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Various Artists|Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono

Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono

Various Artists

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Yoko Ono’s story is a difficult one. A lot of the world views her through inherently sexist lenses and paints her as some talentless, rich, rock widow who allegedly broke up the biggest rock band in history. This view can not be further from the truth. Yoko Ono’s story is that of a powerful, inspirational and dedicated artist. Of a creative that worked tirelessly to bring her avant-garde aesthetic into the mainstream, only to be left in the shadow of her husband. 

Before Lennon, Ono was an influential artist in her own right, having a large impact on the experimental fluxus-music movement. Later in her career, and this is what Ono is now known for, she moved to a more guttural, primal, way of performing music. An avant-garde musical provocateur and feminist icon who many from the female-fronted alt-punk and riot grrl movement credit, such as Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill.

However, there are so many layers to Ono, which is what Ocean Child: The Songs of Yoko Ono aims to highlight. Beyond the experimental, Ono is a sensitive and passionate artist. One peak of her little known discography, Season of Glass (1981), was recorded just after the murder of her husband, and even features Lennon’s blood-stained glasses on the cover. Season of Glass is an outpouring of grief and emotion, a delicate flower in Ono’s eclectic discography, walking the line of mainstream pop to fit with the artist's growing celebrity presence at the time. 

Ocean Child: The Songs of Yoko Ono is one of a handful of albums that have been dedicated to the artist to shine a light on how prolific her work was, this album, however, is quite different. Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie collected a handful of eclectic artists to take on some of Ono’s even lesser-known work to create an album of B sides and demos. The purpose of this expedition was to prove that Ono’s lyricism and songwriting skills were prolific enough to deserve a place in the mainstream as a stand-alone artist.

Japanese Breakfast's raw and contemplative rework of Nobody Sees Me Like You Do from the aforementioned album Season of Glass is clear, poignant and knowing the context of the album, quite heartbreaking. The Flaming Lips come together to take on Mrs. Lennon, probably the most well-known track on the album. This indie-rock reimagining shows that Ono's music writing skills are so refined that this track wouldn't be out of place on a modern alt-rock album today. Cover-Queen of the moment Sharon van Etten sings Toyboat, a song that sits incredibly comfortably in Ettens wheelhouse. A beautiful surprise on the album is violinist/songwriter Sudan Archive's minimal string arrangement of Dogtown, a complete contrast to the original which is a rambling lament over a bluesy acoustic guitar. 

There are so many special moments on this album which is a celebration of Yoko Ono's 'otherness' rather than reducing her to just another avant-garde artist. Hibbard's intent with this album was to show that Ono had the writing chops to compete with the big leagues of her time and beyond, and this album really makes you wonder… © Jessica Porter-Langson / Qobuz

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Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono

Various Artists

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1
Toyboat
Sharon Van Etten
00:02:57

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Sharon Van Etten, Producer, Engineer, Performance, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - Daniel Knowles, Mixer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

2
Who Has Seen the Wind?
David Byrne
00:02:46

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Patrick Dillett, Mixer - Yoko Ono, Writer - David Byrne, MainArtist - Yo La Tengo, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

3
Dogtown
Sudan Archives
00:03:17

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Kenny Gilmore, Mixer - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Sudan Archives, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

4
Waiting For The Sunrise
Death Cab For Cutie
00:02:59

Zac Rae, Keyboards, Melodica - Death Cab For Cutie, Producer, Engineer, Performance, MainArtist - Benjamin Gibbard, Guitar, Vocals, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Jason McGerr, Drums, Percussion - Nicholas Harmer, Bass - Martin Cooke, Mixer - Dave Depper, Guitar, Vocals - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

5
Yellow Girl (Stand By For Life)
Thao
00:03:24

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Thao Nguyen, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Thao, Performance, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Jason Slota, Drums - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

6
Born In A Prison
U.S. Girls
00:03:18

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Steve Chahley, Mixer, Engineer - U.S. Girls, MainArtist - Ed Squires, Performance - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Meg Remy, Performance - Christopher Sandes, Engineer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - Dan Morphy, Performance - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer - Maximilian 'Twig' Turnbull, Performance

