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.