Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Julian Lennon - Valotte (1984)

Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

While certainly not a Christmas album, I always think of this release as very winterish (see personal memory, below), so that's why I've chosen to listen to this CD this week. It's a good album, not a great album. Yes, Julian's voice sounds eerily like his father's. But because of production by Billy Joel's producer, Phil Ramone, this sounds more like a Joel album than a John Lennon album. Julian wasn't a bad songwriter; his downfall was that he wasn't as good a songwriter as his father.

Press of the time:
  • Stereo Review: "once you get over the initial irony of hearing a very young man making what is essentially middle-aged music, you realize that there's really not much on 'Valotte' with any depth to it."
  • Robert Christgau (C): "bland professional pop of little distinction and less necessity"
  • Billboard: "the son also rises, but not that high."
  • Rolling Stone (★★★): "a middle-aged sensibility...applied to unashamedly youthful themes."
  • Smash Hits (3 out of 10): "sounds like someone who wants to make music but isn't yet fully equipped to write songs."

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #17
Peak on the Billboard Pop CD chart*: #19
Peak on CashBox album chart: #10
Peak on the CashBox CD chart*: #18  

Tracks: The singles Valotte and Too Late for Goodbyes are '80s classics. Other good songs include On the Phone, Well I Don't Know, and the closing track, Let Me Be, which is as Beatlesque as this Lennon can get. I usually want to skip 3 tunes: Space, Lonely, and Jesse (which seems completely out of place here).

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: In December, 1984, I returned home after my first semester away at college. During my 4 month absence, a new FM radio station had hit the airwaves in my hometown, one that played "adult contemporary" music. I certainly could have listened to any number of Houston radio stations, but because of the novelty of this new station, I listened to the new station almost exclusively during my stay at home. This station played the song Valotte at least once an hour back then. This is why I think of the CD as a winter one, even though I listened to the LP throughout the spring semester.

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