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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 14 June 2017
Ah, the good old days. Great to hear this again.
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on 1 June 2017
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on 28 February 2014
It is as expected. John Lennon was a very good singer and composer, so it's quality.
I like it very much.
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on 27 December 2010
I originally bought this on vinyl when it was released but have listened to it no more than half a dozen times. Every so often I dig it out to give it another whirl but can't get far into it before it becomes too unbearable. The live tracks are just awful.The only positive I can say about it is that it did make me look into the some of the issues covered in the studio album.
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on 21 October 2010
Not Lennon's worst recording !

Lets be honest Lennon lost touch with the rest of humanity in the late 60's and early 70's. He issued a number of appalling records which even the most die hard of Beatles Fans didn't like. In comparison with say "the wedding album" or "life with the Lions" this is a vast improvement. Lets be honest some of the music is really rather good at least on the studio set. However the lyrics will not make much sense, unless you recall the period well or have studied late 60 early 70's History. This is the miss guided politics of a wealthy capitalist playing at revolutionary. The live set with Zappa is just horrific "jam rag" is about menstruation on the surface, but seems to be the smacked soaked Lennon and Ono seeing how far they can push making a din. Unless you are a die hard Lennon fan there is very little here to recommend. "Angela" has a very decent melody and is about a real woman, and remains a good song despite the dodgy politics. The rest of the recording is lamentable !
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on 4 November 2012
It's true the average Beatles fan is not going to like this. The music of The Beatles covered many genres but generally inhabits the realm of pop music. One of the reasons this LP gets so many bad reviews is this is largely an avant-garde LP and is in many ways very different to the music of the Beatles or Lennon's other solo stuff. It's not for pop fans.

This is an amazing album. I actually can't understand why people dislike it so much. Anyone familiar with avant-garde rock, punk, the music of Zappa, the music of Sonic Youth will have no trouble processing these sounds. The songs are strong, direct, punchy, catchy and sometimes noisy. The more experimental songs are noisier, rawer and stronger. There is not much wrong with this LP.

It's true Yoko Ono can't sing but again experimental-rock fans will have no trouble with that. In fact her voice often lends a little bit of edge to some of the songs. Fans of Poly Styrene won't mind her voice one bit and weirdly Sisters, O Sisters sounds remarkably like a Poly Styrene song with Poly singing. People often criticise Yoko's songs the most but they really shouldn't. They are often well written with a thoughtful-yet-child-like charm to them. Lyrics like "wood becomes a flute when it's loved" are sweet but still poignant.

It's the more experimental songs that most people will have problems with. But Lennon, Ono and Zappa performing together! And improvising the genius song Scumbag! This is gold dust. Lennon and Zappa collaborating is something that was meant to be. Lennon's voice on many of the live tracks is raw and superb. It's a real shame he didn't delve into the avant-garde more. I would have loved to have heard more experimental Lennon. Why wasn't Ono's influence on him stronger? Because although Ono certainly brings a more arty, avant-garde nature to the album, her output is often limited. She too often makes screeching noises throughout songs - which is fine - but considering she is one of the pioneers of conceptual art it's surprising how unimaginative she often is.

I think the political nature of this album is also something people will have trouble with. But this is nothing new from Lennon. If the press are always hounding you, what better way to piss them off than to write songs about things they don't want to hear? Lennon and Ono attack Britain, the British, the USA, etc. This is all part of Lennon asserting Lennon the Man over Lennon the Beatle. The LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band does this also. This is Lennon destroying the Beatles myth and trying to be seen as more than just a product or even some god-like song writer. And post-Beatles Lennon was able to do things musically he never would have been able to get away with as a Beatles member. This includes experimentation and a political voice. It's just a shame he didn't indulge in the experimentation further.

