Downtime

June 1985 Easyriders
Review by Austin Animal

Valotte/Julian Lennon: This remarkably soothing debut effort from the eldest son of the late John Lennon smacks you right in the face with its simple sincerity - just like his old man used to - with lots of earthy images describing the younger Lennon's views.

Considering his age, 22- year-old Julian is amazingly adept at bringing out his (and others') feelings of loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty in the Big Picture. For instance, on "I Don't Know," he's lying in bed, "feeling the presence of the dead," in an obvious reference to his departed father, wondering when, or if, they'll ever meet again. Julian has gone through serious bummers in his young life, from the divorce of his parents, when he was just a crumb-snatcher, through the hectic years of Beatlemania, to the death of his father at the hands of an assassin, he has seen more than he or anyone would care to. But he apparently has his head on straight, nonetheless.

It's a fine debut, other than the opening cut and title tune, "Valotte" (the name of the chateau in France where he put together the demo tapes for presentation to record companies), which I find a bit cornball and candy-assed in his deliverance, though it conjurs up vivid images: "I can see your face in the mirrors in my mind," and "Sitting on a pebble by a river playing guitar, wondering if we're ever going to get that far." It might be that I've heard the song so f---ing much I'm just plain burned out on it.

The album is gettin' a lot of heat from artistic over- analyzers like the Austin Animal, Grape, and a certain Office Mouse. F--- ,'em all. It's my turn to rant, and this record makes me rave. When I'm workin' off a heavy hangover with a bucket of mud at the local coffee shop, and a waitress is caught unconsciously singing to herself, "Baby, I'll call you, as soon as I get home. Doot doot doo dum. . ." well, I know that Julian is making his way into people's lives other than mine. That tune is "O.K. For You," where the phone is the instrument that binds and breaks.

Julian displays a maturity and vision far beyond his 22 years. It's no easy picnic to jump into your deepest feelings about yourself and life, to bare yourself for all to be aware of, open to condemnation. He's saying, "F--- it all, this is me." No regrets.

Valotte is a top-notch, fast-sellin' album by a kid whose dad just happened to be the heart and soul of the rock and roll commun- ity. (No slam intended, Elvis, but many of us weren't around for you until ya got sloppy.)

The fact that his dad was who he was nearly dusted any chances Julian had to make it for himself. Paranoid record company execs didn't want to risk potential sticky problems. Exactly what these hassles were isn't clear, but you can bet they're kicking themselves now after hearing the final product and seein' the dough rollin' in.

The release of the disc, recorded with the abundant help of the good ol' boys from Alabama's Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and produced by veteran Phil Ramone, came right in time for the '84 Christmas season. A traditionally high-selling period for music, comparable to when ol' Johnny boy and his three mop-top mates would annually blow away the world with their inspired views, Julian is similarly right on target with his marketing strategy. As well as his talent. Personally, I'm happier'n hell for the kid. He went for it and he got it.

Valotte Bar

Valotte Bar