Review Summary: Solid and comprehensive insight to Lennon's solo career.
All the glories, awards and money aside, it was surely difficult to be John Lennon. He sang very freely about his demons already during The Beatles period but it wasn't interesting to the audience. Listen to "Help!" or "Don't Let Me Down" (singing about overall insecurity), "Run For Your Life" and "You Can't Do That" (about being jealous), "Julia" (about his mother and Yoko), "Dr. Robert" (about his own dealer). By the end of the 1960s he was shocking the world by "bed peace", and various statements, no matter were they his artistic or personal quotes.
All of this was evident on his work. His debut, "Plastic Ono Band" set new standard in genre called confessional singer songwriter. His songs were very confessional, sometimes unlistenable, but the best tracks are here, Mother", "Love" and "Working Class Hero". Opener form "Plastic Ono Band", "Mother" is edited, maybe it should be done the same with overlong songs "Give Peace A Chance" and "Cold Turkey". From "Imagine", his most popular work, here are presented the title track and "Jealous Guy". Lennon's famous Lost weekend (during which he made albums "Mind Games", "Walls And Bridges" and "Rock And Roll") was reduced to four songs, all of them great, avoiding plenty of debatable ones.
Listening to his compilation, it seems that the best part of his solo career was yet to come in 1980s. His songs from "Double Fantasy" and "Milk And Honey" are soaring, beautiful, as they were, he will forgive me, sent from heaven. After years of traveling here and there he finally made peace with himself, filled with positive attitude, released LP "Double Fantasy" and recorded some very good demos for "Milk And Honey". After hearing six songs from that period, "Working Class Hero" (a great song, don't let me be misunderstood) sounds like the old grumpy man complaining about the bad weather. Finally the angry, lonely boy from "Plastic Ono Band" had become the confident and mature man and gave up all the bitterness that was killing his creative juices.
Another plus is presence of plenty non album tracks: "Happy Xmas" (one of the best Christmas songs), "Instant Karma!" (energetic and maybe his the best non album track), "Power To The People", "Cold Turkey" (remember, just say NO), "Give Peace A Chance" and omitting overrated songs like "God", "How Do You Sleep"" and "Gimme Some Truth".
Needlessly to say, many times he went too far, but luckily this compilation mostly avoids his misses. Song sequencing is also good, you can't make mistake with so good tunes. Maybe "Working Class Hero" deserved better place, to be, for example, right behind "Mother" or "Instant Karma!". Perhaps a song or two is missing (for example, "Steppin' Out" or "Steel And Glass") but anyway, this is a very good overview of the arguably biggest rock legend.