Into the Sun
First Appeared at The Music Box, March 1999, Volume 6, #3
Written by John Metzger
It's impossible to discuss Sean Lennon without mentioning his parents — John and Yoko. It's certainly a lot to live up to, and it might cause many to shy away from having anything to do with the music business. Not so for Sean, who jumped in with both feet on his solo debut Into the Sun.
Lennon's voice is magical in the way that it dances and floats above each song or interacts with Miho Hatori's voice on the title track. More often than not, he expresses himself with a brilliant combination of his father's and Brian Wilson's vocal styles as he tenderly sings his songs about being in love.
Throughout Into the Sun, Lennon moves from style to style, expertly exploring the unlikely combinations of psychedelic pop, country & western, bossa nova, and jazz. He evenly distributes the influences of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and the multi-cultural Cibo Matto, for which he has played bass. It was there that he met "soulmate" Yuka Honda, who produced and performed on Into the Sun.
Mystery Juice begins with Lennon's voice leading a bass line. As acoustic guitar and drums are added, the song takes on a life of its own, maintaining a controlled tension while following its lyrical stream-of-consciousness wordplay. When it's least expected, the song bursts open, releasing the singer's jealousy into a fuzzed-out, crash and burn rage. The melody settles back into a floating, drifting theme before dissipating into the waves of the ocean and the bossa nova beat of the title track.
On Photosynthesis, Lennon delivers a full-blown jazz instrumental. The song begins simply enough with a combination of percussion and bass that gives the track a Latin-tinged flavor. As a horn section joins the groove, the song mutates into a spirited excursion reminiscent of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew sessions.
Into the Sun is definitely an exploration of a variety of styles, and like his father, Sean isn't content to stay in one place for too long. For many, the result would be a scattered and uneven affair, but for the most part, Sean Lennon makes this diversity work to his advantage. The result is a cohesive and effective debut that should leave many fans eagerly anticipating his next effort.
Into the Sun is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box