John Lennon

John Lennon Albums Ranked

This is going to be a really honest album ranking. And lot of you might get angry. But I really don’t do it for any selfish reasons or even because I want to cause some fights and strife. Or get scolded in the comments.. I’m not a masochist. People often take rankings like this too seriously. So maybe try not to do it here. Don’t forget I’m a big fan too.

But that doesn’t mean I have to accept every piece of crap from him. From none of them. I’ve already settled my accounts with George, Paul has to wait because his back catalog is much bigger.

So why honest? Because I will go against almost everyone again, against the excitement and almost uncritical deification, I’m afraid. But I simply don’t think John did anything really special and interesting after the Beatles. Music I mean. I’m not mad, just disappointed.

Like Paul and George, he probably needed much stronger opposition and competition within the band. Someone who would tell them – no, be serious, get rid of that shit. And they didn’t have that. Because who can you compete with when you are John Lennon or Paul McCartney? With Yoko and Linda? I don´t think so. Although I have nothing against either of them as songs co-writers. I know that both ladies were very important for them two.

If you’ve read a few articles here, you might think I don’t like John. But it’s not true. Trust me, I like him very much. And I was a really big fan when I was younger. To be honest, as a teenager I totally ignored other solo albums and only listened to his. But that has changed over the years. The older I got, the less enthusiastic I became and the less I understood him. Perhaps because, unlike Paul, he just didn’t develop musically. Paul always tried new things, although often unsuccessfully. And that’s why I grew to admire him more with time and age.

But I do like John and his music, too. I just can’t understand that weird apotheosis. The delusion of his hardcore fans. Worshiping his every fart. Forgetting he was also a pretentious prick and a champagne socialist, carefully guarding his hard-earned money in private. Nothing against that, of course, I count all my hard earned money myself. But I don’t preach no possessions. And no borders. (No religion I preach gladly all day). Forgetting how he mocked Paul for doing granny shit and silly love songs while writing exactly the same things. Forgetting how many of brilliant Beatles songs he called fillers or throwaways in his later interviews and then released dozens of absolute shockers.

The main thing is that John unfortunately (as well as George and Paul, although the latter might have written more good songs thanks to his diligence, work ethic and the time he had) never achieved the quality of his songs like during the sixties. His solo albums are mediocre at best. Some of them are unbearable. He made some great songs in first five years and then three or four in 1980. Enough for a really good Best Of album. But how can I be happy with that?

So yes. Perhaps you will again think that I am too harsh or ruthless to your favourite Beatle. But no. I’m just demanding. And disappointed. Because expectations were high.That’s my only problem with the post Beatles solo records. I just expect more. From all four of them.

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins

I´m not going to rate the first three. There is no point. Is it an art or just two pretentious pricks wasting peoples´ time and money? Choose what you want, I don´t care. This one is lower only because of the cover. Otherwise I can’t tell the three apart.

Unfinished MusicUnfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions

This cover is actually even worse. I should have swapped them.

Wedding AlbumWedding Album

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. 

I’m going to leave the dummy text here. Even that makes more sense. I can give a half of a star for Amsterdam, it might have some slight informational value for somebody, but I’m not really interested, sorry.

Rock'n'Roll8. Rock´n´Roll

This is so sad. Such a disappointing record. And actually quite terrible. Compared to how entertaining R’n’R covers he could make when he was younger, it’s really depressing. One star for Stand By Me and that’s not even a rock and roll. And the second one.. I don’t know why, probably because I like him so much and wish it was better. And because I owe him for all the great music he made before. And maybe half a star more because he had fun when making it. I’m happy when I know he’s happy. He looked so relaxed and so positive when she wasn’t around.. like in this interview. 

2.5/10

Sometime In New York City7. Sometime In New York City

You may have already noticed before that I care more about music than lyrics. And what I care even less are lyrics with any kind of political statement. And Sometime in NYC is a political cabaret. You know, I grew up behind the iron curtain, in a communist country. And we had (had to have) something called Annual political song festival. That’s btw why I really suffer nowadays when i read or hear what is happening in then free west, that we looked up to so much. I am somewhat sensitive to political and revolutionary songs and lefty political statements in art in general. Especially made by millionaires.. That’s why I’m so sad when I hear or read interviews with people like Roger Waters and other talented idiots. Anyway, that’s not important. 

