crack, and she sounds unhinged (not surprisingly). As for the "O No" pun, that had already been worn thin by John on POB and Imagine. I remember when the double meaning of his singing "oh no" in Jealous Guy, How? and several other songs first dawned on me.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
3 January 2013
12.22am
Egroeg Evoli
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I do not hate her, but I don't love her, and that's all I'm going to say.

I found this a bit funny:

The following people thank Egroeg Evoli for this post:

Atlas

Do you want to know a secret? Read my username backwards. ~ ~ ~ - - - . . . - - - ~ ~ ~ Also known as Egg-Rock, Egg-Roll, E-George, Eggy...

☮ & <3

14 March 2014
1.50am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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I didn't think it would be right to rain on the parade of those who have been writing on the "Yoko Ono appreciation" thread, so I'm posting here instead.

The anti-Yoko sentiment has little to do with whether her artistic output has had merit or not. That's merely a question of personal taste.

It also doesn't have much to do with the fact that the Beatles broke up (at least, it shouldn't). The band had run its course.

And no, it doesn't rest on a lack of appreciation for all the good she did Lennon. Yes, it gave him something to live for and get excited about.

But what path did she lead him on? He became a heroin addict under her watch; he turned on all those around him; she didn't exactly encourage him to tone things down a bit on "How Do You Sleep at Night?". Mr. "Give Peace a Chance" was rather ornery towards his former friends – and a poor father vis a vis Julian – to say the least; John totally weirded out, a fact that has become muted over time. The two were a curiosity that were not taken seriously by many. (That didn't stop John from being a genius and he produced many terrific songs.)

Many bands break up and stay on good terms – and get back together occasionally. By all accounts (in the good and the bad books that I have read), Yoko was a prime mover in the persistent animosity between the four of them.

In short, with his pick of just about any available woman in the western world, John could have found a muse that was less … acidic? destructive? narcissistic? (Someone here will help me find the right adjective.)

The following people thank Into the Sky with Diamonds for this post:

Atlas
"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
14 March 2014
2.50am
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
I didn't think it would be right to rain on the parade of those who have been writing on the "Yoko Ono appreciation" thread, so I'm posting here instead.

The anti-Yoko sentiment has little to do with whether her artistic output has had merit or not. That's merely a question of personal taste.

It also doesn't have much to do with the fact that the Beatles broke up (at least, it shouldn't). The band had run its course.

And no, it doesn't rest on a lack of appreciation for all the good she did Lennon. Yes, it gave him something to live for and get excited about.

But what path did she lead him on? He became a heroin addict under her watch; he turned on all those around him; she didn't exactly encourage him to tone things down a bit on "How Do You Sleep at Night?". Mr. "Give Peace a Chance" was rather ornery towards his former friends – and a poor father vis a vis Julian – to say the least; John totally weirded out, a fact that has become muted over time. The two were a curiosity that were not taken seriously by many. (That didn't stop John from being a genius and he produced many terrific songs.)

Many bands break up and stay on good terms – and get back together occasionally. By all accounts (in the good and the bad books that I have read), Yoko was a prime mover in the persistent animosity between the four of them.

In short, with his pick of just about any available woman in the western world, John could have found a muse that was less … acidic? destructive? narcissistic? (Someone here will help me find the right adjective.)

Well, I see one big thing with your post that's wrong…John claimed Bob Dylan got him high on heroin in 1966, a good two years before he did heroin with Yoko, so I don't think she can be blamed.

Also, when John (and every other Beatle) turned against Paul, it was because of Paul, not Yoko.  Paul was being sneaky and getting the Eastmans involved, and buying up shares behind John's back.

As to Julian, there is plenty of evidence that he went on vacations with John and Yoko and visited the Dakota, so I don't think Julian's claims of "poor me" are 100% justified, at least while John was alive.  And John admitted that he had less to do with Julian because he was born during Beatlemania and he just had little time for him--so what does that have to do with Yoko?

True, she may not have liked seeing John with Julian because she was separated from her own child--that's selfish, but I understand it.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

14 March 2014
2.53am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I'd say she could be blamed for hooking him on it. Maybe Dylan gave it to him the first time, but I think Yoko made him a legitimate junkie (and really vice versa, John hurt Yoko pretty much as much as Yoko hurt John).

And Into The Sky, I'd go with poisonous.

(This signature brought to you by Stairways. Going to Heaven since 1971)
14 March 2014
3.23am
Atlas
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Yoko is a divisive figure…….. Half the world blames her for the break up of the Beatles. She's got the other half convinced she's the tortured, star-crossed lover and victims of the piece. 

People will believe what they want to believe. Simple as that.

 

I can appreciate Yoko's imagination. I can admire her guts and 100% commitment to getting what she wants. I can respect the fact that she has become one of the world's  most famous and richest women.

 

But I don't like the vindictive. I don't appreciate the manipulative. I can't entertain those with giant, self-inflated egos…….. based on so little. 

 

You know in all the words written about Yoko,  I don't recall any friends speaking up for her. 

 

  

 

 

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