Death Cab for Cutie, David Byrne, Yo La Tengo, Japanese Breakfast, Sharon Van Etten and the Flaming Lips are among the artists featured on “Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono,” a compilation tribute album “imagined and curated” by Death Cab’s Benjamin Gibbard and coming on Canvasback-Atlantic Records on Feb. 18, Ono’s 89th birthday. The full tracklist appears below.
Also featured on the album are US Girls, Jay Som, Stephin Merritt (of Magnetic Fields), Thao, Sudan Archives, We Are King and Amber Coffman. Three of the artists — Yo La Tengo, the Flaming Lips and Deerhoof — have collaborated with Ono in the past.
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A portion of the album’s proceeds will be donated to WhyHunger, a non-profit organization Ono has supported for decades in its efforts to transform the world’s food system by building social justice and striking at the root causes of hunger and poverty. Ono has donated millions of dollars to charitable and non-violent causes over the years.
While Ono was a prominent avant-garde artist long before she met future husband John Lennon in 1966, her at-times confrontational music was frequently overlooked or dismissed until years or even decades later, when her influence became clear in artists initially ranging from the B-52s and Sonic Youth to Diamanda Galas. An earlier tribute album called “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him” was released in 1984 and featured Lennon, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Rosanne Cash and others.
“Yoko makes art that teaches all of us that peace is possible,” Gibbard said, adding that the album “was born out of both love and frustration. The ‘love’ part is pretty obvious; it is the seemingly bottomless well of inspiration and enjoyment Yoko Ono’s music has provided me and I must assume everyone else present here on this compilation. The ‘frustration’ part, on the other hand, goes back decades.
“As an advocate, the tallest hurdle to clear has always been the public’s ignorance as to the breadth of Yoko’s work,” he continued. “To put it into context, this is an artist whose output has run the gamut from avant-garde to bubblegum pop, often across a single album. For years, it has been my position that her songwriting has been criminally overlooked. She has consistently created melodies as memorable as those of best pop writers. As a lyricist, she has always written with poignance, sophistication and deep introspection.
“Some of her best songs have been covered and compiled here by a generation-spanning group of musicians for whom her work has meant so much. It is my sincere hope that a new crop of Yoko Ono fans fall in love with her songwriting due in some small part to this album we have put together.”
“Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono” will be accompanied by an exclusive podcast, hosted by Gibbard and veteran music journalist Jenny Eliscu, featuring discussions of Ono’s music and legacy with many of the artists featured on the album. An official trailer – featuring Byrne, Gibbard, the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner – is streaming now here.
Toyboat – Sharon Van Etten
Who Has Seen the Wind? – David Byrne and Yo La Tengo
Dogtown – Sudan Archives
Waiting for the Sunrise – Death Cab for Cutie
Yellow Girl (Stand for Life) – Thao
Born in a Prison – US Girls
Growing Pain – Jay Som
Listen, the Snow Is Falling – Stephin Merritt (of Magnetic Fields)
No No No – Deerhoof
Don’t Be Scared – We Are King
Mrs. Lennon – The Flaming Lips
No One Sees Me Like You Do – Japanese Breakfast
There Is No Goodbye Between Us – Yo La Tengo
Run Run Run – Amber Coffman
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