yoko has took a lot of slagging off over the years.bought this with my eyes wide open,and wow!what an album!shows the woman has talent.ok there are a few odd slow tracks but the good ones more than make up for it.my favourite being the sun is down(most noticeable for a live performance with lady ga ga)but a real masterpiece.give it 10 years and it will be called a classic.well done yoko.
Yoko Ono with The Plastic Ono Band - some 36 years since their last release 'Feel the Space', are obviously still going strong! The music style is new, and in many ways the singing seems more deliberately controlled (but isn't that what it was in 1969-1973 too?), but there's no doubt about it: this is Yoko at her brilliant best!
Before I tell you my thoughts about "Between My Head & The Sky", I ought to tell you where I'm coming from. Firstly, I don't own any of Yoko Ono's other solo albums. I come to this album via the critical acclaim that some magazines/online reviewers lavished upon this piece of work and the interest that comes knowing that Sean Lennon was heavily involved. Of course, being a Beatles fan and owning all of John Lennon's solo work, it could be said that I am already fairly familiar with Yoko's artistic style, but I am definitely not, traditionally, what you could call a fan of all of her work. Although I like a few of her tracks which appear on the joint Lennon/Ono releases, there was also much that I disliked, so this was a bit of a "risky" purchase for me.
As far as I'm concerned, this is neither a bad album or a wholly brilliant one, but it's much closer to the top end of the spectrum than the bottom - there are a couple of tracks I really don't care for but more than a handful of tracks which are superb and it has to be said that I've enjoyed "Between My Head & The Sky" a whole lot more than I thought I would. Paradoxically, it is Yoko's individual style which both makes the excellent tracks great and the weaker tracks difficult to listen to, but that is something I have always admired about her, the ability to present her artistry without any compromise. If you really, truly dislike Yoko's style, then I doubt if there is anything on this album which will change your mind about her. If you love Yoko, then I'm quite sure that you'll love it. However, if you are the same as me and there are tracks of hers which you've enjoyed in the past, yet felt nonplussed about others, then perhaps you should give this a go as this is likely to give you a greater appreciation of and respect for Yoko's talent. Her vocal talents are truly remarkable for a lady of her age - she sounds no different on this recording than she did in 1980.
My favourite tracks include the superb opener, "Waiting For The D-Train", quite a heavy rock/dance piece with typically other-worldly Ono vocals. "The Sun Is Down" is a chilled, classy electronic dance number and, quite simply, one of the best things I've ever heard Yoko produce. "Feel The Sand" is a beautiful song, very spacious, with a spoken vocal wisely imploring us to be more in tune with the planet and it's truly brilliant, as is the very emotional "I'm Going Away Smiling", a really remarkable and sadly poignant song. I especially love the ending - "no tears". My last pick of the album is the Japanese/English track "Higa Noboru", which features understated vocals over a beautifully rolling, wistful piano line. The only tracks I really don't care for are "Moving Mountains" which features the kind of free-form vocals which have turned me off Ms. Ono's work in the past and "Calling" which features a lot of moaning over a heavy rock background - simply not my cup of tea, I'm afraid. Everything else, however, is more than simply listenable, it's interesting, artistic and much, much better than most people, including myself, could have expected. This is the kind of record which has started me thinking that I may have under-appreciated Yoko's songwriting talent in the past and makes me want to explore her solo work a little more.
I must admit my first experience of Yoko Ono was Live in Toronto 1969 - Oh my god was that a car crash of vocals. Put me off for years.
Move forward 40 years I can now see that she was far ahead of her time and this album is thoughtful (lyrically), rocky and also filled with tender melodies.
Yes she still uses the Kabuki style of singing in some of the songs, that is a cultural thing and introducing this to a western audience has been one of her constants. I understand this style much better now and it has grown on me. All those who have criticised her in the past are as much commenting on this aspect of her vocal style.
What makes Ms Ono so unique are the extraordinary strength of her melodies which remain in your subconscious and are instantly recalled. Her melodies are the chorus and largely make up the entire song.
I love the simplicity of her lyrics which at the same time are really quite profound.
The booklet accompanying the CD cover the lyrics in English and Japanese and has some beautiful artwork and graphics contained with.
This has been on my player nearly constantly since purchase - it ranks in my mind as one of the best contemporary albums of this century.
Buy and enjoy - I think this will have the same longevity as Seasons of Glass and Rising.
WOW!! Where do I begin to describe this - Yoko's great new Album!? This has to be one of the most poignant, profound - inspirational and possibly most defining work of her long and lasting career! Quite a statement I know - considering Yoko's substantial and quality back catalogue. However, words fail me with this, since this contains some of the most beautiful Pieces of Art ever set to music by anyone!
This Album was so eagerly awaited. I pre-ordered it (something I rarely do with CDs) and is the first Yoko Album I have purchased immediately upon release! This Album lived up to my expectations fifty fold and beyond! Whilst waiting for it to arrive, I could not help but to keep returning to the Amazon Page to listen to the 30 second Samples of each great Track! I was immediately hooked!
