Yoko Ono: Yes, I'm a Witch (Astral Weeks) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

 |   |  <1 min read

Yoko Ono/The Flaming Lips: Cambridge 1969/2007
Yoko Ono: Yes, I'm a Witch (Astral Weeks) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Billed as simply "Ono" this is Yoko's vocals from various albums extracted and new backings added by a cast of luminaries which includes Peaches, Le Tigre, Porcupine Tree, DJ Spooky, Cat Power, Polyphonic Spree, the Flaming Lips and many more.

Yoko's singing -- her screaming and childlike ballads -- was always controversial but to be honest I liked what she did, especially the screaming stuff.

Her albums in the early 70s were pretty patchy however: she was a feminist in hot pants, her political lyrics could be clunky and cliched, and her backings often had that kind of twee synth-rock quality which was thin at the time and hasn't worn well.

But her vocals have become more acceptable over time as our perception of singing has changed.

The artists on this album have picked picked out her most straighforward songs -- except for Flaming Lips who sampled her screamfest Cambridge 1969 and have given it a free-jazz twist -- and the results are (mostly) impressive.

Some acts (Apples in Stereo, Cat Power) find her pop ballad quality, others such as Peaches and DJ Spooky identify her brittle quality and play that up.

Okay, this may not win over as many to her side as the artists might like to think, but Yoko Ono - now in her mid 70s -  still has that capacity to amaze, annoy and alienate (often within the same song).

There is also a dance mix album coming and, oddly enough if you know her quite considerable back-catalogue, that actually makes sense too.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Whirimako Black/Richard Nunns: Te More (Rattle)

Whirimako Black/Richard Nunns: Te More (Rattle)

This gentle, hypnotic and spiritual album seems a natural consequence of all that has gone before from these two artists: Whirimako Black's moving songs in te reo (especially her exceptional Kura... > Read more

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

The previous volume in this series (see here) sold eight times platinum which proved two things: that well packaged and intelligently compiled collections of New Zealand are popular and in short... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

Twenty years after the death of its high priest, reggae still informed the vocabulary of music. Reggae had so thoroughly infiltrated pop, rock, hip hop and electronica, we hardly noticed it any... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Ethiopian Jazz (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Ethiopian Jazz (Rough Guide/Southbound)

This is certainly jazz from elsewhere. As with so many countries in the colonial period and into the early days of independence (before local bullies hijacked the government or invaders... > Read more