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Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life with the Lions
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Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions
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Life with the Lions is the sound of Ono and Lennon validating their love as something impenetrable and timeless. It's when we, the listener, begin to fully understand that the scope of their recording efforts was much more than a recording collaboration, and something closer to a performative documentary, a declaration of "Our life and our love is our art - every nitty, gritty part of it.”
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This is an album of pure noise, a la John Cage. Much of the pieces are discordant, some are positively unlistenable. Matters are not made better from the fact that the longest piece in the collection, Cambridge 1968, is over twenty minutes long and features annoying guitar feedback from Lennon and ear-shattering screaming from Yoko Ono. Another shorter piece consists of the sound of a heart-beat of Yoko's dying, miscarried child. While the passage of time has made this type of music more commonplace, this album is still a difficult listening experience.
Some of the reviews of this album are savage. The negative reviews miss the point. As a piece of modern experimental music, this album is made to order. If the listener is expecting a collection of pop songs, well, look somewhere else, you won't find it here. No "Silly Love Songs" here.
John Lennon used his fame and notoriety to popularize a small, cult-ish part of music. This and other Lennon-Ono collaborations accordingly made the emergence of groups like Sonic Youth possible and stretched the boundaries of music. That said, it doesn't make sitting down and listening to this album any easier.
Lennon and Ono must have known that the public's reaction would be negative. Ostensibly, the title is a pun on the title of a BBC sitcom. The title also has a double meaning, the "lions" being the public not accepting their work.
Anyone listening or thinking to purchase this album should accept and appreciate it for what it is: Experimental Music deluxe.
Of course you can't actually LISTEN to this stuff....