Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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John Lennon/Yoko Ono

  • Double Fantasy [Capitol, 1980] A
  • Milk and Honey [Polydor, 1984] A

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Double Fantasy [Capitol, 1980]
In a special message for all the ignorami who think he never should have married the pretentious bitch, John turns the professional rock he hacked his way through when they were separated to the specifics of his life (and genius) as it's now constituted. In a special message for all the ignorami who think pretentious bipeds should stay out of recording studios, Yoko keeps up with him. This is an unfashionable piece of music--only Poly Styrene, of all people, has gotten away with anything remotely similar all year. But you don't have to be married to hear its commitment and command. I hope. A

Milk and Honey [Polydor, 1984]
Those too numbed by tragedy or hope to connect with Double Fantasy aren't likely to hear this one either--it's definitely more of the same, in John's case outtakes. But these were clearly rejected on conceptual rather than musical grounds, as just too quirky to suit the careful househusband image John wanted for his return to the arena. Which is why I like them better, especially spiced with asides he would have erased before final release. Yoko's songs are more recent and that's another plus, because her pop only began to jell with Double Fantasy; the horny querulousness of "Sleepless Night" and the cricket synthesizers on "You're the One" are confident personal elaborations of a tradition she comes to secondhand. Only the two middle cuts on the B get soupy. What a farewell. A

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