Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2016-11-11

When the Plastic Ono Band records (simultaneously released as both John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band) were first dropped, a line was drawn in the proverbial sand and sides were immediately taken.  While both releases were garnered from the same sessions and utilized the same pool of musicians, Lennon’s release went on to become an instant classic, while Ono’s drew immediate ire from fans that were still sore with her for her perceived/supposed role in the recent break-up of the Beatles.

With strikingly similar album covers adorning these otherwise musically disparate companion records, duped fans have been complaining about accidentally purchasing the ‘wrong’ album for decades…(in my former life as a record-store clerk I always made sure to ask ‘are you sure?’ to any potential buyer).  But time does funny things to perspective and opinion, and now that it’s been nearly half a century since the initial release (December 1970), Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band is no longer tethered to the sour-grape-lense that many fans initially experienced the album through.

An obvious exercise in avant-garde expression, the album has garnered a bit of a cult following over the years, routinely name-checked as a purveyor of just about everything from new-wave to punk.  Plastic Ono Band is made up of a half dozen (more or less) jams recorded one afternoon (in the midst of John’s record) upon which Ono screams, wails, coos and hums to her heart’s content.  While there is ample fodder here for detractors to pick apart, the brazenly bold creative decisions on the part of Ono and Lennon simply cannot be overlooked.  

Depending on where you stand, the album is either a sonically free-spirited work of art or a shrill, rambling mess of a record, but the bottom line is that this was exactly what these two musicians wanted to be doing, an applause-worthy course considering the already looming shadow of the Beatles juggernaut under which they worked.  

While the reissue (part of a series via the Secretly Canadian label) features an obligatory remaster as well as a handful of bonus tracks, the real story here is that this will mark the first time this album has been available for download, thus exposing a whole new generation to this often underappreciated chapter of history.

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