Yoko Ono to release new album at 85

Japan-born New Yorker Yoko Ono's Warzone, out on Oct 19, will revisit songs penned by her since 1970.
Japan-born New Yorker Yoko Ono's Warzone, out on Oct 19, will revisit songs penned by her since 1970.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Yoko Ono on Tuesday announced that she is releasing a new album at age 85, saying that her lifelong message of peace is sorely needed.

Warzone, which will come out on Oct 19, will revisit songs penned by her since 1970, concluding with Imagine, her seminal pacifist anthem with late husband, singer-songwriter John Lennon.

"The world is so messed up. Things are very difficult for everybody," she said in a statement.

A statement from her representatives added: "It is not too late to change the world. We need Yoko now more than ever."

The Japan-born New Yorker made it clear that Warzone is not a swan song, saying that she is working on another record.

The album's 13 tracks, produced by her son Sean Lennon, are rearranged to strip back the music, bringing to the forefront her voice in the vein of spoken word.

With the album announcement, she released a new take on the title track, which appeared in her 1994 musical, New York Rock, about her life with Lennon.

In this version, an elephant roars and percussion kicks in like a gun as she describes a scene of violence over echoing reverb.

"If you hear me, please help us!" she concludes.

Ono, who grew up in Tokyo and New York, had become a rising figure in the musical avant-garde when she met Lennon and became his second wife.

The couple famously used their honeymoon as a "bed-in" to protest against the Vietnam War. She has remained active in peace causes and in preserving Lennon's legacy after he was assassinated outside their New York apartment in 1980.

In 2016, she released a remix album, Yes, I'm A Witch Too, that features versions of her songs reworked with other artists. Contributors include prominent alternative rockers Death Cab For Cutie and punk rocker-turned-dark electronic DJ Moby, as well as her son.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2018, with the headline 'Yoko Ono to release new album at 85'. Print Edition | Subscribe