YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND
Take Me To The Land Of Hell
The 2013 CD release of Take Me To The Land Of Hell from Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band is nothing short of a musical masterpiece. The album starts off menacingly enough with “Moonbeams” and lyrics like “People are planets, Their souls are suns...”
Take Me To The Land Of Hell is filled with fantastic musicianship featuring Sean Lennon on guitars and all manners of Lennon-esque magic. Guitarists Nels Cline, Lenny Kravitz and Julian Lage, along with a wide range of Japanese guitarists, add much sonic wizardry to the mix while the CD is bursting at the seams with a number of musicians, engineers and more. Also here is long time Len-Ono collaborator Yuka Honda of the band Cibo Matto.
The antiwar cry kicks back into gear with track two “Cheshire Cat” with lyrics like “We The Expendable People Of The United States”... It’s just a brilliant moment as only Yoko could conjure this much magic.
“Tabetai”, track three, is just that, a fun filled nonsense kind of song probably decrying the American diet. See you at Souen sometime Ms. L.
“Bad Dancer”, cut with Adam Horovitz and Mike D., is the hit single from Take Me To The Land Of Hell. A disco tinged, bouncy Ono-lite fare to carry your mind away from the horrors of war, it’s sexy in a way that only Yoko could arrange.
“Little Boy Blue (Your Daddy's Gone”), track five, sounds like the spirit of Miles Davis channeled by Yoko. Her lyrics may be simple but as ever, the song arrangement is sonically perfect. A magic carpet ride into the world of Yoko. Ostensibly about Sean, the song is sonically challenging but well worth the time.
“There’s No Goodbye Between Us” is a perfect Yoko production number. Almost Lennon-esque in the scope of “Grow Old With Me”, the song is a real tear-jerker and is easily the most emotionally tinged song on the Land Of Hell CD.
Following the serious intent of “There’s No Goodbye”, the next song, track seven, “7th Floor” arrives like a bolt out the blue. This is Yoko at her finest, a scathing and hysterical look into that art of unorganized crime with lyrics that will keep you in stitches. The song features four guitarists, including Sean Lennon on bass and great synth work from Jared Samuel.
Track 8, “Noodle Town” is another wistful look into life in New York City. It’s a mix of the cultures of both the John & Yoko world of the early 1970’s and the NYC that Sean Lennon will inherit. One can only wish Sean good luck in the coming years. John Lennon would have loved this song. Pass the Lo Mein.... see you at Souen... sometime in nyc. It’s the only song here that makes me feel lonely for the old New York.
The title track “Take Me To The Land Of Hell” harks back to the desolation of 1981. That place where rivers of blood meet in the universe. A haunting song praising the passing of lives and speaks of reincarnation in the “nowhereland of the universe”.
Track ten, “Watching The Dawn” is the centerpiece and possibly the most important song of Take Me To The Land Of Hell. This is the orchestral rock side of Yoko that so effectively graced Double Fantasy and Milk & Honey. “Watching The Dawn” is a perfect showcase for Yoko’s one of a kind vocal with Sean Lennon so gracefully accenting the haunting melody on grand piano while backed only by a string section.
“Leaving Tim” is a slight reprieve after “Watching The Dawn”. A fun, little throwaway track in the spirit of “I’m Your Angel” from Double Fantasy. Honey Pie Yoko at her most whimsical. Who doesn’t like this side of Yoko? lol, encore.
Track 12, “Shine” takes you back to the remix / disco dance floor. Like “7th Floor", there’s an air of surrealism on this track. An avant gard, Dali-esque track that defies the laws of sonic gravity.
“Hawk’s Call” closes out the album and then it’s gone. If there’s one album you should hear to fully appreciate the magic Yoko Ono it’s got to be Take Me To The Land Of Hell. If she never made another “rock album” again, this album would be the one to place her underrated legacy up on the sonic pedestal it rightfully deserves.
Commenting on Take Me To The Land Of Hell, Yoko adds, “My new album comes at a very special time for me. I feel proud to release it at such an exciting time of my life.”https://www.mwe3.com/reviews/YokoOnoLOH/