Following the apologetic “Aisumasen,” Lennon continued to try to get back into Yoko’s good graces with “One Day (at a Time).” But I doubt she was going to be swayed by what is, let’s be honest here, borderline third-grade poetry. ”I’m a fish and you’re the sea,” says John. Also “I’m the apple and you’re the tree” and “you’re the honey and I’m the bee.”

There’s plaintive quality to “One Day (at a Time),” like John knew he had really fucked up this time, that there would be no quick fix. To get an idea of just how pissed Yoko was, you only have to listen to her contemporaneous album Feeling the Space — which was not a project I undertook lightly; my experiences with John and Yoko’s Wedding Album were scarring. But determined to do due diligence, I made a pot of coffee and had a go.


The All-Music Guide says Feeling the Space is “a feminist record dedicated to ‘the sisters who died in pain and sorrow for being unable to survive in a male society.’” And it’s probably sexist and reductive of me to relate her political anger to how she was feeling about her husband at the time — but nonetheless Tim Riley’s Lennon talks about Yoko, the day after John’s flagrant adultery on election night 1972, in the studio screaming “What a bastard the world is!”

I was expecting an ear-splitting assault, but Feeling the Space is surprisingly listenable. Yoko’s rage here is a seething, self-possessed one; the ghastly screeching of years past is gone, replaced by a Lou Reed-ish flattened affect. The band is the same one as on Mind Games — but Yoko had them first; John liked how they sounded and grabbed them for his own record. (John himself only appears on one song on Yoko’s album; she was definitely calling her own shots this time.)

Strange as it feels to say, at times I positively enjoyed Feeling the Space. Take for instance “Run Run Run,” a catchy little number with harrowing undertones. Yoko’s vocal is the weak point, but like many a male singer with limited range, she’s smart enough to bring in some lady backing vocalists to smooth things out.

The album gets more directly confrontational as it goes on, finishing with a four-song run of songs called “Angry Young Woman,” “She Hits Back,” “Woman Power,” and finally “Men Men Men.” The latter is a scathing inversion of standard sexual dynamics that is both personal and political, not to mention brutal.

J.o.h.n.n.y.,
God’s little gift, cream and pie

Men, men, men, umm, uum
Men, men, men, umm, uum
Men, men, milk and honey
God’s little gift for woman

I want you clever but not too clever
I want you bad but not too bad
I want you strong but not too strong
I want you to try your rightful position

Oh, too, too much, i mean, it’s so good

Men, men, snails and puppies
Your muscles are not for fighting in war
Your lips are not for voicing opinions
Your eyes are there for us to look into
I want you to take your rightful position

Men, men, apples and figs
I like you to be faithful but not very fussy
I like you to be behind me but not just beside me
I like you to shut up but know when to say yes
I want you to learn your frightful position

Pardon me, starstud, your cod piece’s showing

Yoko won this round. In its way Feeling the Space is a more interesting record than Mind Games. Musically speaking, Yoko was not capable of something on the level of John’s title track; but neither is she capable of the bland competence that John repeatedly fell back on to fill out his B side. For better or worse, her stuff is real.

I have to give her credit. Feeling the Space is worth a listen. We penis hosters may come out feeling a bit shriveled, but we probably deserve it.


After that humbling tangent, I think we’ve earned a spin through Ringo’s “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond),” a George Harrison composition that featured Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, and Robbie Robertson of the Band. It harkens back to Ringo’s 1970 country album Beaucoups of Blues, though it mixes in a hearty dose of Irish folk music.

Shout-out to Shane McGowan, of whose death I learned just this hour. I can easily picture him singing “Sunshine Life” as drunken dwarves dance at his heels. One might suggest a toast in his honor, but the booze didn’t do him much good in the end, did it? Well, use your own judgment. Carry on, people.

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