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Author Topic: Microscope: Sometime In New York City  (Read 3364 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« on: March 15, 2013, 07:57:55 AM »

Listening to it now and will write my review later. It's not as bad as I remember, actually I'm quite enjoying it. Maybe it helps that I'm not a native speaker: the lyrics don't have such a great impact on me.
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Kevin

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York Cityl
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 04:52:47 PM »

Oh praise the lord.I just love the backstory to this - such beautiful symmetry. (sp)
Lennon quits UK and heads to NYC. The Brits, he reckons, don't understand him and Yoko. But New York will be different. They are ready for this new John, the supposed radical,spokesman for the oppressed. Goodbye intolerant, conservative, prejudiced Brits.
STINYC was to be his master work, his big smack in the face hello to America. And Lord, the mother tanked. For an ex Beatle in 1972, when even Ringo could expect to go top 10, to only chart at 48 was an unmitigated disaster. Turns out America didn't want this new fist-in-the-air muso/politician. They wanted the dream weaver, they wanted Imagine and A Day in The Life, not Woman Is The black person Of The World.
Lennon's already fragile self confidence seems to completely shatter. Rather than change the world he goes on a massive bender. fair enough.
And a year later he slips back with Imagine2, complete with face in the cloud type cover and songs about dreams and mind games (or imagine-lite if you want to be unkind).
Lennon had spent the previous 2 years telling the world he was a genius, and in the most public and vile means possible had been trashing and humiliating his former friends and colleagues who helped him achieve his massive fame and fortune. kharma wasn't instant, but it was just.
I quite like the album by the way (as did the Brits, sending it nearly top 10). The music is strong, and I've never found lyrics that crucial to a great song. I think he sounds much better with a "real" band behind him, rather than a collection of studio hotshots. A good album, and like all good albums, of it's time.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 07:41:02 PM by Kevin »
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 09:26:50 AM »

Sorry it got delayed. I've been extremely busy in the last few weeks. There is light at the end of the tunnel tho. Around the end of forthcoming week should give some spare time.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 10:12:35 AM »

Hey Cor, dont forget about the microscopes. Being married and kids and all that jive isnt an excuse.  ha2ha

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 08:32:13 AM »

Hey Cor, dont forget about the microscopes. Being married and kids and all that jive isnt an excuse.  ha2ha

I know. I've had surgery on the knee and been extremely busy at the same time. But time is on my side now and I promise I will catch up. Especially since I learned that Ollie isn't interested in these microscopes any longer.
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Yeshelloitsmehereagain

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 11:55:14 PM »

By the looks of things, I'm not the only one...

I pick and choose my Microscopes, I don't really do ones for the albums I dislike, except perhaps BTTE which is an irredeemable crock but I promised that one to Homer.

I didn't do the 60's because I wasn't online for a while, maybe I did the first two or three singles. You don't want me to go back and write up some waffle on them do you? I will read them back whilst listening to the albums in the future, maybe then I'll add my thoughts in response to the rest of the contributions.

As for the album in question, I think the live stuff is better than most of the studio stuff.

Don't let your wobbly knee get in the way of your listening pleasure.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 01:05:58 AM by Yeshelloitsmehereagain »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 12:22:17 AM »

I'm going to liven things up around here and p*ss Nimrod off again with a lousy review.  ha2ha

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 01:06:16 PM »



SOME TIME IN NEW YORK CITY

01 Woman Is The black person Of The World
Being not a native speaker, the lyrics are usually not the first thing I pick up when listening to a song. Having said that, I must say I really like WITNOTW, except for the annoying saxophone that already starts the song and therefore the album. Listening to it over and over again in the last few weeks, some more things occured to be a little overdone. Are there two solo guitars battling with the saxophone in the first chorus, behind John’s singing? The bassline and the rhythmguitar make the song in my humble opinion. John’s voice is in a great condition and he really sings as he means it. ;D  A pity the solo at 1.32 is being done by the sax. And there’s a piano in the background as well. It’s a bit overwhelming, something Phil Spector would do. The middle eight starting at 2.00 is a strong musical statement. I like the guitar solo starting at 2.51 much better. A shame the sax is still there as well.
All in all, it’s a great tune to sing along with. A pity that personally, it’s not a set of lyrics that I, living in 2013, would agree with enough to sing it out loud.

