You can always depend on Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band to come up with an album of challenging, eclectic music. This one is pretty similar to the previous album, "Between My Head And The Sky", in that respect. Without much effort you can find New Age, dance music, rock, electronica, funk, psychedelia, industrial, ballads, cool jazz, and Yoko's special vocal techniques. Just in the first track "Moonbeams" I hear five of these categories. "N.Y. Noodle Town" features a classic rock guitar solo which illuminates this mid-tempo track. "Take Me To The Land Of Hell" and "Watching The Dawn" are dead serious ballads with beautiful minimal accompaniment by Sean Ono Lennon on piano and Erik Friedlander on cello. "Leaving Tim" has a sort of ragtime sound, reminding me of "I'm You're Angel" from "Double Fantasy".
Of course, you can also expect some interesting, off-the-wall lyrics. In "Moonbeams", the commonly accepted concepts of winter and spring are turned upside down. "In Winter", Yoko sings, "the snow protected us/Covering our pain/Now I hear ice cracking/Slowly in my brain/My heart is ruminating/your sweet words/While my hand's strangling the birds"; and she continues, "Spring is here again/Your heartbeat is calling me". Apparently the frozen isolation was preferable to whoever or whatever is coming in spring. I like the "Cheshire Cat" in track 2, although I can't say for sure whether he is benevolent or hostile. (I think he was also just as exasperating to Alice when she was trapped in Wonderland.) "Tabetai" seems to be about greed, perhaps imperialistic greed. Many tasty foods are mentioned ("Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme"), and at the end of the song Yoko says, "There's nothing to eat/Let's go to another COUNTRY." "7th Floor" alternates between curiosity ("I was standing on the 7th floor/And I saw a body on the pavement/Is that me?...It was not a body at all/It was just a shadow.") and violent reaction ("Don't cut my hands - can't strangle you/Don't cut my legs - can't walk out on you/Don't cut my tongue - can't spit on you/Don't cut me off - I'll kill you.") In "N.Y. Noodle Town", you can "watch people drink and dance/Their minds are bombed/Like their lands". Perhaps this is a reference to immigrants, or refugees? "Leaving Tim" has very amusing parting lyrics ("Let's throw that past/in the biggest trash can...Just call me in your dream/And I'll get it, I'll get it/It's hard...so hard...but ok."). And in "Shine, Shine", the townspeople and The President come to view "the house that is reaching out all the way to the sea". Soldier Woody, "smiling for the first time since he came back" arrives too. Yoko's companion turns invisible, a minor glitch. The main idea seems to be that everyone and everything must "shine".
I always welcome a new album from Yoko. I am very happy that she and her colleagues continue to create this unusual, thought-provoking material for serious music lovers to experience, enjoy, and ponder.