“Walking on Thin Ice” is Yoko Ono’s greatest work


I really felt that my voice was my instrument. I sort of explored this instrument. Well, my way.

Yoko Ono.

Yoko Ono’s greatest hits? I can already hear people asking, “Is there such a thing?” In 1992, Rykodisc set out to release a gigantic six-CD collection of Ono’s most extraordinary material. Ultimately, they distilled this exhaustive anthology of works into a unique 19-track CD compilation that collected some of the greatest moments of the rock eccentric’s career. Walking on Thin Ice, named after his most recognizable hit, is a perfect introduction to the genre of avant-garde pop that Ono pioneered. This argued that she was an important artist in her own right.

Let us not forget that, for many observers, Ono’s career was one of extreme dilettantism and nepotism. She’s rock’s ultimate widow, using her marriage to John Lennon to fund and sustain an indulgent, unlistenable musical career. Even today, however, Walk on thin ice proves that instead of being a rock impostor, she is a sensitive and exciting singer-songwriter who has challenged the forms and norms of pop music. She looked at the structure of a radio-ready pop song and pulled apart the sturdy armature, throwing down the standards of pop vocalization. In the process, Ono looked to pop music as a medium for experimentation in the same way she did with her visual and performance art.

Yoko Ono will never be an artist enjoying broad consensus among fans or critics. Naturally, she polarizes because of her personal life, her politics, and the handling of John Lennon’s legacy. Beyond that, however, she is divisive because much of her music seems unrecognizable to what is considered “good” or “competent” pop songwriting and pop singing.

Granted, popular music doesn’t necessarily require its singers to be spectacular singers – the genre relies on charisma, stage presence and catchy production – but pop singers should at least have pleasant voice. Controversially, Ono’s thin, slippery voice was shaky and unpredictable, seemingly unable to conform to the standards of mainstream pop singing. Although melisma and soul moans are common in popular music, Ono howled, shrieked, screamed, and created guttural sounds as part of his distinctive voice.

So, given Ono’s strong division reception, Walk on thin ice is a tough sell for many audiences. It’s not going to be a record that will bring back memories for many casual listeners, as so much of the music is niche. For his fans, it’s a fantastic encapsulation of his genius, especially if the six-CD Onobox proves too intimidating and intimidating. Close listening to the album shows Ono’s influence on a wide range of artists who followed her: Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Björk and Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52, among others. Undoubtedly, his deconstructive approach to pop can be heard in the music of these equally innovative performers.

Because Ono rarely had “hits” on the pop charts – some of his tracks ended up on the dance or rock charts, however – there is freedom to compile his work. Walk on thin ice resembles some of his musical appearances. Namely, it relates to her time as an explosive pre-punk avant-garde musician in the 1970s and her more conventional pop diva persona of the 1980s. Lennon’s tragic death can date these two musical characters . After his death, she released the deeply personal and cathartic 1981 LP, glass seasons. Then she spent the rest of the decade trying to heal herself and her fans by releasing a pair of brilliant pop albums that aimed for optimism.

During this period of her career, she became a professional celebrity. Due to this magnitude, the sound quality of Walk on thin ice can be felt everywhere. It’s not listed in chronological order, so we quickly go from the classic New York dance-rock of “Walking on Thin Ice” to the funky disco-punk of “Kiss Kiss Kiss” (which ends on the sounds of ‘Ono culminating with ecstasy). Madonna’s “Erotica” and Janet Jackson’s “Throb” owe a debt to this sexual performance.

Another remarkable thing that jumps out at you when you reconsider Ono’s music is how it benefited from his stardom and his multifaceted relationship with Lennon. Specifically, this ranking meant that, although his music was staunchly opposed to mainstream rock or pop, a lot of Walk on thin icefeature fantastic session musicians. Some of the biggest musicians and rock stars have joined Ono in the studio, including Earl Slick, Hugh McCracken, Tony Levin, Phil Spector, Robbie Shakespeare, Nona Hendryx and Lennon himself.

