Julian Lennon To Release First Album In Seven Years, Photograph Smile March 2nd on Columbia Records

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 1999 Canadian NewsWire

Photograph Smile

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"There was a time when I wanted to avoid anything and everything that had gone before. I used to wonder: how was I to forge my own path if all the time comparisons were going to be made? But now I realize they're never gonna go away, no matter what I do. But it's o.k. That's my karma."

That's singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Julian Lennon talking about "Way To Your Heart," a song on his forthcoming new album Photograph Smile, due out March 2nd on Columbia Records. But it's also about more than just one song: it's about coming to terms with the one life you're given and how best to accept it. 

Already released overseas, the album has garnered substantial early critical acclaim. England's Mojo magazine said, "This is good music. Melodically strong, harmonically rich and unexpected lyrically (think Walls and Bridges, not Double Fantasy), it is a developed, affecting record." London's Daily Telegraph noted that the CD is "...certainly his best. Julian demonstrates a previously unsuspected ability to craft heartfelt, lyrically deft, melodically memorable songs." The German edition of Rolling Stone called it "A mature work of genius." 

Julian's taken the last seven years to reflect on his place in the world and has compiled all those emotions and experiences into a collection of 14 songs that examine life, love, trust and fidelity. Photograph Smile marks his first recording since 1991's Help Yourself and fifth overall. His 1984 debut Valotte spawned the hit "Too Late For Goodbyes" and was followed by Secret Value of Daydreaming ('86) and Mr. Jordan ('89). 

The first Canadian single is "Day After Day". Previous to the decision being made, a video, executive produced by Julian, was shot for "`I Don't Want To Know." The clip features the irreverent behaviour of the fictional group The Butlers (who closely resemble The Beatles), with several cameos by Julian. "This is probably the song that a lot of Beatles fans have been waiting for me to do. People are always asking when am I gonna do something more towards the Beatles style. And so I thought, 'Why not?' In a sense it's a homage, but the sentiment and lyrics are serious." 

Of his recent experiences in the music business, Julian says, "I can't say it's been easy, but I like a challenge." Having originally signed to the independent Charisma Records, he found himself unhappily on a major as the label was absorbed. Other challenges included relentless touring and promotional schedules -- causing Julian and his long-term girlfriend to break up -- as well as bad financial guidance which, all combined, led to his eventual temporary retirement from music altogether. "I can tell you," says Julian, "if and when I ever fall in love again, never again shall I let career overrule love." 

Those experiences and their effects are evident in Photograph Smile, which was produced by Julian and Bob Rose (Roy Orbison, Edie Brickell, Gene Loves Jezebel). With song titles likes "I Should Have Known", "I Don't Wanna Know," "Crucified," "Good To Be Lonely," "And She Cries," "Faithful" and "Way To Your Heart," Julian is unleashing an autobiographical collection of songs -- ones that are melodically rich and harmonically right. At times sparse and acoustic, at others lush and replete with a full string section, Photograph Smile is the album that Julian's worked his whole life to create. 

What makes this one different? "I feel I've reached another level in songwriting. I've found a key to some door. I spent a lot time thinking and writing and putting something together that means a lot to me. I feel it displays maturity from past work." 

On the live front, watch for a major U.S. and Canadian tour to run from April through August.