Saturday, May 15, 2010

2. Yoko Ono - Onobox

Genre: Rock-Avant
Place of Purchase: Defunct Record Store, Wellington
Why I bought this: I didn't - it was a gift in lieu of cash

Most of you know the Yoko Ono story; how she drowned the Rolling Stone's Brian Jones, invented Glad Wrap and most heinously of all, foisted avant-garde-ism on The Monkees. Yes, that Yoko Ono.

The Onobox has been in my possession since 1997. In 14 years of ownership I havn't made it through one of the 6 cd's. It includes a deluxe colour book and a coupon with the special offer of ... an 'Onobox Ultracase'. ; a metal container in which you can store your Onobox.

What's more, the Onobox Ultracase includes a 'best of Yoko' compilation and ahem, one of Yoko's limited edition glass sculptures.

Now, first of all, I'm not sure I really give a hoot about Yoko's glasswork. Likewise her knitting or play-dough modelling. Secondly, having bought 6 cd's of Onobox I'd be mighty peeved if the folks at Rykodisk left the 'best' tracks off.
Finally, for what possible purpose would I need to encase my Onobox in metal? Perhaps if I took it ... underwater? Or to the beach? Iraq?

Mostly Onobox consists of 70s soft rock with occasional lightweight forays into disco.

For me the best moments are on Why? where John Lennon, Ringo Starr and bass player Klaus Voorman kick out a monstrously rockin improv groove for 9 minutes over which Yoko screams like a banshee. Walking on Thin Ice and Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him are pretty cool disco grooves. Other tracks from the Double Fantasy period (O Sanity, Yes I'm Your Angel) are weird 2 minute pop excursions but ... oh, let's cut to the chase.

If there's one recurring theme in this box of 6 cd's, it's PAIN.

Now it's perhaps natural that someone who grew up in World War 2, had her husband murdered, and was generally hated for pushing Monkee Davy Jones to debut his microtonal field recordings at Woodstock should feel somewhat... aggrieved.

But Onobox just wears me down. Lyrically, her reflections on men, war, women are awkward, labourious and if anything are better suited to 1 disk.

Bizarrely, the Rykodisc press release described Onobox; "Not as bad as you might think". With that sort of endorsement one wonders if Onobox was some sort of trade-off for Yoko's home recordings of John Lennon singing in the shower (with extra bass and drums to be added by Paul and Ringo, just in time for the Xmas market, of course...)

I have decided to sell this box. I'm sorry Yoko. But for the first time since I began listening to this music, I feel happy.


  1. Have you forgotten that you played Death of Samantha live with Mr Pudding and the Bedroom Stars at the old Bodega. You were great.

    I like Yoko, possibly more than she likes me. I like you too.

  2. Heh. Had forgotten that. When I make a comp of this box set before I flog it DOS will definitely be on there.