Death Cab for Cutie, David Byrne, Yo La Tengo, Japanese Breakfast, Sharon Van Etten and Flaming Lips are some of the artists featured in Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono, a tribute album “imagined and curated” by Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cute, to be released on February 18, on John Lennon’s widow’s 89th birthday.
The news of a “tribute” to the artist focused strictly on her musical production seems to be in line with a certain general “vindication” that Ono has been enjoying for a long time, and which was recently fueled by the assertion, based in part on Peter Jackson’s documentary, The Beatles Get Back, that she had little or nothing to do with the band’s separation from her husband.
Also featured on the US Girls album are Jay Som, Stephin Merritt (of Magnetic Fields), Thao, Sudan Archives, We Are King, and Amber Coffman. Three of the artists – Yo La Tengo, the Flaming Lips and Deerhoof – have collaborated with Ono in the past, and Byrne and Yo La Tengo’s version of Who Has Seen the Wind is available now.
The proposal will not only aim to recognize the trajectory of Yoko, who was born in Tokyo on February 18, 1933, but also pursues a purpose of solidarity, while part of the album proceeds will be donated to WhyHunger.
It is a non-profit organization that Ono has supported for decades in their efforts to transform the global food system by building social justice and fighting the root causes of hunger and poverty. Ono has donated millions of dollars to charitable and non-violent causes over the years.
Vanguard yes, but not so much
While Ono was already a prominent avant-garde artist long before meeting future husband John Lennon in 1966, his music, sometimes confrontational, was frequently overlooked or dismissed until years or even decades later, when her influence was evident in artists initially ranging from the B-52’s and Sonic Youth to Diamanda Galas.
An earlier tribute album, titled Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him, was released in 1984 and featured Lennon, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Rosanne Cash, and others.
Yoko Ono was already a recognized member of the artistic avant-garde when John Lennon met her. Photo AP Photo / Kiichiro Sato
“Yoko makes an art that teaches us all that peace is possible“Gibbard said, adding that the album” was born out of both love and frustration. The love part is pretty obvious; it is the seemingly bottomless well of inspiration and enjoyment that Yoko Ono’s music has provided me and I must assume that everyone else present here on this compilation. “
From the avant-garde to bubblegum pop
“The part of the frustration, on the other hand, goes back decades,” he continued, according to the publication. Variety, adding: “As a defender, the highest hurdle to solve has always been the public’s ignorance of the breadth of Yoko’s work“.
“To put it in context, he is an artist whose production went from the avant-garde range to bubblegum pop, often through a single album. For years, I argued that its composition has been criminally overlooked. He has consistently created melodies as memorable as those of the greatest pop writers. As a lyricist, he always wrote with intensity, sophistication and deep introspection. “
“Some of his best songs,” added Gibbard, always as published Variety– have been covered and compiled here by a group of musicians of all generations, for whom their work has meant so much. Is my sincere hope that a new crop of Yoko Ono fans will fall in love with her composition because, in some small part, to this record. “
Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono It will be accompanied by an exclusive podcast, hosted by Gibbard and veteran music journalist Jenny Eliscu, with discussions of Ono’s music and legacy with many of the artists featured on the album.
Reference from clarin