Back to the album. Musically it’s terrible and lyrics – I don’t care, really. Yes, the older I am the more inclined I am towards silly love songs. Paul was right. And I’m tired of all revolutions. I’m not twenty anymore. Back to the album again. Rather shockingly, the best track is probably Sisters, O Sisters, which sounds very 80’s. John Sinclair is bearable, The Luck Of Irish could be a nice Dylan song. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World is good, I just can’t stand saxophone. But that’s my problem, I guess.. Sides three and four are wasting of time.

Btw, try to sing Sisters, O Sisters, children at your feet, wonder how you manage to make ends meet.. it’s fun. And it’s more suspicious than My Sweet Lord 🙂

2.5/10

Milk And Honey6. Milk And Honey

I’m not sure we should count this one. But why not. It would basically be the same comment like on Double Fantasy. John’s songs on it are maybe even more entertaining then those on the next one. But still, it is only a half John. Although Yoko’s You’re The One sounds like good Bowie, I have to admit. My version of his comeback album I made when I mixed both albums together would have 6 stars. Maybe 7 because I like him. Average and more or less uninteresting pop, not worthy of the great name. Nobody Told Me is good, I’m glad Ringo didn’t do it. Forgive Me is just .. tiring. Do you really have to do it on every album? 

I always get a little sad when I see pictures of him from the 80’s. He looks ill. This is how you kids end up just smoking and eating grains. And letting your Mother tell you what to do even in your forties.

4/10

Double Fantasy5. Double Fantasy

Ok, half of the album is fine. Slightly better than average. Beautiful Boy is great, even though it is a bit different John than I would expect, and the rest of his songs good. Although I find the verse I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time.. somewhat unfortunate. And although pretty much all his songs are just granny shit. So sappy and sugary that even Paul would be proud. I don’t mind it but I’m surprised that John’s devotees don’t either.

But the problem is we simply have to consider the other half as well. I don’t want to be one of those people who constantly berates Yoko. She is an artist, there is no doubt about it. Or it depends on the point of view, we can discuss it later. And I actually have nothing against her songs at all. I have nothing against any music at all. I may not like it, but it’s still music. I just don’t think it was a good idea to share space with her and include her songs on such a long awaited album.

And I don’t believe he wanted to do it this way either. He just obeyed her wish. Or was forced to do it. I read somewhere a quite interesting thought: she made him a better artist but she made him a worse musician. I´m afraid it´s true. Hard to say.. Hot dogs are over now anyway.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the older generation without CDs or iPods who had to listen to it on LP and couldn’t skip every other song… No, seriously. A lot of fans try to convince themselves (and I tried too) that it’s a good thing, and that John and Yoko’s songs are equal. Well, to be honest, they are! And that’s actually the saddest thing about this big comeback record.

I know I am one of those people he sings about in Watching The Wheels. But I just can’t help it. I want him to make good music, not to sit around all day and switching between 148 TV channels. I hate when people waste their talent. Because I don’t have such a gift.

5/10

Plastic Ono Band4. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

The Naked Emperor. With my other articles, or at least most of them, I somehow assume that majority of you will agree with me – with minor reservations, surely – but I´m definitely going to stumble here. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but I never understood the prevailing excitement and the general orgasm over this record. For me it´s overhyped and simply not good enough. Musically, it’s desperately boring and uninteresting, the arrangement of the songs… I don’t want to blaspheme, but maybe I would even prefer a little bit more Spector.. No, I’m not serious, of course.. 

The songs are mostly dull and long, and with the exception of the tedious and annoying (and long, really long, too long) Mother and the even longer Working Class Hero, it’s just nothing special. Isolation is fine, too, God is ok. But if someone else had done it, no one would have even noticed such a record. And nobody would buy it. That’s not too important, I admit, but as an artist, you want to be liked. Even him.

And that it’s a personal statement from the deep inside of his soul.. I don´t know. And I don´t care too much, really. Come on, deal with it, you’re in your thirties. Paul simply coped better with a similar experience. Musically and personally. And he had two such experiences in his life. Actually three. He probably was more mature, more happy, more grown up. Or maybe I need Janov´s therapy too.

6/10

Mind Games3. Mind Games

The production and the echo sound are horrible, I think we all agree with it. I don’t understand he couldn’t hear it. The cover, I don’t know, really. Stop it, please, it’s not fun anymore.. And then Nutopian International Anthem… 

It all sounds like outtakes from Imagine, like some critic wrote in Creeme magazine. But at least it looks like he’s slowly began to shed the political statements in his music, although a few songs like that still remain, and started to do what made him famous and what he distanced himself from so much later – silly love songs.

