For his first album since his 1998 debut Into the Sun, Sean Lennon didn’t need to look too far for inspiration. The singer-songwriter and son of John and Yoko had called it quits on a relationship with longtime girlfriend Bijou Phillips after discovering her affair with his childhood best friend, Max LeRoy. Before the two men had a chance to reconcile, LeRoy was killed in a motorcycle crash.
Lennon channeled the anger and heartache he felt into his first album in eight years, and the result is Friendly Fire, a gorgeously depressing album with lyrics that at times seethe with rage and drown in sorrow juxtaposed against dreamy pop arrangements and Lennon’s saccharine sweet falsetto. “Dead Meat” opens with a gentle waltzing piano line before he innocently sings, Dead meat/Don’t you know you’re dead meat?/You just messed with the wrong team/Better not try to fall asleep now. “Friendly Fire” reads like an open letter from Lennon to LeRoy — You launched the assault with the first cannonball/My soldiers were sleeping — backed by a sparse guitar riff. Some call it shoegaze pop; others say it’s emo. One thing’s for sure: Hell hath no fury like a Lennon scorned.