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

7
Growing Pain
Jay Som
00:03:49

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Jay Som, MainArtist - Melina Duterte, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Performance - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

8
Listen, The Snow Is Falling
Stephin Merritt
00:03:25

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Stephin Merritt, Producer, Recorded by, Performance, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

9
No, No, No
Deerhoof
00:02:07

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Deerhoof, Producer, MainArtist - Greg Saunier, Drums - John Dieterich, Guitar - Satomi Matsuzaki, Vocals - Ed Rodriguez, Bass - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

10
Don’t Be Scared
We Are KING
00:03:07

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - We Are KING, Producer, MainArtist - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

11
Mrs. Lennon
The Flaming Lips
00:03:21

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Engineer, Performance, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

12
Nobody Sees Me Like You Do
Japanese Breakfast
00:03:31

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Producer, Performance - Alex Santilli, Mixer, Masterer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - Eric Bogacz, Engineer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2022 Atlantic Recording Corporation

13
There’s No Goodbye Between Us
Yo La Tengo
00:03:33

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Yo La Tengo, Performance, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

14
Run Run Run
Amber Coffman
00:04:05

Benjamin Gibbard, Concept, ExecutiveProducer - Yoko Ono, Writer - Ariel Rechtshaid, Mixer - Amber Coffman, Producer, Performance, MainArtist - Steve Ralbovsky, ExecutiveProducer - Joe Goldberg, ExecutiveProducer - David Newgarden, ExecutiveProducer - Jordan Kurland, ExecutiveProducer

© 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation ℗ 2021 Atlantic Recording Corporation

Album Description

Yoko Ono’s story is a difficult one. A lot of the world views her through inherently sexist lenses and paints her as some talentless, rich, rock widow who allegedly broke up the biggest rock band in history. This view can not be further from the truth. Yoko Ono’s story is that of a powerful, inspirational and dedicated artist. Of a creative that worked tirelessly to bring her avant-garde aesthetic into the mainstream, only to be left in the shadow of her husband. 

Before Lennon, Ono was an influential artist in her own right, having a large impact on the experimental fluxus-music movement. Later in her career, and this is what Ono is now known for, she moved to a more guttural, primal, way of performing music. An avant-garde musical provocateur and feminist icon who many from the female-fronted alt-punk and riot grrl movement credit, such as Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill.

However, there are so many layers to Ono, which is what Ocean Child: The Songs of Yoko Ono aims to highlight. Beyond the experimental, Ono is a sensitive and passionate artist. One peak of her little known discography, Season of Glass (1981), was recorded just after the murder of her husband, and even features Lennon’s blood-stained glasses on the cover. Season of Glass is an outpouring of grief and emotion, a delicate flower in Ono’s eclectic discography, walking the line of mainstream pop to fit with the artist's growing celebrity presence at the time. 

Ocean Child: The Songs of Yoko Ono is one of a handful of albums that have been dedicated to the artist to shine a light on how prolific her work was, this album, however, is quite different. Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie collected a handful of eclectic artists to take on some of Ono’s even lesser-known work to create an album of B sides and demos. The purpose of this expedition was to prove that Ono’s lyricism and songwriting skills were prolific enough to deserve a place in the mainstream as a stand-alone artist.

Japanese Breakfast's raw and contemplative rework of Nobody Sees Me Like You Do from the aforementioned album Season of Glass is clear, poignant and knowing the context of the album, quite heartbreaking. The Flaming Lips come together to take on Mrs. Lennon, probably the most well-known track on the album. This indie-rock reimagining shows that Ono's music writing skills are so refined that this track wouldn't be out of place on a modern alt-rock album today. Cover-Queen of the moment Sharon van Etten sings Toyboat, a song that sits incredibly comfortably in Ettens wheelhouse. A beautiful surprise on the album is violinist/songwriter Sudan Archive's minimal string arrangement of Dogtown, a complete contrast to the original which is a rambling lament over a bluesy acoustic guitar. 

There are so many special moments on this album which is a celebration of Yoko Ono's 'otherness' rather than reducing her to just another avant-garde artist. Hibbard's intent with this album was to show that Ono had the writing chops to compete with the big leagues of her time and beyond, and this album really makes you wonder… © Jessica Porter-Langson / Qobuz

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