These pros help tame some of Ono’s quirks and quirks, so they’re essential. Without them, his music might have been unlistenable (which is ironic to write about, considering a lot of people feel that way about his music anyway). Although she is an inventive singer and an extremely talented composer, she is not a musician in the classical sense of the term. So much so that she rarely plays an instrument on her records, choosing instead to let more skilled practitioners handle those tasks. Therefore, even in its most ‘out of this world’ form, Ono’s music has an enduring accessibility and familiarity thanks to the hard work of the seasoned instrumentalists and musicians who support its idiosyncrasies.

Ono began recording music in 1968, collaborating with Lennon on a trio of highly experimental albums that indulged the pair’s idiosyncratic inclinations. In 1970, she released her first album, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. It was brilliant and married its proto-punk instincts with buzzing New York rock thanks to musical giants like Lennon, Klaus Voorman, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Ornette Coleman. Ono’s voice was raw and unbridled, shocking in its wild ferocity. His wild vocalizations cut and sliced, providing the perfectly muscled rock instrumentation to suit his weirdness.

But none of Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band made on Walk on thin ice. It’s as if Rykodisc knows the direction of the compilation disc should point to its (relatively) more conventional approach to pop music. It’s a shame the label didn’t trust listeners to take anything away from this debut album, because that’s by far his most important statement as a solo artist, which is to say up to his magnum opus, glass seasons.

One of his most experimental works after Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band is from 1971 Fly, represented here by “Midsummer New York”, a bluesy rock title that echoes Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”. In particular, his phrasing in the opening lyrics, “Wake up in the morning / My hands cold with fear”, mirrors Presley’s “Since my baby left me / I found a new place to live”. .

As the 1970s progressed and Ono moved away from the avant-garde rock of Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, she began to incorporate different rock and pop sounds into her compositions. Because it was the 1970s, funk, disco and new wave dominated his work. With her collaborators, she explored how she could apply her distinctive vision of popular music and stay true to herself while producing high quality songs.

The results may not have been as exciting as the searing propulsion of Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. Nonetheless, it was great to hear how Ono viewed the New York rock scene when crafting his signature sound. So the songs of the 1972s Approximately infinite universe aren’t exactly radio-ready pop tunes, but they are fascinating insights into how she began to apply more standard vocal arrangements in her music. Therefore, her shimmering voice was exposed. For example, the moody ballad “Death of Samantha” sees Ono sound strong and assured, avoiding verbal pyrotechnics and meows to demonstrate that she’s a top-notch singer.

It is logical, however, that glass seasons it is the record that dominates Walk on thin ice. It’s a classic work that ushered Ono into a new decade, in which she embraced mainstream music more to the point of looking at current MTV pop trends for the 1982s. It’s okay (I see rainbows) and 1985 Starpeace.

glass seasons contains some of his most introspective and touching music, which is understandable since it was a direct response to Lennon’s murder. Therefore, if one argues for Yoko Ono as an important artist, one should refer glass seasons. His emotion is raw and unvarnished, and his aching voice is largely unadorned with its quirky flourishes and tangents.

Frankly, glass seasons better represents Yoko Ono as an artist than Walking on thin ice. Howeveruh, this compilation is still a great introduction to the genre of esoteric avant-garde pop that Ono forged in the 1970s. of this unique and uncompromising woman.

Is she flawless? Of course not. After all, this woman wrote “Woman Is the N***er of the World,” a track that clumsily confuses racism and sexism and completely ignores intersectionality in favor of crafting a provocative agitprop-pop track. . Additionally, Ono has had a complicated relationship with the remaining Beatles and Lennon’s son Julian since his first marriage. She has also been criticized for allowing certain Beatles and Lennon songs to be used for commercial purposes by companies such as Nike.

These criticisms are fair and justified, and as an artist, Ono can sometimes be complacent. However, as the best tracks on Walk on thin ice Obviously, Yoko Ono is an authentic and talented performer.


About Author

Comments are closed.