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Author Topic: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band  (Read 7138 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« on: January 28, 2013, 09:57:05 AM »

Coming up this week. Personally I have mixed emotions about this album and I hope a lot of you have them too.
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Klang

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 10:29:08 AM »


As with 'Live Peace in Toronto' I completely bought into and loved this. Now? Um...well...it always gets down to 'poor John.' Up until 'Double Fantasy' I can't bear to listen to much - with a few bright exceptions - of any of his solo work. One big lost weekend for me.

 :-\

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Dcazz

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 04:14:47 PM »

I'm going to listen to it now. I haven't heard it in years.
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 04:37:43 PM »

Probably his best as a solo artist, but kind of overrated when talking about rock music in general. Looking forward to the review.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 04:51:37 PM »

In my opinion, the biggest artistic triumph of any solo Beatles career, though it may be true that it's usually an overrated album. I'll do my review after Bobber's.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 04:55:47 PM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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Dcazz

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 05:50:00 PM »

I just finished my listen to Plastic Ono Band and I was pleased to find I still enjoyed it. Also Know as "The Therapy Album" I find that 43 years later it's a very personal album John wrote for mostly himself, occasionally lifting his head up to include the other Beatles, Yoko, his fans and maybe the rest of the world as he see's it. I hadn't listened to this for years so when I revisited it today I felt a sense of how crushing it was for John's world to have come crashing down around him with the Beatle breakup. I think he was holding everything in for almost his whole life and his Beatle Rock Star persona might be considered his mask to the world covering up a multitude of problems. I think this album is his AA way of saying, Hello my name is John and I'm an...
As for the music I really liked the simplicity of the bands sound. The only quip I have is with Claus Voorman's occasional slip up on bass. No biggie though for a loyal freind doing his best. On Mother he writes about the seemingly underlying problem following him through his whole life to date complete with his feelings about it in order to his mother, father and then gives a generalized warning to the Children ( IMHO, where John's persona has been stuck). At the end though he still screams for his mother and father. Something he can't ever change.
On Hold on john I really liked his arrangement with his guitar and the vibrato! In the song I can imagine him curled up to just hold on. very self expanitory however the last verse is probably a reference to being free from the Beatles and not having to deal with the production stuff and opinions of others, etc... you kbnow the story.
I think I Found Out is just a scathing song about the people who always wanted something from John. Probably the political radicals that he seems to be rejecting as well (I'm a big boy and I can do it myself). A general rejection of all the next big thing mentality he basically created himself. Great driving beat with his grinding guitar work. Ilike it!
WCH even though I related when I was a teenager it might mean more to the British kids than it did to ua here in the USA. When I was listening to it I was thinking about Pink Floyd and The Wall. Good song but it doesn't ring with me in my 50's after a life of hard work. Thats how it's supposed to be.
Isolation. A nice song with tough lyrics but it is just what it is. I detect a little plead for sympathy as well. He's speaking to some one specific in the refrain. Nixon, Paul, I don't know.
Remember like Isolation is just what it says. I like to remember stuff from my youth etc.
Love is a beautiful little song that reminds me of Julia. i found myself thinking that would have been nice on the White Album instead but I like Julia too. Maybe Johns idea of love was changing as well.Also soeaks in oposits as a number of beatle songs did.
Well,well, well is a rocker that John uses his grinding guitar to good use. I feel he still has a bit of a messianic sense of himself as in the 2nd verse he wonders how we can get thing s done. Nice he cares but a bit self centered.
Look At Me is a good introspective song that looks to the future after dragging himself through and out of the past. I really like the melody and the upbeat feeling I get from him. "How do you spell relief"(?) comes to mind. This is one plausible song that could have ended the album with leaving us wondering with whats next.  One of my album favorites!
God is a tearing down of all the false gods (with One notable exception IMO) that John had accumulated over his life. He's coming clean. Now he's John! It's a place to begin. carry On!
My Mummies Dead. Still huts but it always would for anyone.
All told I enjoyed this listen very much. As an adult I can feel empathy for him as he picked up and started to move on which we all need to do in one form or another at different times in our lives. This is a noted "biggie" for the arguably the biggest rock star of all. I would say it took guts to make this album and it should be respected as a true work of musical artistry. Though John was far from being free of himself I think this album is honest and open. I would bet a beer that nobody could ever do one like that again!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 06:18:26 PM by Dcazz »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 02:50:06 AM »

I'll wait for Cor's review before I read or write anything. This one will probably see as much negativity as it does praise from me, but its been awhile.

Yeshelloitsmehereagain

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 01:57:45 PM »

I really don't have the energy for this at the moment.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 12:52:07 AM »

I really don't have the energy for this at the moment.

I hear you Ollie. I have 6 to 8 secret santa CD's I havent reviewed yet and now this is up coming. I may never find the time.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 08:03:49 PM »

Sorry guys for the delay. Some kind of flu is taking some time here.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 09:33:49 PM »

Sorry guys for the delay. Some kind of flu is taking some time here.

I know what you mean.  I had it in December.
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Yeshelloitsmehereagain

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2013, 12:34:15 PM »

It lasts about a month in total.
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Dcazz

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2013, 01:36:56 PM »

It lasts about a month in total.
I had it too. You think you feel better but then you go down again. Up- down, about a month!
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2013, 08:08:23 PM »

I had it too. You think you feel better but then you go down again. Up- down, about a month!

