The second forray for Beatle John and his love into avante-garde music is a deeply personal affair. One that has its merits, but is an extremely difficult listen.
While Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins was an informal, free-flowing, and for lack of a better term, jam between the two, No. 2 consists of more structured compositions.
The first half of the album is dedicated to “Cambridge 1969”, a song of Ono vocalizing over John playing feedback. It is a very loud and racious piece. Really wild!
“No Bed For Beatle John” is a somewhat endearing little song that deserves note.
Then comes the really dark section. “Baby’s Heartbeat”/”Two Minutes Silence”, which document the loss of their child. It certainly evokes emotion through it’s starkness. By positioning the two together, you can understand their loss and heartbreak in truly visceral terms that don’t require lyrics or instruments. Is it music? Eh. That depends on your definition.
Then there’s “Radio Play”, which is also exactly what the title infers. …For Almost 13 minutes. Yeah, you could do your own version if you have a radio with a knob. But this is a recording that is a document of 13 minutes in John and Yoko’s life that can not be replicated. It is interesting to cast yourself back to that very specific timeframe and just get swallowed up.
The reissue does include the objectively genuinely good “Song For John”, as well as “Mulberry”, which harkens back to the Two Virgins approach.
Is this a good album though? To be honest, if you are in the mood for something non-traditional and (sorry, but it has to be said) can stand Yoko, yes. True, this is about as far from “Love Me Do” as you can get, but there is more to music than pop.