Help Yourself
Julian Lennon
Atlantic Records

By David Dewberry

Julian Lennon's fourth album, Help Yourself, is much different from the other three works. The opener, "Rebel King," is a seeming confession of having dealt with his father's murder: "on the hero's tomb is written not what he was, but what he should've been. ..." The hook-like chorus is replete with a gunshot and "Until you shoot that rebel king down." This piece was a bit disconcerting to me, I'll feel somewhat embarrassed of his father's death was not the subject of this song. Perhaps what I read into Lennon's current work is addressed to the press in general in "Listen," where he decries the fact that the listener (the press) thinks one knows what he's all about, but it's all lies. And yet, Lennon says "I like the position I'm in because I like a good fight and that's what I feel I've been having ever since I entered this wonderful career" in reference to dealing with the heavy expectations of John Lennon's fans.

A very different piece for Julian Lennon is "New Physics Rant" which is reminiscent of David Bowie's performance style. Beyond the various "styles" evidenced on this work, a very obvious contribution came from Lennon's collaborators. He hadn't initially planned on using outside material or collaborators, but this proved to pull him out of his self-absorption. That's not to say that this disc isn't Lennon. In fact, producer Bob Ezran (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel), said. "... one of the things that we agreed upon at the very beginning of this album was that we weren't going to run away from Julian anymore."

As far as tying Lennon down to explaining his interpretations of his work, he is evasive. "I don't want to give away too much about it. I really feel that it's something that can speak for itself. I like people to use their own imaginations and take it where they want to take it. All I know is that every day is a new experience, every day I'm learning, getting a little older, a little wiser. I still feel I'm a little bit on a trapeze — one foot is definitely on the ground, but one foot is still in the air because I've got a long way to go as far as learning about life and people and relationships. But I think this is definitely a mark to remember."

This piece will be quite a surprise to those of you who are familiar with Lennon's other albums. I feel that he is moving in the right direction and creating some quite interesting pop music in the bargain.