By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Were Julian not, well, Julian, Photograph Smile might well be regarded as one of those baroque-pop masterpieces that make all those Elephant 6 bands -- Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo, Of Montreal, and all the rest of them rustic pop geniuses -- poster boys for white rock critics between the ages of 25 and 33. It's got all the makings of an indie-rock success story...the only problem is, we're talking about a man with four major-label records on his hands, three of which Atlantic couldn't give away. And so Julian Lennon is a bit screwed, if only because his main influence is the man with whom he shares DNA. If only he had bought Beatles albums at the record store like Will Cullen Hart or Robert Schneider. Then, maybe, he'd get a little of the approval he seeks, even after all this time. In the end, Julian Lennon wants only one thing: not for people to forget he's the son-of, but for them to stop holding his past against him. That alone would make a sad song better.
"I can understand why they do it, but it still ticks me off," he says, but without a hint of bitterness in his voice. He sounds more flabbergasted than anything else, astonished by the idea that it takes people forever to forget what he did a thousand yesterdays ago. "I think there is a lot more to this album than the pop aspect. People are still labeling me with the pop idea, but I think so much more of the material is far deeper than that. It's a different relationship altogether. There is a lot more depth to it, more than what I would determine as pop these days, which is basically the very commercial stuff that you hear in the Top 20. That has no relevance to me whatsoever.
The Push Stars open
When you're in your early 20s, especially during the 1980s, the whole thing was about pop. But certainly the roots of my beliefs and understanding in music and love for music came from a much deeper-seated place than that, whether it was jazz or classical music or improvisational stuff. That absolutely interested me far more than just being able to write something that somebody could sing along to. Believe it or not, I never wanted to do that."
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