Having recently purchased her son Sean's debut Album 'Into The Sun', (see my Review for that title) and knowing that this was a kind of 'collaboration' between the two - there would be no mistaking the teaming of two great talents together here would be quite remarkable!
The Album however kicks off with a few Dance numbers, which are the usual 'cool' and high quality we have come to expect from Yoko, but as the Album progresses, it melts beautifully into what can only be described as the 'reflective' and 'subliminal' beauty that it is - climaxing with the bold statement: 'I'm Alive' - which for me, somehow winds the whole thing up magnificently!
It is somewhat difficult to high-light the Tracks here, since this Album is all so superbly done, and so if I was asked to comment on each Piece in as few words as possible, then here goes:
1) The opening Song is: 'Waiting For The D Train' which is probably your only 'average' Yoko Dance Track you will find in this Set - but after this, the 'usual' ends abruptly, and the 'difference' really begins, and Ono reaches new heights never achieved before in my opinion, and manages to surpass everything else she's ever done in terms of Art in music!
2) 'The Sun Is Down!' is a really 'cool' dance Track - and probably her greatest to date with a really 'hooky' beat that you'll want to go on and on and will delight all!
3) The 3rd Track is where Yoko notably brings a form of 'continuation' to most of her Albums. This time, it's in the guise of: 'Ask The Elephant' which follows on, and 'expands' somewhat on the Piece: 'Ask The Dragon' from her last but one Album: 'Rising'. (see my Review for that title)
4) By the 4th Piece, this is where the real 'core' of this Masterpiece of Arty music from Yoko really starts to evolve - in the beautiful and somewhat 'deep': 'Memory Of Footsteps'.
5) There's something new in Piece Five - for those of us who are familiar with Yoko's 'musical' vocal sounds. This is totally new and a real treat in the form of: 'Move Mountains' and is not so long a Track as most of her other Pieces in that particular genre. It is amazing to note here also, the immense control Ono still has over her clever vocal ability, and at her advanced age too! Unlike a few Singers somewhat younger than she, that really should have packed up by now as they can no longer manage it. Yoko still has what it takes and still does it with tremendous ease!
6) The 6th Piece has a really 'groovy' beat to it and is entitled simply: 'Calling' - just DIG it!!
7) The 7th Track has the mixture of both being hauntingly beautiful - with a touch of melancholia. - wonderful! This is entitled: 'Healing'.
8) 'Hashire, Hashire', has a reggae-fied and 'catchy' beat that appeals instantly. Though one always feels they are missing out on something when Yoko does not speak/Sing her words in English - she does both on this Track.
9) 'Between My Head And The Sky' is of course the title Track, and is used as the backing Track I stumbled upon once on a great Fashion Clip on YouTube - at the end of which there is an interesting Interview with Yoko and her son Sean (who collaborates with her here on this Album) and they speak briefly about working together and why.
10) 'Feel The Sand' to me is a very unusual Piece, and could easily form part of a Relaxation Programme. I found myself simply closing my eyes to this, and just listening to Yoko's beautiful and meaningful words...
11) 'Watching The Rain' to me, put simply, is a 'subliminal' sound all its own.
12) 'Unun. To' is another, like an earlier Track - beautifully melancholic Piece, with some very wise words from Yoko!
13) 'Going Away Smiling' is 'reflective', and gives an insight to perhaps how Yoko really feels about her own life.
14) The penultimate Track is, I believe to be Ono's most beautiful Piece ever recorded entitled: 'Higa Noboru'. Once again; this has a melancholic flavour, but hauntingly beautiful too. This is closed by the shortest Piece and 'bold' statement 'I'm Alive' - which is the final Track that I just love and adore!
In summing up, I would say that this Album is unique in Yoko Ono's work. It's an Album that has an exceptionally peaceful, calm and almost 'tranquil' collection (excepting a few) as its main basis and theme, and for that reason, will probably always stand out in Ono's fabulous and long career as an outstanding 'Artist' in modern music!
Yoko's Albums are not known for their 'organisation' of having either a 'beginning', 'middle' and/or an 'end' - but this definitely has all three!
How many women at nearly seventy-seven years' of age still record this kind of stuff!? Yoko Ono is perhaps the only Artist in several genres that is still turning out the kind of stuff that is still 'cool' enough to interest even a younger listening audience, whilst still maintaining her hardcore followers from four decades ago! Yoko Ono is probably the greatest Artist of 'Arty' music of both this, and the last century, and we are fortunate enough to still have her with us! I find myself always listening to her lyrics/words which for the most part in popular music go right over the top of my head...
No Track here is over-long, and this is most definitely one of the most significant and meaningful Albums I have ever bought in my Collection!
Yoko - please don't make us wait so long again - the world of Art in music still needs your contributions!!
Note: . Also includes some great Art from Yoko in the form of a small booklet, which was done during the 90s.Read more ›