Yoko Ono has been on people’s minds lately thanks to her appearance in the Get Back Beatles documentary, which makes now a great time for Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono, a newly announced tribute album curated by Ben Gibbard. David Byrne and Yo La Tengo’s collaborative cover of “Who Has Seen The Wind?” was shared today, and the project also features Amber Coffman, Death Cab For Cutie, Deerhoof, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som, Sharon Van Etten, Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, Sudan Archives, Thao, The Flaming Lips, US Girls, and We Are King.
Gibbard says of the project:
“[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. 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.”
Van Etten also wrote on Twitter, “When I was first asked to choose a Yoko Ono song to cover, I almost said no. Am I able to honor her? Did I always understand her vision? She is someone who deserves to be honored and understood. And although I feel there is still so much to learn from her and about her, I extend my humble take on a song that has brought me to tears by its candid simplicity, innocence, and longing in hope that my rendition will bring new ears upon her magnificent, challenging music.”
Additionally, Gibbard and journalist Jenny Eliscu are co-hosting a podcast connected to the album, which is set to feature “in-depth discussions of Ono’s music and legacy with many of the artists featured on the new album.” A trailer for the podcast was shared today:
Listen to the Byrne and Yo La Tengo rendition of “Who Has Seen the Wind?” above and find the Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono art and tracklist below.
1. Sharon Van Etten — “Toyboat”
2. David Byrne and Yo La Tengo — “Who Has Seen The Wind?”
3. Sudan Archives — “Dogtown”
4. Death Cab For Cutie — “Waiting For The Sunrise”
5. Thao — “Yellow Girl (Stand For Life)”
6. US Girls — “Born In A Prison”
7. Jay Som — “Growing Pain”
8. Stephin Merritt (of Magnetic Fields) — “Listen, The Snow Is Falling”
9. Deerhoof — “No No No”
10. We Are King — “Don’t Be Scared”
11. The Flaming Lips — “Mrs. Lennon”
12. Japanese Breakfast — “No One Sees Me Like You Do”
13. Yo La Tengo — “There Is No Goodbye Between Us”
14. Amber Coffman — “Run Run Run”
Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono is out 2/18 via Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records. Pre-order it here.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.