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Basically Furious, Yet Friendly

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Sean Lennon
Friendly Fire
Capitol (2006)

Instead of being looked at as the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, famous for being famous like so many other celebrity kin, Sean Lennon has taken his birthright and talent passed on to him, and has used them to his advantage. Eight years after releasing 1998's Into the Sun, he's written yet another album which allows you to enter the world of Sean Lennon, not the world of Sean Lennon, John and Yoko’s son.

Sean hides little emotion from listeners, serving all of his angst, sadness, regret, and ambitions on a plate right in front of us. Friendly Fire's opening track is a beautiful waltzing tune; it’s gentle in instrumentation, yet threatening in lyrics. The album begins with the words “Dead meat, don’t you know you’re dead meat.” Obviously, Sean is angry, but being the skinny pale kid with glasses, can’t seem to do much about it other than write a song. The album continues through an assortment of emotions; “Parachute” is a sweet love song tinged with dark edges, while Sean's busy covering up his “diamonds and cocaine" in "Headlights."

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While Friendly Fire begins with a cinematic intensity on the first few opening tracks, it does lose some steam throughout the middle of the album; however, this is all recovered in the last two songs on the album. “Would I Be the One” is a Marc Bolan cover, and it’s in this song that we’re finally able to really hear Sean. There’s more to his voice and more to the guitar; in short, Sean is almost able to convince me of all the feelings he was talking about before. This is finally perfected in “Falling Out of Love,” the last, and in my opinion, best track on the record. The album’s climax takes place in the final thirty seconds of the song, when the instruments are at their fullest and Sean is by far at his most intense. It’s as if he realizes he only has these final thirty seconds to achieve everything the album has been working up to during that moment.

Although MP3s and downloading have practically taken the place of hard copies of albums, this is a record actually worth spending money on. It comes complete with childlike illustrations by Sean himself, as well as a DVD containing short films starring Lindsey Lohan, Bijou Phillips, Asia Argento and Carrie Fisher (separate review to come next week). Sean doesn’t simply stick with one thing he’s good at, giving audiences what they expect; the combination of illustration, film, and music demonstrates something that audiences don’t see often enough.