Overall I´m not sure it is better than Plastic Ono Band, probably not. But it certainly is more entertaining and listenable. Six stars for both, anyway. And I think I’m very generous. I really can’t give more. There are simply not enough good songs.

6/10

Walls And Bridges2. Walls And Bridges

I’m going to go against almost everyone here, or most of you, I suppose. I like this album probably the most because it finally sounds happy again. Or happier. He sounds like he’s dropped the shields, ditched the depressing or even self-deprecating music and enjoyed the show again. It seems that meeting Elton or Bowie and other normal musicians really helped him to re-think things. Except of course those 18 months, that probably helped too..

Walls And Bridges is his most entertaining and most listenable album, although it usually ranks very low in similar lists. Which is probably the reason. Fans and critics don’t want John to have fun, and record albums full of good, solid and enjoyable songs. They want him to suffer and cry for his Mother.. They wanted and still want him to be a rebel or barrier breaker, torn poet and leader of the revolution or whatever. Our comrade John. But he wasn’t. Some people say it sounds empty, like a pop album. Yes, but is it wrong? 

7/10

Imagine1. Imagine

When rating or evaluating post Beatles music, people somehow forget that all four band members’ solo albums are full of fillers or songs that would have never made it onto Beatles albums. Imagine is a solid record with four maybe five really good songs. But what about the rest? Leaving aside Oh Yoko, which I won’t comment anymore, we have mediocre songs like It’s So Hard, Crippled Inside which might have been fun to jam, I guess, but sounds almost like one of Paul’s most hated songs, boring and annoying (and six minutes long!!) I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier or too sweet granny shit How?. And as a single he released lefty propaganda Power To The People. 

So the album is saved by Imagine and the two Beatles songs.. a proper Lennon/McCartney track Give Me Some Truth and Jealous Guy. How Do You Sleep is also excellent, although I don’t like personal attacks in art. The rest is.. more or less average at most, and Oh Yoko is just a traditional bad joke. I made a comment again, I know.

The sound and the production.. again I don’t really like it. It’s just not interesting enough. Maybe I’m spoiled by Paul’s sound or George Martin´s. Or Jeff Lynn’s. Often in his interviews, John would point out how badly done some of his Beatles songs were, how poor the sound was and the whole production was wrong and how he would made it completely different. Well, here he did it himself. Um. I’m really glad he didn’t produce his Beatles songs..

But Imagine is probably his best solo album. And my favourite. Perhaps because it was the first one I bought. Or maybe it’s Walls And Bridges..

7.5/10

Is there anyone brave enough to publicly agree with me (you can of course comment as Anonymous 🙂 that John’s post-Beatles career is pretty much shite? I don’t believe I’m the only one, really. I can’t be the only one disappointed.

4 thoughts on “John Lennon Albums Ranked

  1. 😮what can I say ? The first 3 albums I totally agree,total waste of time for someone so talented but the rest,I think your way too harsh. For me mind games is a bad album with only the title track worth listening to so should be rated worse than rock n roll. He was politically motivated so he was bound to put his views on his albums think somewhere in New York City is a album people can enjoy listening to even if they don’t agree with johns point of view. The rest are great albums with Yoko’s songs fitting perfectly along Johns. Not as prolific as Paul’s but johns solo career for the most is equally good.

    1. Thanks. I actually agree that Mind Games is not a good album, you are right. But for me it really is more enjoyable or listenable record than any of the ones bellow.

      Rock’nRoll album is just covers. Covers will always be at the bottom of the list, Paul´s too, don´t worry. But John´s are also extremely poorly made, in my view. As a bootleg of John jamming with the band, great. As a proper album – why?

      To NYC – no, I really don’t think people who don’t share its political message and John´s views, can enjoy it.

      And last two albums – again, I’m not disputing Yoko’s contribution, nor her songs. I just think it was a bad idea, that´s the only reason why it is so low on the list. Not enough John Lennon on them.

      1. I understand what you mean but for me Yoko singing doesn’t make it less of a John album like Linda doesn’t take anything away from Paul’s especially as I like the music they do.

        1. And that’s absolutely fine. The only slight difference is that Linda has a maximum of one song (if I’m not mistaken) plus backing vocals on Paul’s albums.. But again, I’m not trying to be right, it’s just my personal list and I’m glad you have your own. But I totally agree with Stevie Ricks quote that instead of Double Fantasy it should have been called Heaven And Hell 🙂

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