226. Yoko Ono – ‘Yang Yang’ (1972)

“Yang Yang holds on to a giant phone
Yang Yang’s soft voice goes on and on
I hate you, I hate you, where did it go wrong?
Yang Yang goes talking to himself on the phone”

Taken from the album Approximately Infinite Universe

The original ‘Yang Yang’, released in 1972, was a rock dirge with a clear melody, a step up from Yoko’s previous experimental ranting but retaining that improvised, raw feel that gave those experiments so much character. The guitar wails and her voice is at once another instrument and a leader. ‘Yang Yang’, like the entire Approximately Infinite Universe album, is all about feminism, about men who have a need to control, and about a revolution.

As great as the original is, it is once again a 21st century remix that takes ‘Yang Yang’ to new heights. The Orange Factory Down & Dirty Mix is the best of the bunch and was included on the Open Your Box remix album. The beat is relentless yet adventurous, not afraid to build and change as the song demands it. The song is sped up and built on a wordless sample of Yoko’s vocals, giving it a much more accessible feel and making it sound catchier than before.

Mixed in with some trademark orgasmic groaning, the ‘Yang Yang’ remix is a tremendous production, as the ridiculous-in-and-out-of-context lyrics about a man named Yang Yang talking to himself on a giant phone pulse away. Yoko’s repeated chanting of “I hate you, I hate you” and then her bitter critique of chauvinism gives this a proper Down & Dirty feel, so it lives up to the name of the remix. An eight-minute master class in the art of dance music and mixing, yet another Yoko Ono song is brought firmly into the future and in turn it becomes relevant to a generation and genre that wouldn’t have touched it otherwise.

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