John Lennon | Signature Box

Capitol (2010)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  October 5, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

1010_doublefantasy_amin
Part absurdist wit, part domestic romantic, and part quasi-revolutionary, John Lennon had a restless, albeit brief, post-Beatles career. His 1970 solo debut, Plastic Ono Band, was a rebirth of sorts; raw, angry, and cathartic, it served as a jarring de-Beatlization. For the rest of the decade, Lennon flitted between incendiary politicking ("Woman Is the Nigger of the World"), jogging down memory lane (Rock 'n' Roll, his album of '50s covers), and checking out of celebrity life ("Watching the Wheels"), all the while maintaining the cheeky tack that made him the Thinking Man's Beatle. That dichotomy is at the heart of Signature Box, an 11-disc set that, in addition to eight album reissues, includes a disc of unreleased recordings, an EP of non-album singles, and a "stripped down" mix of Double Fantasy. A loose but rollicking home demo of "God," Lennon's new-decade free-will mantra, is a great example of the worthwhile rarities here, and the remasters blow off enough dust to reveal worthy deep cuts like the Chuck Berry–esque "New York City." This is, naturally, the go-to choice for would-be Lennon completists, but it's also a comprehensive overview of a brave and occasionally brilliant discography.
  Topics: CD Reviews , The Beatles, John Lennon, John Lennon,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ZETH LUNDY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
  •   BILL WITHERS | THE COMPLETE SUSSEX AND COLUMBIA ALBUMS  |  October 31, 2012
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY