Great Rock Albums of 1981: John Lennon- Double Fantasy
Like every year so far, I begin with albums that were actually released in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the new year. In 1981 I had a good excuse. I spent the first two months of the year sailing around the Mediterranean on a ship. As it was the end of the deployment, there weren’t many port calls although there was a field operation in Tunisia. Therefore, news of new record releases were very slow in making their way to my attention.
It is only fitting that since 1980 ended with the tragic murder of John Lennon, I begin 1981 with the album he released just before his death. It has been said in secret whispers that if John hadn’t died so tragically, this album wouldn’t have had the acclaim that it received. I am not going to argue one way or the other here. It’s not the rockiest album I’ve heard, even from him and if it were up to me, all of the songs Yoko Ono sings would be removed from the album. In the same way Linda McCartney had over Paul, Yoko had a definite hold over John and that is why she appears so much on this album. The songs he does make the album for me. My favourite song has always been “Watching the Wheels” especially as I can relate it to what I was going through at the time. I would come to the halfway point of my enlistment and I was getting really fed up with the military bullshit. So, I would sing this song only changing the lyrics to “I’m just waiting for my EAS to come around.” For those wondering, EAS means expiration of active service.
Another song that really stands out for me on the album is “Clean Up Time.” This is probably the closest to a real rocker on the album. “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” is amusing and there are the two other singles, “Just Like Starting Over” and “Woman.” Both are decent songs but better to listen to when in a more mellow mood.
1. Just Like Starting Over
2. Kiss Kiss Kiss
3. Clean Up Time
4. Give Me Something
5. I’m Losing You
6. I’m Moving On
7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
8. Watching the Wheels
9. Yes I’m Your Angel
11. Beautiful Boys
12. Dear Yoko
13. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him
14. Hard Times Are Over
It has been suggested that the reason behind the mellow feel and soppy love songs that incorporate most of the “Double Fantasy” album is that John was repenting for his chauvinistic attitudes in the 1960s. Maybe so and if it is the case, then he can say he left the world paying back that debt because this album is in no way chauvinistic. It pours out his love for Yoko and his son and I don’t think anyone should begrudge him that.
Next post: The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta
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