November 15th, 2009 | Album reviews


Listen: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band – “Waiting for the D Train”


(from Between My Head and the Sky on Chimera Records)
Yoko Ono’s new album, Between My Head and the Sky, is better than any post-Beatles album by McCartney, Harrison or Starr.  Yeah, I said it.  While the former two were baby boomer marshmallows and the latter was a novelty act, Ono has pushed the boundaries of dance music for three decades running.  And now she’s put out one of the best electronic albums of the year, with music sweatier than fucking in a steam room and lyrics loonier than a three-year-old on a sugar high, like walking through Skid Row and hearing a homeless person mutter something absolutely brilliant that you’d never been able to articulate before.

Between My Head and the Sky balances Ono’s out-there poetry and animal cries with solid grooves, provided by a Plastic Ono Band line-up that includes her son Sean, Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda, and Cornelius, among others.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for a medicinal marijuana cookie party or for pissing off the squares next door. The songs flow from ultra-funky (“Waiting for the D Train”) to soft new age ballad (“Memory of Footsteps”) to full tilt rock-and-roll orgasm (“Calling”), while always sounding uniquely Yoko.  She still has those annoyingly infectious Ono vocal effects, the ones that sound like she’s using a plug-in vibrator in the bathtub.

In fact, Between My Head and the Sky almost sounds like a big-budget Manimal release. It has repetitions like Hecuba, world beats like Rainbow Arabia, and vocals like, well, like Yoko Ono.  It’s almost impossible to compare this album to anything but other Yoko Ono albums, because 99% of the bands out there still don’t have the balls or the chops to put out this sort of music, dance music where literal dolphin, chimpanzee, and elephant conversations are reinvented as funk.  I highly doubt you’ll hear a more captivating and original release this year.

-Scott Schultz