Yoko Ono

Walking on Thin Ice

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A distillation of Onobox to a single-disc effort, Walking on Thin Ice isn't quite a greatest-hits offering, but it's more than a random sampler. If anything, it's perhaps the easiest way for someone to convert a skeptic to what Ono had going for her throughout much of the '70s and the first half of the '80s. With retrospect, so much of what Ono did -- whether it was in the sense of a strong, confident female performer in general, or more specific realizations such as Björk's fusions of swooping singing with exploratory dance music arrangements -- had clear echoes and followers in later years, and deservedly so. With 20 years having passed since its initial release, "Walking on Thin Ice" itself sounds exactly like something the incipient electro-clash/no wave revival would create, while other wonderfully offbeat dance grooves like "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss" show Ono tackling then-current styles with ease and inventiveness. Walking on Thin Ice isn't a complete overview of her work, though, which in ways leaves this compilation a bit high and dry -- more specifically, nothing from her collaborative efforts with Lennon in the late '60s or her groundbreaking early solo albums at the start of the '70s surfaces. The one exception is Fly's "Midsummer New York," which is great but barely touches on the truly mind-blowing explorations she came up with at the time (in comparison, three cuts from the uneven Approximately Infinite Universe make the grade). Combined with the sometimes musically uncompelling years after Walking on Thin Ice (though the gentle "Nobody Sees Me Like You Do" is truly lovely and heartbreaking), the resultant track listing isn't a perfect compilation. Still, there are more winners than not, even if hardcore fans will want to go directly to the Onobox itself (no rarities surface aside from "O'Oh," also included on the larger collection).

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