There’s nothing Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner hasn’t been doing recently, between the release of her acclaimed memoir Crying in H-Mart, her third full-length Jubilee (one of Paste’s favorite albums of last year) and the soundtrack for Sable, but she’s carved out time to contribute to the forthcoming Yoko Ono compilation tribute album with her own version of Ono’s 2007 track “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do.”
Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono (out Feb. 18 via Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records) is the brainchild of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, and features an impressive lineup of artists including Deerhoof, Flaming Lips, Sharon Van Etten, US Girls, Jay Som, Thao and Sudan Archives, among others. The rework of “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” is the second preview we’ve gotten of the album, after David Byrne and Yo La Tengo’s version of 1970 B-side “Who Has Seen the Wind?” The proceeds from the project will go to non-profit organization WhyHunger, which helps those experiencing food insecurity.
Ocean Child is also unique in that its release will include a companion podcast, hosted by Gibbard and veteran journalist/radio DJ Jenny Eliscu. According to a press release, the podcast will feature “in-depth discussions of Ono’s music and legacy with many of the artists featured on the new album.”
In a statement accompanying the album announcement, Gibbard explained that the album was born out of “both love and frustration,” explaining:
The “love” part is pretty obvious; It is the seemingly bottomless well of inspiration and enjoyment Yoko Ono’s music has provided me and I must assume everyone else present here on this compilation. The “frustration” part, on the other hand, goes back decades.
As an advocate, the tallest hurdle to clear has always been the public’s ignorance as to the breadth of Yoko’s work. To put it into context; This is an artist whose output has run the gamut from avant-garde to bubblegum pop, often across a single album. For years, it has been my position that her songwriting has been criminally overlooked. She has consistently created melodies as memorable as those of best pop writers. As a lyricist, she has always written with poignance, sophistication and deep introspection.
Some of her best songs have been covered and compiled here by a generation-spanning group of musicians for whom her work has meant so much. It is my sincere hope that a new crop of Yoko Ono fans fall in love with her songwriting due in some small part to this album we have put together.
Check out Japanese Breakfast’s beautifully understated version of “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” below, plus a 1986 Ono performance from the Paste archives. You can pre-order Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono here.