By: Traci Taylor
Appeared in The Snapper Sept. 12, 2012
On September 18, 1969, John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band performed for the first time at the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival. To flashback on some of Lennon’s work as a solo artist, I chose to review “Mind Games,” which was originally released in 1973.
Everything Lennon stood for as an activist and musician can be summed up in the first track, “Mind Games.” The end of the track trails off with him saying “I want you to make love, not war, I know you’ve heard it before.” That is one of my favorite lines from any Lennon song ever written, because for me it sums up his persona.
The catchy tune of “Tight A$” automatically makes me want to tap my foot along to the song. The lyrics are not as deep as “Mind Games,” but Lennon always had a way of either goofing or sending a message through his music.
From that point, the album transitions into a love song for Yoko on “Aisumasen.” The guitar solo towards the end really makes the song feel complete and adds depth to the words John is singing. My feelings for Lennon’s love for Yoko are on the fence since I am a Beatles fan. “Aisumasen” really proves how he felt for Yoko and it shows how well he expresses his love through song.Now the next track “One Day (At a Time)” sees more Yoko influenced because of how bizarre it is compared to the other tracks. Her music always seemed to be out of the ordinary and seemed to have an influence on Lennon.
Lennon brings back his activist side with “Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple).” A brilliant protest song with no intention of hiding the meaning, Lennon always had a way of getting his message across. The song ends with the lyric, “Stop the killing now. Do it do it do it do it do it now. Bring on the lucie”.. Lennon had a gift that could inspire someone to believe there was a chance at world peace just by singing what he believed in.
“Intuition” is more of a mellow track and seems to be Lennon’s love song to music. Love songs to Yoko appear on this album more than I realized. “Out of the Blue” is talking of how Yoko’s love came to him unexpectedly.
Lennon was trying to convince his fans that, “a million heads are better than one” with the track “Only People.” Another attempt by Lennon to convince listeners it will take more than just him to accomplish peace.
“I Know (I Know)” was a more of a track that didn’t draw my attention at all when it was on, I did not find it as appealing as the other tracks.
“You are here” was another track from the album dedicated to Yoko. The first line, “From Liverpool to Tokyo” made it clear Yoko was on his mind. In the beginning of the record, I appreciated his love for Yoko. By the end, after listening to the album entirely, I felt the love he had for her. After all, the shape of her face is pictured as a mountain on the front cover.
The album concludes with “Meat City” which is peculiar, but not out of the ordinary for Lennon.
“Mind Games” is a reflection of the post-life of John Lennon and who he was as a musician and person after the Beatles era. As long as hearing songs about protest and love for a woman who allegedly broke up the Beatles will not interfere with enjoying a musical genius’s solo work, I suggest giving a listen to this record.