JOHN LENNON often said, during the 1970s, that his most popular records were sugar-pill coated versions of his most uncompromising work. If the utterance remains, 1973’s Mind Games surely belongs there. The title track is a huge excuse for his laurels – comforting melodies and quirky lyrics. Surrender to contradictions. Keep on playing these mind games together. Acquiesce to this LENNON (arte)fact, simply churned out. So… You gotta let it go.
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Tight A$ got LENNON no-nonsense coming. Whose? Tight as you can make. Slow, high enough. Fluid rockabilly down the drain, preceding 1975’s Rock N’Roll and trending 1970’s One After 909 out of his way. Uptight, you can’t stand the heat. Forget about humanitarianism. Get it up, do your stuff. Alright!
Convoluted confessional Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) unassumingly addresses LENNON’s emotional attachment to Yoko the One. Underpinning irony from the Jealous Guy who then disbelieved everything but Ono – he plays on stereotypes of Ying and Yang and with Aisumasen’s own ambivalence in Japanese (are we still in love? – I still love you). Over what sounds GARY MOORE’s on steel pedal Country pathos, Lennon pours happiness in dependence – all I had to do was call our name. By the end of the song Yoko becomes common sense, a shadow of a mantra – all but a recurring dwelling, instead of a politically relevant subject.
One Day (at a Time) fuses both sides of LENNON’s contradictory emotional take on Yoko – you are my weakness, you are my strength. In due sugar-coated pill and boasting a Give Peace a Chance-one-man-overdubbed chorus, Lennon acknowledges that bipolarity towards Yoko made sense within his own self only – nothing I have in the world makes better sense. In this sense, One Day (at a Time) becomes a monumental display of condescending egotism. The loose backing vocals quite never disguise the leeching impact, which JOHN’s increasingly whimsical voice does his best to turn holistic, reconciling his appealing dependence with overriding solipsism.
In Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People), over the hill to Caribbean folk song, LENNON tries his BOB MARLEY, pounding heavy on Satan for his sins. Caught with your hands on the till, freeda people, you have to swallow your pill. Ebullient like few LENNON numbers from the period, despite being much, much more interesting than his pal’s Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da, Mr. LENNON you think you are cool...The song is just OK.
A 3-second silent interlude is named Nutopican International Anthem. Anthems are songs of sovereignty, underneath layers of violence. LENNON alternatively scorched and caressed utopia during late 1960s-early 1970s. Nutopican as a parody of Nuyorican brings to mind Somewhere in New York City, LENNON ill-fated, misunderstood 1972 record. Since the 1960s International played a relevant role in Psychedelic imagination (LENNON attended the release of tabloid International Times, PINK FLOYD’s memorable debut). Plenty of context for a 3-second silent text. LENNON had his 1972 Nuyorican record silenced. Time elapsed briefly between 1972 and 1973’s Mind Games. The dream was over by 1970’s God. Imagine all the people living life in Peace, replied 1971’s Imagine. LENNON supposedly had given up and then embraced back Rock N’Roll anthemic imagery. He also announced in Fool’s Day 1973 the arrival of “Nutopia”, the country of peace. Confusing it may be, it makes sense that the silence is a resounding one, all-too-brief and bearing such a name.
I try to make it better each and everyday. In a slightly MCCARTNEY moment, LENNON eludes with a gentle melody and whimsical piano – still, suspicion remains, encrypted to be alive, miscommunication, with nothing left to say. Intuition - warm chorus and a nice HARRISONian guitar make for a tentative amalgamation of some BEATLES’ characters – if we stretch the metaphor, steady bounce would belong to RINGO. Oddly prescient, not of BEATLES’ unreleased 1970s records, rather of LENNON & ONO’s Double Fantasy.
Out the Blue – life’s energy. Somehow OASIS conveyed this blissful mood in their homage I’m Outta Time, even though here JOHN sounds on his own terms, oceanic vocals split between Yoko adoration and Sexy Sadie sorrowful piano. Everyday I thank the Lord baby, for you have come to me – in adequate Blues motion, LENNON reconciles with “UFO” YOKO ex ante. Just the beginning of his soul-searching lost weekend, after all…
Millions of tears we cry can’t be denied. Even though, for JOHN as for Hannah Arendt, we don’t want to be brothers but…Only People. Ain’t nothing better to do than fly love all through. Optimistic yet militant, JOHN percolates his melody with collective souls in the back. For a while, pretentiousness is subdued to a pace akin to Lovely Rita’s.
Addressing I’ve Got A Feeling in acoustic tremolo, LENNON could have said “I Love You Paul”. Instead he said: I know what’s coming down and I know where it’s coming from. I’m sorry but I never could speak my mind. So, he says: I Know (I Know) I’m guilty. But as he puts himself in “your place as you did for me”, the song becomes “I Love You Yoko”. Lennon says: I love you more and more right now. Undermining I’ve Got a Feeling’s pretentiousness with affected straightforwardness, puzzling all the way, it remains a humble song, for whom it may be.
JOHN goes for a 3000 miles ocean trip to Japan and of course You Are Here – Yoko from the land of the (surp)rising sun. A mellow trip through barely disguised nostalgia or a failed attempt to regain the heart of his beloved one – with swooping guitars that HARRISON would sign his name under proudly, easier to digest. East is west and west is east – so let it be complete. Not even GEORGE has gone that far in his search for unison and fulfilment. Meta-Country for anyone that doubts JOHN’s heartstrings.
Just kind of give me some Rock N’Roll. Meat City, a convoluted chicken-sucking finger-licking Mod-Glam Rocker, LENNON’s attempt at no tomorrow in the city. After so many spirited and explicit tributes to YOKO, it sounds forced, irony pilling on JOHN’s bopping attempts on the way to debauched separation. I’ve gone to China to see for myself – May Pang? See ya.
File under: ambivalence
1970 THE BEATLES Let it Be
1970 PAUL MCCARTNEY McCartney
1973 PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS Band on the Run
1976 PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS at the Speed of Sound
* * * * Mind Games
* * * * Tight A$
* * * * Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)
* * * 1/2 One Day (at a Time)
* * * 1/2 Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People)
* * * 1/2 Nutopican International Anthem
* * * * 1/2 Intuition
* * * * Out the Blue
* * * 1/2 Only People
* * * 1/2 I Know (I Know)
* * * * You are Here
* * * Meat City
Great Music to Play While: Hanging With Friends