Thanks for cheering me up. ;)
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Dcazz

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2013, 08:20:01 PM »

Thanks for cheering me up. ;)
This too shall pass!
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 10:14:49 AM »

sh*t. I was busy typing my review when I accidently clicked it away. Grmblr! Will try again later.
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Dcazz

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 02:09:54 PM »

sh*t. I was busy typing my review when I accidently clicked it away. Grmblr! Will try again later.
We're waiting with baited breath! : )
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 03:38:19 PM »

John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band



It’s nice to hear that after four consective albums full of disaster, John can still sing actually. I’m convinced that John was inspired by his fellow-Beatle Paul McCartney, who had produced his debut album McCartney earlier that year. The feeling of ‘home made recording’ is also present on this album. So, in my opinion, they were not really that far apart.

Mother
The album start a bit dark and sinister with the bells chiming. At 0.23, John suddenly starts singing and he does so with compassion and in tune. Bravo! Ringo’s drumming and Klaus’s bass are minimal and so is John’s piano, but it all fits together nicely. Ringo does a great job at keeping track when John start the ‘Mamma don’t go’-section. Thank you Dr. Janov for supplying John with the scream therapy, but whether it was such a great idea to put this on a record... Alright, John screaming out for his mum and dad suits the song, but why it goes on for a minute and a half is a mystery to me. The point is clear. Still, a good song to start the album with.

Hold On
I have always loved this song. Once again, Ringo’s drumming and especially Klaus’ bass are superb. Love the ‘cookie’, but I guess not everybody will agree. John’s double tracked voice is out of sync here and there and it annoys me, but it adds to the feeling of a home recording. A pity the song is a bit short. I think that’s the first time I have said that of a solo recording by John Lennon.

I Found Out
A firm rocker and Ringo and Klaus go along with the idea. A song full of frustration, even towards his mum and dad. A bit strange after ‘Mother’ if you ask me: I heard something about my ma and my pa, They didn't want me so they made me a star. And a little dig towards his former mate as well. Nothing special song to me.

Working Class Hero
A skip. Bruce Beatlefan wrote a review about this song on the DM’s Beatles site: ‘It is well chronicled that the schoolboy John Lennon tanked, rebelled, and basically did what the hell he wanted to. Now that's okay, lots of folks do that, hell, I did it myself. But to come out years later and make a (minor) hit song about how poor little Johnny was so damaged by that experience is despicable. This whole era of Lennon's life (the Bagism B.S., the uninformed political posturing, even claiming to be a Messiah-like sufferer) is narcissism in the highest degree, the absolute nadir of John's life--from which he thankfully emerged in time.’ Nothing to add.

Isolation
I love this guy Bruce Beatlefan: ‘I feel two ways about this song. John's performance is superb; he effectively drives home his sense of isolation. It's easy to understand why John would feel an overwhelming isolation, given the pain of his early years and the way that his incomprehensible popularity as a Beatle would alienate him from all but his closest friends. But instead of sharing this feeling honestly (everyone raves about this album's HONESTY), he delivers a pouty spoiled-little-boy lyric like "Just a boy and a little girl, trying to change the whole wide world" followed by "everybody trying to put us down", and then the ultimate juvenility, "I don't expect you to understand". Cripes, I'm supposed to sympathise with that?’
Still, I think this is a good song musically and John’s voice is sharp as always.

Remember
Side B starts with Remember. I have never understood the rhythm in the first part of the song. It sounds as if Ringo, Klaus and John are all out of rhythm, but when John starts singing, it suddenly seems to be alright. The ‘Don’t You Worry’-part even sounds a bit like The Beatles if you ask me. Klaus’ bass and John’s piano sounds threatening together, haunting. Well done.

Love
Sung in vulnerable way, this is just a wonderful lovesong to my ears. Maybe a bit too simplistic, but on the other hand, one does not always need a lot of words to express a feeling.

Well Well Well
Ringo is drumming this well, John is playing and singing this well and well, Klaus is just doing his bass thing here. Still, this is and will remain a skip after the first listen to me. The song just goes on and on and on and leads towards nothing. We have had the screaming bit in Mother, so it just annoys the hell out of me. Rubbish.

Look At Me
OK? Yes thank you. John’s redoing Julia here. I believe this song was around in the late Beatles days (India 1968?) as well. Some trouble with the second voice at 1.02, as if he’s doubtful what to sing. Once again at 1.15, plus problems with the guitar pattern a few seconds later. It all seems to go wrong at 1.27, which takes the flow out of song for a short while. Pity. Introspective once again, but this time in a vulnerable and beautiful way. I really like this song.

God
We switch to Bruce Beatlefan for the last time: ‘Unmitigated crap from beginning to end. That dramatic stop after he sings "I don't believe in Beatles"...I guess John must have thought listeners would faint, or something.’ ha2ha   I think it’s not that bad, although it has never been a favourite. John’s making some points here, telling us what he believes in and not. Yeah, well alright. The simplicity in the use of instruments from Mother returns here, fullfilling the circle of the album in the same style. I like that. Besides that, this song does not do very much to me.

My Mummy’s Dead
Utter rubbish. Sounding like a demo recording and it probably is. Adds nothing to the album in my humble opinion. Some kind of coda, like Her Majesty, but done in a sad way. A pity to end an album like this in such a way.

All in all: it was a very good idea to give Yoko her own version of this album, complete with almost the identical front cover. The fact that Yoko’s album has been long forgotten, should have shown John that he was better off without Yoko, musically.
I have experienced this album as an intense listen. Even though I’m not a native English speaker and don’t pick up every bit of lyric immediately. But credits to John for trying to show us his inner self on this album and giving us some decent music at last.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 03:44:01 PM by Bobber »
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 04:23:20 PM »

Great review, Cor, even though I disagree with most of it. I'll post mine soon.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Plastic Ono Band
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 07:44:47 PM »

Great review, Cor, even though I disagree with most of it. I'll post mine soon.

Sure. This review was made to disagree with. I want to see some fireworks in this thread.
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