First things first: Julian didn't turn out to be the genius in the
family. And Sean Lennon is nothing like his brother, so pay
Sean understandably loathes comparisons to his father, John, but
comparison is obligatory, and in this case, a compliment, because
-- and makes something entirely his own out of -- the family
jewels. Into the Sun is characterized by a recognizably
combination of brashness and shyness, crowned with a sparkling
"Mystery Juice" is an entrancing mix of acoustic guitar and synth
culminating in a great, Roger Waters-style, strangulated cry. It is
lovely and strong. Then there is the sultry bossa nova of the title
track, "Into the Sun," a duet with girlfriend Yuka (no smartass
please) Honda (who co-leads Cibo Matto), who beguilingly sings
along. And unlike other Beatles- related
duets, this collaboration works: these guys' voices
sound married to each other.
"Home" is pop rock with swell harmonies, while the self-
"Bathtub" is a moody, complex song that drifts gently; it's as
as, well, a nice warm bath.
"One Night" is an acoustic tune that resembles what you-know-
Life" would sound like without any nosy Beatles on it. In other
"Spaceship," reprising the trippy "into the sun" trope, is what Syd
Barrett would sound like if he'd been healthy and well-adjusted,
still fronting a mellow, interstellar Pink Floyd ... which couldn't be
more different than "Photosynthesis," a straight-no-chaser,
jazz number performed live -- not filler, and very absorbing.
Brian Wilson's influence permeates "Queue," which features
arranged by Andrew (nee Loog) Oldham of Rolling Stones infamy
and is a
fine, '60s-ish pop pastiche. Seventies homage is paid -- to Stevie
Wonder -- on the keyboard funk and plink of "Two Fine Lovers,"
"Part One of the Cowboy Trilogy" is "Bungalow Bill"-style, country
cockadoodle with silly, infinitely wry lyrics.
"Wasted" takes you to the piano bar after hours; in Chet Baker
features the mysterious lament, "All but a waste, it's all but a waste
to be in love..."
"Breeze" is bedsit introspection, while "Sean's Theme" ends things
grandly with a wistful, deeply textured jazz passage.
As you can see, the music is all over the place, but every note
Yuka sings along and produces, and is an integral part of the
In every kind of music he attempts, Sean Lennon achieves a
peacefulness his father may never have known, and this makes
Into the Sun a fulfillment. Sean and Yuka are a dream
team. I had
to pinch myself to make sure this album was for real.