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Julian Lennon

Photograph Smile

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars

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If singing like John Lennon were a crime, our prison system would be even more overburdened than it is. When Julian Lennon hit the charts with his charming if slight 1984 debut, Valotte, he had more to deal with than a mere vocal similarity: He was, after all, our first publicly offered Beatle progeny. Since then we've learned that having a rock-god parent and $1.50 will get you a subway token, a temporary record contract and a shitload of critical grief.


Since the mid-Eighties, Lennon has gone off the map commercially, and although that low profile was likely not entirely Lennon's idea, the homespun, intimate-feeling Photograph Smile sounds like the work of a man who has come to peace with ghosts of the past and gotten on with the business of writing some good new tunes. There are quite a few on this confessional collection, notably "Day After Day" (not a Badfinger cover), "How Many Times," "Way to Your Heart" (dig the "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" reference) and the unabashedly Fab "I Don't Wanna Know." Julian Lennon won't change the face of popular music -- Dad's band got there first, thanks -- but he deserves credit in his own right for taking a sometimes sad song and making it better. (RS 808)


DAVID WILD




(Posted: Mar 18, 1999)

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