While I in the mid-80s owned Julian Lennon's first two albums ("Valotte" and "Secret Value of Daydreaming"), and, later, his '99 "comeback" "Photograph Smile," I wasn't about to start re-buying any of those individually 'cause they weren't all that great to begin with. Trying to find some sort of "hits" of his, I came across VH1's "Behind the Music: The Julian Lennon Collection," which is, believe it or not, usually selling for $20 or more on Amazon and eBay. (I finally got a CD for $11 or so.) I was kind of hoping that a distillation of his songs would be a cheerful experience to re-listen to, but no. Of the 16 songs of the album that I downloaded to my iPod, I immediately deleted 5 of them (most from "Mr. Jordan") 'cause they were as bad as I remembered them to be 25 years ago. (One, "Jesse," I kept on there just because it was SO bad that I wanted it around in case I had to prove just how bad! "Jesse's in a new low rider / Outside Frank's drive-in / He's there with Juanita and the gang...")
Julian's problem is... He simply just can't WRITE very well. Occasionally, he'll come up with a catchy hook, but then he can't seem to do anything with it within a 4-minute song format. ("Say You're Wrong," from his '85 debut album, is an example of a pop song just DYING to be good; it's REALLY good for about 40 seconds and then the non-imagination/dumbness of the repetition gets irritating. Same with the '99 "I Don't Wanna Know" clip shown below -- it's tunefully a better song than "Say You're Wrong"...but in '99 Julian was nearing 40, yet still writing like a 12-year-old discovering rhymes for the first time.)
All said, of the 16 songs on the VH1 "hits," I'm glad to have "Valotte," "Saltwater," "Day After Day," "I Don't Wanna Know," and "Photograph Smile." The latter three from his '99 attempted comeback, and all still extremely lyrically challenged.
...Oh baby, you were never really good for me
Just maybe, you're a stranger to reality
And baby, don't you know you haven't got a clue
'Cause lately, I don't know what to do.
I don't wanna know what's going on
And I don't wanna know what's right or wrong
And I don't wanna know whose bed you're in
And I don't wanna know just where you've been.
Oh baby, you said you're changing for the better now
Just maybe, you're not as strong as you thought somehow
And baby, you know you're heading down a one way track
And baby, I won't bring you back.
Well, you said you were looking for a better way
But you just keep coming back
To a place you can never seem to get away ["to a place you can never seem to get away"? REALLY? Couldn't you have simply used "to a place that you can't escape" instead?]
That will always hold you back...
Oh baby, you said you'd rather be a daddy's girl,
But lately, you're tryin' to fight against the whole wide world
Just maybe, you've found a love that you can hold on to
And baby, I pray for you.
[I don't ever want to hear "baby" / "maybe" or a line ending with "back" ever again after this!]