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.’
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.