John Lennon
Unfinished Music No1: Two Virgins


4.5
superb

Review

by rebel86 USER (11 Reviews)
July 17th, 2010 | 43 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Brilliant, innovative, wild, weird, and bold. Yoko and John redefine musical art with their debut.

In November 1968, the same month that the Beatles released its self-titled “White Album,” John Lennon and Yoko Ono released Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, their first album together which contained two extended experimental avant garde songs. The album was a great shock to Beatles fans for two main reasons: The material was extremely unconventional, almost unlistenable for most people, and the album cover featured Lennon and Ono completely naked. Distributors were so outraged that they refused to sell the album unless it was covered with a brown paper wrapper.

The two songs that appear on the original LP are probably more shocking than the cover art. The album is in the same vein as the “Revolution 9” track that appeared on “The White Album,” (also a Lennon/Ono collaboration). The recordings consist of tape loops, random adlib dialogue, delays, distortions, and strange crooning.

“Two Virgins Side One” starts with what sounds like bird whistling and random distorted noises and builds up to unstructured playing of various instruments, archive music samples, and Yoko singing oddly in the background. Towards the end Lennon and Ono play back and forth in improv caricature husband and wife roles, with John sounding like a Honeymooner parody and Yoko sounding like a submissive child on LSD.

“Two Virgins Side Two,” which is also a little over 14 minutes, primarily consist of Yoko’s strange, psychotic, and almost annoying crooning. Nine minutes and fifty seconds into the song Yoko seems to imitate the bird chirps and whistles heard in “Side One,” but in a much more deranged way. John continues to play around with instruments, distortions, and samples in the background as Yoko’s croons take the lead.

On the remastered re-release that was issued out in 1997, a bonus track, “Remember Love,” is included. It initially appeared as a B-side to the “Give Peace A Chance” single, released in 1969. In sharp contrast to the first two tracks, “Remember Love” is a quiet tender acoustic song with Yoko Ono on lead vocals.

The 1960s was all about breaking down conventions. Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins is strange, off-beat, and incoherent. But all of those adjectives greatly underestimate what this album truly is: Revolutionary. Lennon and Ono presented pure art on a commercial platform to common people that loved John for hits like “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” There really haven’t been a commercial artist before or after Lennon that have reached that level of success and had the nerve, audacity, and courage to release something so innovative and fascinating. People may hate this album, but avant garde art isn’t meant to be loved and accepted by everyone. Its persistent marginalization is what keeps it fresh, edgy, and always a step ahead of everyone else.



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user ratings (105)
Chart.
1.4
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
WhiteNoise
July 17th 2010


3621 Comments


Sounds terrible. Awesome review though, I'm a huge Beatles fan and have actually never heard of this.

Iai
Emeritus
July 17th 2010


3553 Comments


Brave review, I like it. Especially for a first.

As for the album, it's far better than any of John's solo albums. Yoko's done better, though.

Aids
July 17th 2010


24456 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Wow, someone likes this? I have this on vinyl which is cool but the music is kinda shitty.

exitsense
July 17th 2010


403 Comments


nick butler really loathes john lennon's solo albums apparently o.o

WhiteNoise
July 18th 2010


3621 Comments


"it's far better than any of John's solo albums"

Somehow I highly doubt this is better than Imagine...

InvertTheInverted
May 27th 2012


614 Comments


This is actually pretty good. I think it's an essential avant garde album.

MyRubberSoulAlt
March 2nd 2014


243 Comments


John Lennon had a chode lol

facupm
May 12th 2014


11329 Comments


if i remember correctly, this sucks hard

Salvidian
May 12th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Just realize they were naked. After all these years...



And yeah the 1.5 average is insanely accurate.

deadrisingx1
May 16th 2014


80 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Just wanted to see for myself what this album was like.

This isn't music. This is torture.

ArsMoriendi
May 16th 2014


24147 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Dude this is the worst in a trilogy of terrible albums. The Wedding Album is at least funny, still a 1.5 though.

Digging: The Jesus Lizard - Liar

facupm
May 16th 2014


11329 Comments


john wasnt on is finest hour

facupm
May 17th 2014


11329 Comments


weird time

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2014


24645 Comments


great time

Green Baron
May 24th 2014


24335 Comments


was this that unfinished

someguest
August 4th 2014


29865 Comments


album is a hair on your nachos bellgrande

ArsMoriendi
September 23rd 2015


24147 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

A good review with a high rating for this? I'm surprised honestly.

smaugman
January 5th 2016


4822 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

worst crap ever

Tunaboy45
February 27th 2016


16587 Comments


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-35677094

ArsMoriendi
February 27th 2016


24147 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

So she had a mild flu? Is that even news?



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