Yoko Ono recontextualizes “Now or Never” in a new version of her 1973 protest song. “Are we gonna keep sending our youths to war?/ Are we gonna keep scaring rice fields and infants?” the singer croons over waltzing acoustic guitar and electric piano. “Are we gonna keep watching dead bodies over dinner?/ Are we gonna be known as the century that kills?”
“Now or Never,” which appeared in its earlier form on 1973’s Approximately Infinite Universe, highlights the singer’s upcoming 14th album, Warzone, out October 19th via Chimera Music, her son Sean Ono Lennon’s record label. The record features 13 reimagined songs spanning 1970 to 2009.
In a statement about the record, which includes new takes on “Warzone” and John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Ono insisted that her lyrical themes are as relevant as ever. “The world is so messed up,” she said. “Things are very difficult for everybody. It’s a warzone that we are living in…” says Ono. “I like to create things in a new way. Every day things change.”
Ono spoke to Noisey about reinventing the material while maintaining her motifs. “Well, you see, they’re good songs I think!” she said. “I changed the accompaniment, but the message is still very relevant. In ‘Woman Power,’ written in 1973, I mention ‘the President’ – I’m not naming anyone, but it’s still spot-on, isn’t it?”
The 85-year-old artist plans to promote the LP by issuing a new song each Tuesday leading up to the release date via streaming services and the Imagine Peace website.