John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (1970)
John Lennon might be the finest songwriter of the 20th Century.
This is not the album that demonstrates the full extent of his talent. An important record for him to release, but there’s very little of the magic he’s capable of generating.*
Mother displays this perhaps better than any other track. An honest lyric about his parents abandoning him, sung with terrific emotion. Musically, it’s crying out for a McCartney counter-melody on the bass (à la George Harrison’s Something). For me, that’s the pattern of the album. The soul-baring is to be applauded, but the music (even if probably contextually appropriate) is a bit too bare bones.
Also called his “Primal Scream” record, Plastic Ono Band is by no means an embarrassment, but it’s not John Lennon at the peak of his powers (although the record would curiously be ranked at #23 on Rolling Stone’s top 500 album list).
However, on his next record, he would go from reliving past trauma to dreaming about the future. He’d even go so far as to call himself a dreamer in a song that is irrefutably timeless…
*Note a not-fully magical John Lennon of course is still John Lennon.
That’s all for 2012, thanks for reading, Merry Happy to all, see you in 2013!