Friday, February 5, 2010

John Lennon - (Just Like) Starting Over

(Geffen, 1980)

Five years later, the comeback single. For better or worse – musically speaking, that is – Lennon’s a bit of a happy sappy pappy at this point, and he hammers that home by opening “(Just Like) Starting Over” with a gentle windchime reworking of the ominous bell-tolls that announced “Mother.” The song is perky, 1950s-informed luv-fluff written by and for the middle-aged, and it would not be at all out of place soundtracking an erectile disfunction ad. It’s generally inoffensive, though, and one would be churlish to begrudge Lennon his dull domestic satisfaction after years of unpredictable nuttiness. Thing’s catchy, too, and you can’t fight city hall on shit like that, right? A semi-interesting point to make: The puke-slick production is very ELO-like (check out those backing vocals), with the reverbed outer-space ending sounding especially similar to the Lynne-produced Beatle version of “Real Love” from the 1990s. Huh!

Yoko’s back on the B for the first time since “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” and she once again shows herself to be the more progressive half of the couple, turning out a nervous, jagged pop song that straddles NYC new- and no-wave quite nicely. “Kiss Kiss Kiss” may not be as far out as some of her work from the early ’70s, but it certainly shows that she was keenly aware of what was going on around her musically at the turn of the decade – something with which the developmentally-retarded John proudly admitted as far back as 1970 he couldn’t be bothered.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

ok, ok, sure Yoko was more tuned-in, and more edgy and whatever your term of approbration is, but John had the radio hit, which is all he was aiming for, apparently. And, zap!, he did that thing. Fact that it's ersatz ELO is, like, what was on the radio -- viz. ELO with Olivia Neutron-Bomb in 1980, and everyone gearing up for endless ear-cotton-candy such as would be delivered by Phil Collins and his ilk.

the erectile dysfunction ad idea is a hoot -- and seems like a perfect match.