Graham Reid | | <1 min read
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.