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Album review: Melancholy tracks fill new Yoko Ono album

arts_yokoYoko Ono turned 80 earlier this year, but she is far from retired. This week she and her Plastic Ono Band released their album, “Take Me to the Land of Hell.”

The Plastic Ono Band was started by Ono and her late husband John Lennon in 1969 and has featured a variety of guest members over the years. In 2009, Ono re-launched the band with son Sean Lennon, who does a great job filling in the instrumental talent that had been void since John Lennon’s death in 1980.

The song “N.Y. Noodle Town” is reminiscent of songs from early Plastic Ono Band material featuring Sean Lennon 4 years ago. Sean Lennon’s guitar playing in the number is so spot on, I felt like I was listening to the ghost of his father. I think the whole album is trying to get back to the feelings of the original Plastic Ono Band, and there is plenty of homage to support that. New York City has always been a theme in the band’s lyrics and an album released in 1972 titled “Some Time in New York City.”

Ono has been a dedicated widow for the last 33 years, carrying on John Lennon’s legacy in every way she sees fit. In the song “There’s No Goodbye Between Us,” Ono tells us though she has tried to say a final goodbye to her husband, she has never been able to do it. Many of the songs on the new album are slow and slightly melancholic, but Ono has always made that her best style.

The title track is hauntingly beautiful and melodic. Though many have complained about Ono’s singing voice over the years, it is hard to deny it is mesmerizing in this song, backed by an equally haunting repetitive piano chord played by Sean Lennon.

Drummer Questlove is featured on the track “7Th Floor,” and his drumming really gives the tune a fast and catchy rhythm. Lenny Kravitz also drums on the song “Cheshire Cat Cry.” Featuring these contemporary musicians and others gives the Plastic Ono Band a nice jolt into modern music styles while maintaining the its unique sound. I think most people who enjoyed the band’s early material will find joy in listening to the newest one. Even better, all the tracks are available for free on the band’s website.

Grade: A-


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