Michelle Zauner trades out the chiming bells of Ono’s original for gentle piano, transforming “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” from a grandiose love song to a melancholy ballad. These changes help accentuate the song as one of the prettiest in Ono’s expansive catalogue, and makes for a sweet ode to the long-maligned singer.
In a way, all of Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono serves to rehabilitate Ono’s place in the musical canon. Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard curated the album, which he said “was born out of both love and frustration.” “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,” Gibbard said. “The ‘frustration’ part, on the other hand, goes back decades.”
Zauner herself explained Gibbard’s frustration, noting Ono’s status as one of the most hated women in rock history. Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono comes with a podcast, hosted by Gibbard and music journalist Jenny Eliscu, in which the album’s contributors discuss Ono’s legacy. In the trailer for the podcast, Zauner said: “She was the most — sort of — hated woman in music for a while — so unfairly — that I think, obviously, as an Asian woman, I sided with her, and saw her as a very deep and complex artist that was being unfairly judged by the world and how difficult that must have been. And it became very symbolic for me.”
Listen to Japanese Breakfast’s take on “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” below, followed by the trailer for the Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono podcast. Zauner’s cover follows David Byrne and Yo La Tengo’s rendition of “Who Has Seen the Wind?,” released earlier this month. Also featuring covers by Sharon Van Etten, The Flaming Lips, Jay Som, and more, Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono arrives February 18th — Ono’s 89th birthday — and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to WhyHunger. You can preorder the album here.
Japanese Breakfast recently performed “Slide Tackle” on The Late Late Show with James Corden and played “California Stars” with Wilco (and a million other stars) at the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame ceremony. This spring, she’ll perform at Bonnaroo and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival.