Sean Lennon - Into The Sun
So what should we call all this new music by these sons of famous rock stars? We've had recent offerings from Jakob Dylan, Jason Bonham, Jeff Buckley (following in dad's footsteps a little too closely), Chris Stills, Eagle-eye and Neneh Cherry, so I suppose IDB-rock would be appropriate as they have all decided to follow their illustrious parents into the family business.
Then there's Julian and Sean Lennon, or the "Johnsons" as we know them. Same legendary dad, different mom's and situations and a small amount of sibling rivalry thrown in. Julian has already released two moderately successful albums and his third and latest CD was released on exactly the same day as brother Sean's debut. Both denied any knowledge of the other's plans, yeah right!
Julian has not achieved the success he anticipated from his albums, regardless of the groundswell of sentimental support most rock fans would feel towards an album by the son of one of the most revered icons in rock history. So up steps the quiet and owlish Sean (John and Yoko's 'Beautiful Boy'), with his first collection of self-penned material dedicated to, and produced with, his live-in lover Yuka Honda from the New York pop trio Cibo Matto. The album was released on the highly creditable Grand Royal label which is controlled by those NY arbiters of cool, the Beastie Boys.
So with everything going for it, what is "Into The Sun" actually like? The initial reviews have been mixed as this album is similar in tone to the solo album by the Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. There is an all-over feeling of calm and softness throughout the album. The songs are sweet and laid-back, creating a mellow-to-twee feel that annoys at first but soon gels into a worthwhile listen, similar to Lennon Snr's 'Double Fantasy' album.
The comparisons with father John are inevitable. Sean's voice has that wistful quality that can turn harsh and cynical at the drop of a note. The opening track, 'Mystery Juice' moves from a delicate vocal to some grungy metal and then back again. The title track finds Yuko joining Sean on vocals for a light and breezy Astrid Gilberto/Stan Getz sound. 'Spaceship' is the most obviously Beatlesque track with its soft acoustic guitar and deceptive melody driven by Sean's sensitive vocals.
Ultimately, this is an album by someone for whom privacy is paramount, for obvious reasons. Like father, Sean Lennon has attempted to describe the domestic love and security he enjoys and to a large degree he has succeeded.
Songs with self-explanatory short titles like 'Home', 'Bathtub', 'Queue' and 'Breeze' illustrate this point. With enough money to explore whatever avenue of creativity he chooses, Sean Lennon has chosen to follow in his dad's huge footsteps and, stripped of the large burden of expectation that will obviously dog this album, he's done very well.
We have all spent many hours and years enjoying and remembering the wonderful work turned out by John Lennon, I therefore suggest you get into the sun (sic) immediately.
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman
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