Friday, July 06, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Double Fantasy/Milk And Honey LPs

Being a big Beatle fan, there are a lot of things I've done that the average person would never even think of doing. For example, I've sat through Magical Mystery Tour more than once...I've listened to George Harrison's Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound and I sat through the unimaginable horror of albums like Ringo's Bad Boy and the entirety of John & Yoko's Some Time In New York City (which honestly isn't that bad). However, there is one thing I will never do: listen to all of the Double Fantasy and Milk And Honey albums. With the advent of the CD, you can skip through Yoko's songs on both albums (but it makes you feel bad, considering how those who bought the LPs and cassettes didn't have this technology) so, there's no reason to torture yourself.

If you buy these albums, though, you might feel cheated. After all, Double Fantasy has seven John songs and Milk And Honey has only six. Also, collections like The John Lennon Collection, Lennon Legend and Working Class Hero have quite a few of John's tracks. [The John Lennon Collection has all but "Cleanup Time" from Double Fantasy; Lennon Legend has four DF tracks and two M&H tracks; Working Class Hero has five DF tracks and four M&H tracks]
Still, these are a must for every collection. As noted above, collections miss the great "Cleanup Time" and those still in print also miss "Dear Yoko", a nice sequel to Imagine's "Oh Yoko!", from Double Fantasy. The 2000 re-issue of DF also includes a great piano demo, "Help Me To Help Myself", which appears nowhere else. There are more Milk And Honey tracks you miss, mostly because there were only two singles ("Nobody told Me" and "Borrowed Time", both on Lennon Legend and Working Class Hero) and neither were big sellers. However nice tracks like "I Don't Wanna Face It" and "(Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess" are missing on all collections. Bonus tracks on the 2001 re-issue include the sublime single "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him", a demo of "I'm Stepping Out" and a fantastic twenty-two minute interview that turned out to be John's last.
So, the verdict is both are a must for everyone.
Compared to the last album by George, though, there really is no contest. Brainwashed is pure George all over the place, from the guitar work to the humor in the lyrics. However, you know these songs aren't pure John. The John who sings these songs is not the same one who screamed "Weeeelllllllllll!!!!!!!!!" or wrote the scathing lyrics to "Steel And Glass". This is a John that somehow allowed himself to move into the pop music stream. The closest you get to the familiar John of the past is "I'm Losing You".
John clearly never wanted this to be his last set of recordings, but maybe he was saying something. Maybe he was saying that he was ready to change, that he knew different people were listening (after all, a whole generation had practically past since the Beatles broke up).
One thing that I've never liked about what critics say about Double Fantasy/Milk And Honey is that it's "McCartney-esque". It's's "Lennon-esque" and only "Lennon-esque".

If I do ever decide to listen to the Yoko tracks, I'll get back to you...that won't be for awhile!

See you at the next review!

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