Music From Another Room (4-CD box set)
4 out of 5 stars
Julian Lennon’s first-ever box set is quite fine: “Everything Changes,” released on Lennon’s own Music From Another Room imprint, is a lavish, four-disc set that includes three versions of his most recent album (studio, acoustic and instrumental), a feature-length documentary (titled “Through the Picture Window”), two gorgeous vinyl picture discs that include the album’s 14 tracks and a 36-page booklet. The limited edition, numbered run of 1,000 copies also includes a hand-signed certificate of authenticity from Lennon.
The album proper – originally released in 2011 in the U.K. and Ireland and re-released with two additional cuts in 2013 – is Lennon’s finest musical achievement to date. It’s sophisticated and elegant, tasteful and thoughtful, and often stunningly beautiful. Cuts such as the sweetly anthemic “Touch the Sky,” the soul-baring “Guess it Was Me” (“I used to blame everyone else/for my misfortunes and lack of self/Now I can see my judgment was wrong/I found myself, now I am strong”), the intense “Just For You” and the lovely, disc-closing “Beautiful” all showcase a multi-faceted artist who has come to terms with his lineage, grown by leaps and bounds as a musician and songwriter, and is now producing high quality art (music and photography) on his own terms.
The visually striking, well-paced “Through the Picture Window” DVD documentary features interviews with some of Lennon’s friends and collaborators, including Bono (who says of Lennon: “He’s a truly, truly great melodist… he’s forged a real life for himself and it’s the life of an artist.”) and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Tyler – who makes an appearance on the pulsating, slightly psychedelic “Someday,” another of the album’s many highlights – addresses the elephant in the room in his typically brash manner by asking, “If you sound like your daddy and he is your daddy, what the f*ck’s wrong with singing like that?”
Although he may never completely escape the comparisons to his father (there is a bit of “Dear Prudence” in “Never Let You Go,” for example), this exquisite package goes a long way toward proving that Julian Lennon is an artistic force to be reckoned with in his own right. A portion of Lennon’s royalties from the release will be donated to the global environmental and humanitarian organization he founded in 2007, The White Feather Foundation. More information can be found at www.julianlennon.com.
— John M. Borack