Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Julian Lennon - Everything Changes

Me and Jules go way back - all the way back to 1986 when I bumrushed him at the Muny Opera in St. Louis before his show in support of his second album, 'The Secret Value Of Daydreaming" (which has the dubious distinction of becoming the first cutout CD ever!). He signed (since sold!), posed (no chance I'll sell that!), and spent a minute talking to us despite the cold shoulder from his security detail. At that time he was still fairly new to the music scene, had his share of screaming girls to contend with, and had a few more years of musicmaking before he was chewed up and spit out by the relentless machine that either makes you or breaks you in the music business.

I imagine he was gifted to be the Lennon progeny, and all the perks that came with that lot in life served to give him a leg up in the album sales stakes. He put out a remarkable debut effort, produced by Phil Ramone (no, not the elder Ramone brother!) and even that couldn't save him from sophomore jinx as regards "Secret". I happened to love the album (I was, admittedly, still under the spell of his first release), and followed him as he made records through 1988 or so. He took a break (good thing; metal was making a resurgence and metal Jules ain't) well into the 90's, put out a great comeback album (Photograph Smile) that totally redeemed him in the eyes of the critics, and off and running was he once again.

Flash forward to 2011, Julian was sitting around, messing about with musical ideas, and after 30 or so came along, he mentions that that was the time to call some friends to begin the arduous process of creating this new work. He regards it as more "free-flowing, my favorite so far", and admits, "Obviously, if you sit down and play around for a bit, you’re going to come up with ideas. One thing led to another and pretty soon I had about 30 ideas, so I invited some friends to come over and flesh them out into songs."

To these ears it sounds very contemporary, new-agey almost, and very sophisticated, even for Julian friggin' Lennon (who I love and respect a great deal as a singer/songwriter in his own 'write')...He mixes ballad and abstract lyrics easily and the textures he weaves are so beautiful and complicated at times. He lives up to the promise of being a Lennon so completely that it's seamless how he melds songs and sounds into cohesive units of enjoyment, with love and good at the thematic heart of his work. I'm always looking forward to his latest work and I'm never dissappointed. His work is constantly amazing. It was definitely in the genes with Julian and his famous father.

Tomorow we review yet another gem in the realm of music/audio, so keep your tubes hot and your antenna up. See you then!

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