Plastic Ono Band
First Appeared at The Music Box, March 2001, Volume 8, #3
Written by John Metzger
Just about everything John Lennon did was first rate — from his legendary work with The Beatles to his stunning, but all too short, solo career. Of his post-Beatles albums (and among rock records in general), however, his 1970 release Plastic Ono Band stands at the top of the heap. Here, Lennon parlays his primal scream therapy into an emotionally raw collection of songs that bristle against his psychological wounds until they lie open and bleeding. The opening Mother explodes with anger over his issues of parental abandonment, while Well Well Well pushes Lennon's voice to its limit as he sings of political revolution.
Oddly enough, Plastic Ono Band was co-produced by Phil Spector, best-known for his "Wall of Sound" style of recording. For this release, however, Spector (no doubt under the direction of Lennon) toned things down considerably, and many of the songs contain a quiet introspection that suitably fits the personal nature of their lyrics. Hold On, Love, and Look at Me all tap into the former Beatle's insecurities as he looks to his soulmate Yoko Ono for the inspiration to continue pushing onward. On Working Class Hero, Lennon sounds exhausted as he uses his background in an attempt to connect with and awaken the masses — knowing that perhaps his efforts are completely in vain.
As Plastic Ono Band draws to a close, Lennon seems to come to terms with both who he was and who he has become. The dream is over, the Beatles are gone, his mother is dead, and what remains is John and Yoko. It's pure and simple: All you need is love, and John had finally found it.
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box