Friday, May 22, 2009

John Lennon 11: Milk And Honey

As far back as the autumn of 1980, upon the release of Double Fantasy, we heard that there would shortly be another album from John and Yoko, to be called Milk And Honey. Was this it? We’ll never know. Still, it’s intriguing to see that the songs John left off of Double Fantasy weren’t any worse than the ones he did choose.
With the fun kablam of “I’m Stepping Out”, you’re nodding your head and enjoying the ride. This is slowed down by Yoko’s herky-jerky “Sleepless Night”, as the album is also sequenced with the call-and-response that defined its predecessor. The lackluster “I Don’t Wanna Face It” is another hint that perhaps househusbandry wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and “Don’t Be Scared” does little to diffuse that. But man, “Nobody Told Me” was great on the radio, and still cool today. (We heard “there’s nappies in the bathroom” instead of the British pronunciation of “Nazis”, which still makes more sense.) “O’ Sanity” is inoffensive, and luckily stops short.
“Borrowed Time” was the third single, and the one everybody pounced on as “prophetic”. (John sure liked reggae, even if he couldn’t play it.) “Your Hands” is a Japanese lesson, and we’re still not sure whose hands Yoko’s singing about. John comes crawling back with the hideous “Forgive Me (My Little Flower Princess)”, which does nothing to erase any stereotypes. “Let Me Count The Ways” may or may not have been written in 1980; nonetheless “Grow Old With Me” is very much the wedding song John wanted it to be. Since he didn’t have the chance to record it all big and lush like he heard it in his head, this voice-piano-and-rhythm-box demo will have to do. The spooky “You’re The One” ends the album with a mournful sigh for what might have been.
While it’s nice to have these John songs, they work much better on their own rather than interrupted by Yoko. There is still some question whether Milk And Honey would have been released in this form had he lived; additionally, were Yoko’s songs also left over from 1980 or added on to make this as close to Double Fantasy as possible? Either way, this was the first tantalizing peek into the vaults, which would continue in spurts from time to time and illuminate much better material. (The 2002 CD reissue included an increasingly common mix of Yoko’s “Every Man Has A Woman” with John’s harmony brought to the front, along with home demos of “I’m Stepping Out”, “I’m Moving On” and several minutes from a December 8th interview.)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono Milk And Honey (1984)—3
2002 reissue: same as 1984, plus 4 extra tracks

No comments:

Post a Comment