Into the Sun
Musically, this is an excellent record. Sean has a gift for coaxing melodies out of strange corners and juxtaposing opposing patterns and rhythms… but his voice takes some getting used to. Plug the top of your nose with your fingers and sing with a high-pitched nasality. That’s what Sean Lennon sounds like — airy and wispy.
Much has been made in other reviews and in Sean’s own press kit about this record’s stylistic range. “I’ve always felt strongly about exploring and integrating different styles of music,” he writes. “People who have heard my record often comment on how it jumps from rock to jazz to country.”
I don’t know if jumps is the right word. Beck has more stylistic changes in the blank spots between songs than there are on this entire album. The different styles are there, but they’re subdued to the a wispy, airy, overall lite-jazz flair.
Jazz is Sean’s strong suite. The six minute “Photosynthesis” is an instrumental blast. Like the soundtrack to an experimental ’60s cartoon film, it takes a lot of chances. Unlike the soundtrack to an experimental ’60s cartoon film, most of those chances pay off. Also good is the Chet Baker-esque “Wasted.” The limp sound of the song suits Sean’s vocals well.
It takes awhile, but once you adjust to his voice, the album really does grow on you. The bubblegum pop of “Queue” recalls the Beach Boys. “Two Fine Lovers” has a smooth, R&B feel. Best is the duet with Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto on the bossa-nova flavored title track.