Much has been said about Yoko Ono, her music, her art, and her relationships. There is plenty of recorded history, stories and legends around these topics readily available to the interested. Let’s leave almost all that behind. Listen to these songs all together now. Let specific lines and notes jump out while allowing yourself to wander off in thought like a dirty French novel. She chooses to express her voice with Rock & Roll which is historically a male voice focused on his “things.” The songs are melodic, catchy, and accessible on these records, nothing deviates into the abstract or absurd. There are many words and phrases of beauty and truth that one should hear, not read about. It has taken so long to hear this person free of all that pinned her down and judged her. It makes one wonder what else we are missing women say when their relationships cloud our view.
For me, this is a woman exploring the joy and trauma of love, existence, being with a man, and her voice within the universe. The emotions are just as base, raw, and conflicted as any masculine rocker but she asks you to contemplate, think, stare, hold a snowflake. She speaks of the sorrow and loneliness that settles into a soul after protest making the anger feel flawed yet delicate. She looks to society and politics creating this grotesque patriarchy and inspires change while embracing the futility and frustration of that action. She demands equal blood and sacrifice from her partner but also beseeches her sisters to forgive him and let him rest. There are moments of absurd giddy fun, anger, crying, exhaustion, and existential malaise just like a protest march. The protest is angry and vengeful and extends out from her personal problems to the world and eventually the universe. The difference is that she as a woman offers a profound poetic forgiveness for all things simultaneously including herself and the listener. The total journey and message inspires me (especially as a man) to be a better and more aware person, partner, and punk.
Here is a link to the whole record. My favorite song from it: