- Audio CD (November 11, 2016)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Secretly Canadian
- ASIN: B01LP5FEX6
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,502 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life with the Lions
|Listen Now with Amazon Music|
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions
|Amazon Music Unlimited|
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.”
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
I doubt I'd have come across these when I did, when they were originally released, if it hadn't been for Lennon's presence and his complete willingness to embrace the avant garde. Along with Harrison's "Electronic Sound", these recordings broke away from the posture and pomp of established rock and pop forms and threw down the imagined barriers between "music" and "sound". I owe these recordings and these artists -- who were so well-established as rock stars producing enormously popular music -- a deep debt of gratitude for stepping away from the comfortable and familiar and opening my ears to such vast possibilities at such an early age.
CAMBRIDGE 1969: The first solo performance by a Beatle must have left the audience rather traumatised. Clearly having no idea on how to accomplish this, it's John extracting feedback whilst Yoko doesn't disappoint with her caterwauling. Towards the end, the pair are joined onstage by a saxophonist and a percussionist for what can only be described as some kind of free form jazz. Very free form.
NO BED FOR BEATLE JOHN: It sounds as if Yoko is making it up as she goes along. In the background, John can also be heard reading things from a variety of newspapers.
BABY'S HEARTBEAT: Five minutes of a cassette recording of their unborn baby's heartbeat. It's a good cure for insomnia but it's followed by...
TWO MINUTES SILENCE:...and it's actually quite striking as the rapid 'boom boom' is abruptly replaced by silence; hearing life and then hearing the finality of nothing (and, as it happened, that's how it turned out). Maybe that was the idea all along. He re-recorded a very brief version of this later in his career with 'Nutopian National Anthem'.
RADIO PLAY: A chopping sound is actually a radio dial being turned, complete with a bit of static. It all makes you want to scream at her to find a sodding station and keep it there. Meanwhile, in the background John makes a phone call. It's a relief when it suddenly stops.
SONG FOR JOHN: Guitar strumming but at least there's some semblance of a melody. Of sorts. It's a bit reminiscent of 'Dear Prudence'. Yoko sings something or other.
MULBERRY: More guitar, this time played in a random fashion by a five year old interrupted by Yoko singing the word 'Mulberry'. If that doesn't get you, what follows will as it soon dissolves into ear bleeding shrieking.
I've had this on vinyl for 40 years and never listened to it until I got round to buying the CD. I don't think I'll be listening to it again. It's one for Beatles completists, or those looking to delve into some early experimental stuff. There are those who will consider this cutting edge stuff but then they probably believe a light bulb turning itself on and off is high art. Still, the CD inlay has some nice photos.