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Music Review: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band – Between My Head and The Sky

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When I was eight years old I went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and I saw a huge canvas hanging on the wall painted one color, with another huge canvas hanging in front of it painted another color, and the one in front had three knife slashes through it. I'm sure that if you appreciate modern art you probably know what I'm talking about, and if that is you, you may just like Yoko Ono's latest album.

Even when I was eight, I personally thought that it was stupid, and I couldn't believe that anyone would put something like that into a museum. I don't feel quite as strongly about "Between My Head and The Sky", but it did strike a chord in me that made me remember that.

The album isn't poorly executed – it ranges from ballads to techno to bass driven tracks that remind me of the collaboration between John Paul Jones and Diamanda Galas (which I also didn't like) and does have its place. I could imagine the Plastic Ono Band playing at an experimental art opening in New York and blending right in with the new wave art on the walls. What I can't imagine is actually going to a concert just to hear this music.

I don't really enjoy writing reviews of music; that isn't my thing. I am a musician, and I love music, and I got into reviewing music so I could write great things about artists and try to help get good music out to the world. When I requested this album for review, I guess I just didn't know what I was getting into – I knew Yoko Ono's name and thought that maybe she would be doing something interesting and progressive and beautiful. What I found, instead, was an album that seemed like it was too much in the head and not enough in the heart – an artistic statement more than a body of music.

So, take this with a grain of salt – I'm not going to bother going through the song list of the information behind the creation of the album… If you are into progressive artistic statements and black tie martini parties with the intellectual elite, you may very well love what Yoko Ono is up to these days. If you are looking for an album you can listen to over an over at home or that you can crank up and really rock out to, or even that you can turn on to go to sleep to, this isn't the one.

On the other side, I do want to pay my deep respect to Yoko Ono as an artist – still going strong at 76 years old, which is no small feat and is really what the world needs today. As an artist who has sustained through so many different times, an who can still come out with a fresh perspective, you should at least give it a listen, which you can do right now on iTunes with the track "The Sun is Down" (Cornelius Remix), and if you like it the LP will be out September 22nd on Chimera Music.

About Justin Handley

  • zingzing

    sigh. don’t even get the slightest hint that you listened to this more than once, if that. it’s not a perfect album, but there are some really great moments on it. how someone can listen to “the sun is down” without comment is beyond me. or “hashire, hashire.” and if you weren’t surprised at a 76-year-old doing “waiting for the d train,” then i don’t think you made it past the first track. and the final track…

  • SeasonOfGlass

    This isn’t a review so much as a projected inferiority complex.

    So modern art goes over your head? You feel insecure around martini-drinkers? How does that relate to this album at all?

    How you can listen to the lyrics of this album and say it’s too much in the head and not enough in the heart is beyond me. Yoko is full of love for the world.

    Yoko is a wonderful artist, still gaining new fans (myself included) and creating beautiful music.

    I just hope that one day the mainstream catches up with her, and appreciates the incredible musical legacy she continues to develop