02 Sisters Oh Sisters
And here’s Yoko. Starting with a stupid remark and a series of false notes after John starts off. The band starts with a wall of sound and Yoko’s voice just doesn’t match up. At 0.23 the song ‘develops’ into a reggae rockabilly kind of thing. A resemblance at 0.58. This is a melody I have heard before. But what is it? The band doesn’t sound very tight and although Yoko’s voice is better than in the years before, it is still not very pleasant to listen to her. Some false notes at 3.17 once again. As usual with song sung by Yoko, it’s a bit too long to my liking. It’s all over at 3.49. Thank you.

03 Attica State
A firm rocker that John handles without any problems. Yoko is a bit behind all the time, her timing is certainly not as spot on as Johns. The song structure is fairly simple –verse and chorus- all the time and the makes the song drag on. Not much happening.

04 Born In A Prison
Here’s the WITNOTW-sax again. Yoko handles the lead vocals on this song and it doesn’t make it better. John takes the backing vocals in the chorus. As on the previous song, their timing differs too much to comfort. Plus the lyrics - Mirror becomes a razor when it’s broken- are not written to be easily sung. Played as a ballad, but it is a pretty tough listen.

05 New York City
This is more like it. Just John and the band rocking like the good old times. A pure rock-n-roll song and John sure knows how to handle that. Nice guitar solo starting at 1.30. You can feel the band having a good time. Where’s Yoko? I wish she had taken the sax with her. Good piano solo as well by the way.

06 Sunday Bloody Sunday
Interesting start with the drum rolls. The sax is becoming really annoying right now, it’s just too much. Yoko’s part is singing in the ‘choir’ of the chorus and it’s just alright as far as I’m concerned. Not much happening further on as a matter of fact. Oh, there’s the fade out and fade in again at 4.31. Yoko is acting like a lunatic in the last 30 seconds of the song.

07 The Luck Of The Irish
Yawn. This is even worse than Mull Of Kintyre. The flute in the background of the verse sung by Yoko is awful. A skip, what a terrible song.

08 John Sinclair
This is much better. A strong musical and lyrical statement. Gottagottagottagottagotta… Nice touch, a good song, well played and sung. I like the slide (dobro?) guitar, it gives the song a good feel. Best (or maybe with WITNOTW the only good) song on the album.

09 Angela
Another John and Yoko-duet. They attempt to sound like Frank and Nancy in a ballad-like style, but the lyrics doesn’t match with the music at all. Things speed up a little at 1.03. Yoko sounds like a child. Terrible song, heartbreaking terrible.

10 We’re All Water
A Yoko-composition. Starts like a rock-jam. Yoko on lead vocals. The singing in the verses is just alright, but the choruses are simply awful. False notes, bad timing. Then there’s the hysterical thing again at 1.41. Knowing that the song is over 7 minutes long, I decided to skip to the next song.

11 Cold Turkey
Another live version of Cold Turkey. Was there really nothing else to put on the record. I guess not. This is from December 1969 at the Lyceum Ballroom in London. Tuning and microphone feedback at the start. Cold Turkey is a good song in itself, this live version is over the top. Clocking over 8 minutes, one can imagine what the last 4 or 5 minutes sound like. John acting the cold turkey indeed.

12 Don’t Worry Kyoko
A jam and Yoko screaming and howling. That’s it. Don’t bother to listen.

13 Well (Baby Please Don’t Go)
The last four songs were recorded live at the Fillmore East in New York City with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention on 6 June 1971. Musically alright –a great guitar solo for instance-, but there’s Yoko once again. Ruining the complete recording. Didn’t anybody ever tell her that the thing she does is just simply awful? A good tune, well played, a pity Yoko’s audible.

14 Jamrag
A good jam. A terrible Yoko. Not worth to remember.

15 Scumbag
Some musicians, those Mothers of Invention. They sure know how to set up a good tune. This piece of music shows that. John just sings ‘Scumbag’ over and over and over again. That’s all.

16 Au
Scumbag goes right into Au. I believe John’s co-operation with Zappa and the Mothers could have developed into something interesting, as one can hear this is a tight and experimental band that suits John. This last track is forgettable for the Yoko-reason, but interesting in a John-Zappa/Mothers point of view.

