When writing these musical moments for Sound It Out we have choices of which category the post might fit into, and while I picked “new music” for this Yoko Ono/Death Cab for Cutie single, seeing as how it’s a new single from a new album by Yoko Ono (Yes, I’m A Witch Too, February 19th), I was tempted to check the “feelings” and “uncategorized” boxes as well mainly because, well, it’s Yoko Ono, who I think it’s safe to say bucks all categories. I can’t say I always understand what it is she’s getting at and/or if I even like what it is she’s doing, but there’s never any doubt that my respect for her singularity is pretty profound. I’m finally getting that I don’t have to actually smile and enjoy a music project to still think it’s pretty fabulous that it exists.
I’m also pretty happy to be surprised when it seems a band breaks out of the category that I’ve put it in, which is namely why I chose the Death Cab for Cutie collaboration to focus on here. While to me they’ve been primarily a lo-fi indie rock outfit, this single with Yoko has enough trancy twists and turns so that I can see the ride is a different one from their normal mode of transpo. This particular single is super sneaky with little layers of soundscape that peek in and out throughout the 4+ minutes of tune. Just when you get used to a fairly conventional Yoko Ono chorus asking for forgiveness, possibly starting a storyline and setting up a dependable beat, then all bets are off and the loop starts to go a bit bat-shit. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Yoko than to keep the listener on their toes, though not necessarily dancing, but certainly swaying and listening, possibly bopping.
The album itself—which is a follow-up to 2007’s Yes, I’m A Witch (Astralwerks)—seems to have loads of interesting mergers with Death Cab being the most mainstream (followed only by Moby as a possible second) and there’s no doubt that Yoko’s vibrant view on creating is endless and inspiring, even if sometimes I don’t know how to actually climb inside it.