Rolling Stone Magazine

March 18th, 1999

Special Thanks to Kathii!

Photograph Smile

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Photograph Smile

A pleasant return from the first publicly offered rock-god son.

If singing like John Lennon were a crime, our prison system would be even more over-burdened than it is. When Julian Lennon hit the charts with his charming if slight 1984 debut, Valotte, he had more to deal with than a mere vocal similarity; He was, after all, our first publicly offered Beatle progeny. Since then we've learned that having a rock-god parent and $1.50 will get you a subway token, a temporary record contract and a shit load of critical grief. Since the mid-Eighties, Lennon has gone off the map commercially, and although that low profile was likely not entirely Lennon's idea, the homespun, intimate-feeling Photograph Smile sounds like the work of a man who has come to peace with ghosts of the past and gotten on with the business of writing some good new tunes. There are quite a few on this confessional collection notably "Day After Day" ( not a Badfinger cover) " How Many Times, " Way to Your Heart" (dig the Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" reference) and the unabashedly Fab " I Don't Wanna Know" Julian Lennon won't change the face of popular music- Dad's band got there first, thanks- but he deserves credit in his own right for taking a sometimes sad song and making it better.

------- David Wild