Japanese Breakfast has shared a cover of Yoko Ono’s “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do,” from the album Season of Glass, in advance of the release of Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono, a tribute album to the artist. The compilation, out Feb. 18, is spearheaded by Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and will be released in conjunction with Ono’s 89th birthday. It also features contributions from artists including Sharon Van Etten, Death Cab for Cutie and David Byrne and Yo La Tengo.
Accompanied only by a simple piano progression, the Grammy-nominated outfit, led by Michelle Zauner, transforms the avant-garde artist’s original composition — breezy and lush, punctuated by choir harmonies and a soaring guitar solo — into a much more intimate affair. In stripping away the bombast of Ono’s rendition, Zauner highlights the emotional fragility and vulnerability at the song’s core. After all, Season of Glass marked Ono’s first solo release after John Lennon’s murder — and without being overtly explicit, the song’s lyrics evoke feelings of profound loss and regret.
“I see your face with a trace of life,” Zauner sings, her voice wavering delicately. “Being a wife and a woman/If I ever hurt you, please, remember/I wanted you to be happy.”
“As an advocate, the tallest hurdle to clear has always been the public’s ignorance as to the breadth of Yoko’s work,” Gibbard said in a statement about the compilation. “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.”