A truly great album.
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2006
By 1972 we had seen Lennon the mop top, Lennon the working class hero, Lennon the peace campaigner, Lennon the walrus among many other manifestations. Now here came Lennon the political activist. Having left their grand Ascot mansion to mingle with the radicals and bohemians of New York, John and Yoko immersed themselves in their new environment.
"Sometime in New York City" is an interesting collection, by turns inspiring and infuriating. Lennon had previously written mostly about his own life (and since the Beatles' break-up had released two unequivocal classics in the shape of "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine"). On "Sometime in New York City" he turns his attention to a variety of political causes and social issues surrounding him in his adopted new home, and the Troubles in Ireland. The results are varied. On occasion they are rousing and perceptive (the title track for example, also "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" and "Attica State"). At other times they sound glib and hasty. He blotted his copy book in the UK particularly with two rather shrill (albeit undoubtedly heartfelt) polemics about Britain's involvement in Northern Ireland, one of them about the Bloody Sunday shootings, which remains a contentious issue to this day. Some wondered what a multi-millionaire rock star living abroad really had to say of any value about the tense and polarised situation in Northern Ireland at the time.
Some others were ambivalent about "Sometime...." owing to the equal billing of Yoko. I mean, she broke up the Beatles, right? There was a lot of hostility towards her still in 1972. Actually though, her feminist anthem "Sisters, O Sisters" and call for racial harmony in "We're All Water" are very strong and among the album's highlights.
If the album suffers from too much political sloganeering, it also struggles at times with the rather stodgy playing of the backing band Elephant's Memory. They could rock effectively enough but with little of the finesse of the Beatles or Lennon's other musical collaberators on earlier solo material. He deserved and could surely have recruited far more worthy musicians to give the songs an extra push.
The second half of the set catches the Ono Lennons at a number of live shows, concentrating on extended riff-laden guitar jams and Yoko's throat-shredding vocal histrionics. The presence of renowned task master Frank Zappa on some of this does not appear to bring much focus to the performances, they are primal in every sense. But there is an undeniable energy to this material and it can be very invigorating played as loud as your neighbours can stand.
For people exploring John Lennon's solo catalogue for the first time then, "Sometime in New York City" is not the best place to start, but if you've been impressed by "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine" (and I certainly hope you would be) this mixed bag is occasionally brilliant. It also has considerable historical interest and undoubted curiosity value.
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This is a solid record (well, record and a half) and I don't care what anyone says. The conviction is genuine, the tunes are great and the naivete is part of the charm ('millions of political prisoners'? but maybe he meant 'political' broadly and 'prisoners' metaphorically). My kids grew up with it, along with X-Ray Spex and, um, Leslie Sarony
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on 25 February 2006
John's third conventional solo studio album had a lot to live up to. Following 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band' and the now classic 'Imagine', and the Lennon's move from their peaceful country home in Ascot to the constant buzz and bustle of New York City, 'Some Time In New York City' seemed to reflect the experience of John's move to an entirely different environment. Being influenced by radical poitics and emersing himself in the raw rock and roll power or Elephants memory, John wrote songs about topics, moreso than feelings, with mixed results. 'Luck of the Irish', a beautiful irish type ballad with a very pointed message which works well with Yoko's singing, was one extreme to 'New York City', a rocking story of his arrival on the New York shores. 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' sounds shrill in comparison to 'Born in a Prison' or 'Angela'.
When the record come out in 1972, it was touted as John's nadir, just as Paul McCartney was getting pummeled by the press for his album 'Wild Life'. John's record was critisized for replacing poetry with sloganeering while Paul's was critisized for sloppiness and being generally light weight. Both records deserve a fresh look today.
Yoko has remixed Some Time in New York City and to her credit it is a great improvement. Her mixing has reduced the chaotic echo feel of the Phil Spector production. The 2005 CD has a presence the 1980s issue of the CD lacks, no doubt to the improvements in technology at Yoko's disposal and her own underestimated ear for sound and production skill. The remixed CD has a warmth and clarity it lacked in all orther incarnations, and the Lennon's Zappa number, now edited to John's performance only (a wise move given that the 'Au' and 'Scumbag' numbers were tough to sit through) you can now hear Flo and Eddie's back up vocals on the track. the Slide guitar on 'John Sinclair' jumps out at you, and the single, 'Woman is the Nigger of the World' remains on of his better collaborations with Phil Spector.
I would suggest that anyone interested in learning about Lennon's music pick up this CD. It is side of John Lennon that was just as interesting as his confessional side, and in hindsight, not so very much removed.
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on 28 November 2013
bit too much of Yoko's Plastic Ono Band on for my taste but it does grow on you if you give it a chance
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