All in all
Johns political album didn’t set off like he expected to. At the first few listens I liked the album enough, but on the longer term there is hardly anything strong enough to stand the test of time. John Sinclair is a good tune, WITNOTW is alright and so is New York City. The rest is forgettable, mainly due to Yoko’s terrible contributions.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 01:10:53 PM by Bobber »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 02:09:27 PM »

Hot damn. I'll be listening to this one soon. Cool beans Cor.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 02:26:57 PM »

I suspected this wasn't a popular album.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2013, 08:08:09 PM »

I suspected this wasn't a popular album.


It's hard for me to reconcile this transition...


The Beatles - If I Fell (HQ)



Scumbag - John Lennon & Yoko Ono (Remastered 2010)
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Snoopy66

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 07:04:04 PM »

Yeah, the transition is somewhat surprising ;D

Though I'm not fan of live albums in general, I think it could have been a much better one without Yoko's terrible screaming.

The only songs I can listen to, are "WITOW", "New York City" and "The Luck of the Irish". I don't like "John Sinclair", which I just find too nervous for my taste.

All in all, I consider "Sometime in New York City" more as a political statement (which may have been interesting in the period it was recorded), than a musical milestone in John's solo-career.

Snoopy
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 09:47:34 AM »

It's hard for me to reconcile this transition...


Love does have some strange side-effects.
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 10:00:37 AM »

The only Lennon studio album that I don't own. Never liked what I heard (Woman is the black person of the World and some Yoko song, I think), and even though I know I should get it sometime, it's not exactly high on my priorities list. Anyway, nice review, Bobber.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 06:03:25 PM »

All in all, I consider "Sometime in New York City" more as a political statement (which may have been interesting in the period it was recorded), than a musical milestone in John's solo-career.


John Lennon immersed himself in political activism from 1969 until 1973 or so.  It began with his returning his MBE in protest of Great Britain's support of the War and the Bed-Ins For Peace in 1969.  When he arrived in New York City in 1971 he found himself at the center of it all.  His addictive nature led to his involvement with contemporary protests like women's liberation, Attica, marijuana possession laws and the United States government's treatment of The Black Panther Party.

Remember this?

Hippie From New York City (David Peel and The Lower East Side)

The David Frost Show    16 December 1971


Sometime In New York City did make a bold statement in 1971.  John Sinclair, Angela Davis, Attica State Prison, and the Women's Liberation Movement where memorialized in this album.  I wish Yoko had less on this album than she did.




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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 06:12:40 PM »

Love does have some strange side-effects.


It certainly does...











Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?


The Wild One - What are you rebelling against? ('53)




 ;)





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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 09:07:56 PM »

John Lennon immersed himself in political activism from 1969 until 1973 or so.  It began with his returning his MBE in protest of Great Britain's support of the War and the Bed-Ins For Peace in 1969.  When he arrived in New York City in 1971 he found himself at the center of it all.  His addictive nature led to his involvement with contemporary protests like women's liberation, Attica, marijuana possession laws and the United States government's treatment of The Black Panther Party.

I am listening to Mind Games at the moment and one can hear that John was tired of it all, most probably especially by the CIA tapping his phone and all.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 10:40:01 PM »

I am listening to Mind Games at the moment and one can hear that John was tired of it all, most probably especially by the CIA tapping his phone and all.

And then he, unfortunately, relapsed back to a prior addiction Cor.  If only the medications we have today were around forty years ago, things would have been so much different.

I never bought this album, but heard it many times on WBAI Pacifica Radio, a listener supported New York City FM radio station, which played it often in its entirety.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 10:51:25 PM »

I'm going to liven things up around here and p*ss Nimrod off again with a lousy review.  ha2ha

:D

Its good to say Im 8 months post surgery now Todd and not grumpy anymore ;)

like a lot of the Beatle solo stuff patchy/lousy album anyway imo, I didnt like this period of Johns political activity.....a couple of good tunes at best (thats my review :D)
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Sometime In New York City
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 09:55:26 AM »

I was just messing with you Kev and we're all glad your back to full health. I seriously dont know how this review will play out since I havent listened to this album in years. I'm just happy we're back on track and some good conversation might come out of it.
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