John Lennon: Mind Games (1973)

Given the uneven nature of John’s recorded output, this stands as one of his better solo efforts. It’s not the stunning artistic statement of Plastic Ono Band or Imagine, merely a collection of likeable songs that tone down the politics and the pain in favor of pleasing melodies and a certain playfulness. Where “Imagine” was stark and powerful, “Mind Games” is saturated and sweeping; in lieu of the minimalist approach that “Love” took, Lennon offers the chatty “One Day (At A Time).” The title track has since entered the hallowed hall of career keepers, while “Bring On The Lucie” and “Out The Blue” scratch at the door on any given day. The rest of the record is simply pleasant pop (“Only People,” “Intuition”) and affectionate tokens (“You Are Here”), perhaps slightly better than what George and Paul were writing around the same time. Mind Games has been aligned with the lamentable Lost Weekend (a term I’ve always found distastefully trite), a glimpse of which is given in the powerful “Aisumasen,” where John invokes better times (“Oh Yoko!”) in the line “All I had to do was call your name.” Mind Games only offers glimpses of genius like this, but enough of the old Beatles magic sparkles in the seams to make some of these songs feel like minor miracles (at least to the faithful). The only unflattering wrinkles occur on “Tight A$” and “Meat City,” a pair of noisy tracks unbefitting the polished pop around them. Yes, there are better albums from John to choose from, but only a few.

Original LP Version
A1. Mind Games (4:10)
A2. Tight A$ (3:35)
A3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (4:41)
A4. One Day (At A Time) (3:27)
A5. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple) (4:11)
A6. Nutopian International Anthem (0:03)
B1. Intuition (3:05)
B2. Out The Blue (3:19)
B3. Only People (3:21)
B4. I Know (I Know) (3:56)
B5. You Are Here (4:06)
B6. Meat City (2:52)

All titles composed by John Lennon.

CD reissue bonus tracks
13. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (home version)
14. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple) (home version)
15. Meat City (home version)

The Players
John Lennon (a.k.a. Dr. Winston O’Boogie & Los Paranoias) (vocals, extra sensory percussion, guitar, clavinet), Ken Ascher (piano, organ, mellotron), Michael Brecker (sax), Gordon Edwards (bass), Jim Keltner (drums), Sneaky Pete (pedal steel), David Spinozza (guitar) with Rick Marotta (drums on A5/B6), Something Different (background chorus). Produced by John Lennon; engineered by Dan Barbiero, Roy Cicala.

The Pictures
Cover by John Lennon.

The Plastic
Released on elpee and 8-track on October 29, 1973 in the US (Apple, SW-3414), on November 16, 1973 in the UK and Germany (Apple, PCS/8X-PCS 7165), and in 1973 in Argentina (Apple, 8012), Australia (Apple, PCSO 7165), Brazil (Apple, SBTL 1028), Mexico (EMI, SLEM-500) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton, LSAP 73034) with lyrics innersleeve; reached #9 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record) and #13 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in Japan (Odeon/Toshiba, EAS-80706) with booklet.
  2. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in 1980 in the UK (Music for Please, MFP 50509) and the US (Capitol, SN/4N-16068).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in Australia (Axis, AX1009).
  4. Re-ssiued on elpee in France (Music For Pleaseure, 2M 026-05.491).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in 1987 in the UK (Parlophone, CDP 7 46769 2).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc in 1988 in Japan (EMI, CP32-5464).
  7. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc on October 14, 2002 in Japan (EMI, TOCP-67065), on November 2, 2002 in the US (Capitol, 42425) and in 2002 in Europe and Argentina (EMI, 542 425) with 3 bonus tracks.
  8. Re-released on remastered 180g vinyl elpee in 2004 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-293).

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