Monday, September 10, 2007
Yoko Ono - Yes, I'm A Witch
Yoko Ono feat. Peaches, "Kiss Kiss Kiss" (YSI link)
Yoko Ono with Le Tigre, "Sisters O Sisters" (YSI link)
Yoko Ono feat. The Flaming Lips, "Cambridge 1969/2007" (YSI link)
There's no better artist to celebrate as we look at the great music women have made this year than Yoko Ono. Possibly the most vilified human on the planet for years, she has remained resolute in the face of sexism and misogyny, doing her own thing and apologizing to no one. It's actually amazing to look at her biography and realize how prolific she has been as an artist, an early member of the Fluxus movement, collaborations with John Cage, Ornette Coleman and La Monte Young among others, her political activism. Her musical output has never gotten the appreciation it deserves, experimental music that has always stood a few steps ahead of the mainstream.
This album, Yes, I'm A Witch, isn't really a Yoko Ono album per se. Basically, she invited an assorted group of artists from the indie side of things to rework one of her songs, so she hasn't contributed anything new. It's definitely a gimmick, a chance to get Ono's music out to the public attached to popular names like The Flaming Lips and Cat Power. I've got no problem with that, as she's been criminally underrated over the past few decades and anything that might get more people to check out her earlier CDs is a good idea. It's a slightly uneven album, although there's way more highlights than I expected; these things usually are awful, making this a nice surprise. I've chosen some of my favorites. Peaches chose well with "Kiss Kiss Kiss," which features a restrained electro sound (for Ms. Peaches) and the unforgettable vocals of Ono, including the orgasmic screams toward the end. It's a great fit, imo. The Flaming Lips come up with one of the best things I've heard from them recently, turning "Cambridge 1969/2007" into something that straddles the line between rock and the avant garde. I especially love the clarinet (?) sounds that give this version just the right amount of weirdness. Right now, I'm feeling the Le Tigre track most of all. They've taken the feminist anthem, "Sisters O Sisters," and given it a dance-y electro sound without losing any of the militancy and feminist anthem status. So good to hear from Kathleen Hanna and co., again another great fit, nice to see
I'd recommend checking the album, as there's at least 5 tracks that really caught my ear. Grab a copy here, as it's a good way of getting into the music of Ono. Her earliest stuff is much more experimental than anything you hear here, we'll try to give you a taste of that.