John Lennon
Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions


1.0
awful

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (89 Reviews)
August 15th, 2015 | 39 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yeah, it's that unfinished.

Everyone knows the story. By late 1968, John Lennon was just about over his life as a Beatle. As he indulged himself more and more in LSD, his drug use and personal life became much publicized. During that period his marriage hit rock bottom, and he started a relationship alongside Yoko Ono, an avant-garde artist from Japan. During '68 and '69, they recorded the highly controversial "trilogy" of experimental albums, comprised of Unfinished Music (Volumes 1 and 2), one of which became more notorious for the cover than the music itself, and an equally provocative and baffling Wedding Album. In many ways, Lennon and Ono's second output of the trilogy, Unfinished Music No.2 is a reflex of the artists' lives during the time of the recording. It's echoed by drugs, crazy and limitless, but it's honestly not that great.

That's right, Unfinished Music No.2 is bad. It's the sonic representation of a man struggling to overcome a bad hangover, passing out on the floor constantly and vomiting multicolored fluids over a 24 hour loop of "Yellow Submarine". In fact, it's so bad it'd be so easy to turn the present review into a rant. However, the reviewer will try hard not to do so, and will instead present his reasons as to why the album is, in fact, rubbish. Problems regarding the album begin to creep up as soon as it starts: the entire Side 1 is made up of an overwhelmingly long piece, "Cambridge 1969". The song, which is over 26 minutes long, almost solely consists of Yoko's improvised wailing and screaming, and John's feedback in his guitar. A saxophone and percussion join in near the end, but Ono garners all the attention, much for the wrong reasons. Her wailing becomes insufferable after 5 minutes, let alone the actual duration of the piece. It's borderline self-indulgent and pretty much pointless.

After a near insufferable Side 1, "No Bed For Beatle John" opens up Side 2, evidencing a lamentable continuation of the meandering, experimental and self centered musical improvisation John and Yoko venture into on the album. In an a cappella register, which clearly isn't trying to excel technically, Ono sings about how a hospital allegedly wouldn't give Lennon a bed to accompany her during her miscarriage and EMI refusing to distribute "Unfinished Music No.1" due to the controversial cover. Unfortunately, "No Bed For Beatle John" almost comes out as a continuation of "Cambridge 1969", only much shorter and now having actual lyrics. Sadly, it's just as musically unexciting, and even slightly arrogant lyrically. As for the remainder of the album, it delivers exactly what it promises. "Baby's Heartbeat" and "Two Minutes Of Silence" have very literal titles, and "Radio Play" is precisely 13 minutes of Lennon picking up random radio stations, turning his radio on and off constantly. You guessed correctly, it's not great. Not even close.

I guess it could be commendable that John Lennon and Yoko Ono wanted to record an album that reflected how a regular day in the life they had was. To write an album that defied rules, that defied structure. To experiment in any way they found possible. To scream, wail, twist and shout just for the fun of it. But just because you're having a blast, it doesn't mean anyone else who listens to the album will feel the same. And let's face it, as far as experimental albums go, there are plenty of better ones you could find and listen to instead. It's so easy to label music a majority of people hate as art. However, some people beg to differ. Hearing Yoko Ono's pointless and annoying screaming over 23 minutes, or even Lennon going back and forth between every single radio station in the car radio for almost 15 minutes..., some people can't justify that as "art", as "genius". Make no mistake, Unfinished Music No. 2 certainly isn't genius. Bold? Maybe. Daring? For sure. But that doesn't keep it from being rubbish.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
1.5
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Since No.1 had a review, I figured No.2 was just as deserving of having one as well. Plus, I wanted to see if I could still pull off a negative review. Prepared for any criticism.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2015


5792 Comments


great review man most of Lennon's solo output is dreadful and the less spoken of Yoko Ono the better

Digging: Travis Scott - Rodeo

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Thanks man, and definitely yeah.

Supercoolguy64
August 15th 2015


5858 Comments


nice posd

Digging: Johnny Smith - Johnny Smith

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Thanks, sup bud.

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2015


8241 Comments


Great review Dan, have a pos.

In cases like this one, a very intelligent person's quote fits like a glove; "Don't Mistake Lack of Talent for Genius".

Digging: Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2015


8241 Comments


Not that John lacks talent but when one fucks up, he fucks up.

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Exactly. Thanks man :]

grannypantys
August 15th 2015


216 Comments


im sorry you had to listen to this

theBoneyKing
August 15th 2015


1126 Comments


Very good review! Just a couple minor points:

In paragraph 1, "reflex" should be "reflection".

You alternate between italicizing and quotation marking album titles, which is a bit confusing.

Digging: Death Cab for Cutie - The Photo Album

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Thanks man, will change that up. I figured I'd just italicize the album in question, to make it stand out more. It was the first time I did that, actually.

theBoneyKing
August 15th 2015


1126 Comments


If that was done intentionally you can keep it. I'm particularly weird about things like that so maybe I'm the only one that stood out to.

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Tell you what, if someone else feels the same problem I'll change it up.

altertide0
August 15th 2015


696 Comments


it looks bad. the standard seems to be italics for album titles and "" for song titles.

Digging: My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything

KrazyKris
August 15th 2015


2453 Comments


Great review. Whenever Yoko and John come up, this comes to mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03UomoaO4VQ

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Okay then, I'm changing it up and from now on I'll know.

Ahah, nice one Kris. Is that German?

YetAnotherBrick
August 15th 2015


5200 Comments


pretty good review, but i still feel like i'd like this a little bit. Radio Play actually sounds like kind of a cool experiment. and i feel like it could definitely be art; he's showing just how much space we're taking up in the waves. but perhaps it'd fit better in a mini theater in an art gallery or something, instead of on an "album."

Digging: Neoandertals - Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

To be honest, on paper Radio Play sounded interesting to me as well, but that's because I figured he'd leave it at one station for about 30 seconds and switch to another, and so on and so on. But no, he just goes back and forth non stop, on and off, on and off. That's why it's irritating to me.

YetAnotherBrick
August 15th 2015


5200 Comments


yeah i get that haha and doing it for that long does seem a teensy bit ridiculous

danielcardoso
August 15th 2015


3940 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Yeah, could've been a much more developed idea.



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