SONG TITLE: STARTING OVER
PERFORMER: JOHN LENNON
SONGWRITER: JOHN LENNON
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1980
COMMENTS: Perhaps later generations removed in time will have an easier chance at judging this record in its own right, but for John Lennon fans this record will forever be associated with his tragic death. It carries a load of horribly bitter irony. The joyous rebirth promised by the first single from his first album in five long years was cut short by some worthless jerk who didn't have the decency to blow his own useless brains out.
The best balm to help cure this natural outpouring of hatred is the record itself, and especially this song. John Lennon had some moments of intense gratification in life, but overall he was clearly a tortured genius. After all the well documented unhappiness and rumors surrounding the house-husband period that this album represented the end of, it will be forever gratifying that his last years were happy enough to produce the Double Fantasy album.
From the relieved introspection of "Watching the Wheels" to the domestic bliss of "Woman" and "Beautiful Boy," this album strongly implies that John had in fact been largely successful in his quest for true personal contentment. These songs give the lie to the endless tawdry books and articles claiming every kind of emotional torment during his last years. Remember that from John Lennon's point of view, the horrible ending lasted only a few confused seconds. His quest for domestic tranquility was vindicated by fulfillment.
"Starting Over" rolls out like an especially gentle Fats Domino song. There are few songs that convey anything like the inner peace implied by the gentle joy of these lines, yet he keeps it spinning along quite nimbly. Meditate on the rising strains of leisurely bopping bliss in the first lines. "It's been solong sincewetookthetime, no one's to blame - my how time flys so... qui-ick-ly." There exists no better song for a nice intimate anniversary dance in the living room.
Unlike Fats' biggest hit, though, this record expressed the permanent transcendence of marital bliss, rather than merely the lingering memory of a one night stand. "But when I touch you, darling, it's like we both are falling in love again." John got his thrills on Blueberry Hill everyday.
Those with discerning palettes would choose this song as the spiritual touchstone of Lennon's career, rather than the highly overrated "Imagine." Not that it isn't a perfectly good song, but "Imagine" is basically cheap sentimentality expressed with paper thin philosophy. It feels good, but the words will fall apart in about two seconds if you actually think about them. Besides which, you could never dance or make out to that song.
"Starting Over," on the other hand, is a fairly profound statement of rebirth and renewal. It has a spiritual core that will resonate long past when the tragic circumstances surrounding its creation are relegated to a footnote in a dusty history book.
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