George Starostin's Reviews



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Josh Fitzgerald <> (26.05.99)

Of the three main Beatles solo artists-(excluding Ringo) Paul Mc is my favorite. John's was too sentimental, and George's was too overblown. Not that they were bad solo artists, it's just that Paul is my fav. He always kept his style just right. Never overbearing. You're right about his 80s output though. Blah!!!!

[Special author note: I appreciate this, of course, but this is the first time I witness somebody calling John more sentimental than Paul...]

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

John was the greatest post beatles artist, no question. Mccartney I want to love as a solo artist, but he produced over blow below average material. This is a shame because he is such a talent. 'Live and let die' and 'another day' stand up, the rest does not. Flaming pie however was a good return to form. Note this was recorded AFTER compling to beatles anthology. Co-incidence - I think not - the magic returned for a brief time.

Jeff Blehar <> (08.02.2000)

I've always been a music man rather than a lyrics man. This isn't to say that I don't care about a good lyric (I most certainly do), but rather that I first take to a song based on its melodic, textural, or atmospheric interest, all of which are functions more of the music than of the lyrics for me. I suppose that's why I really enjoy McCartney's solo output more than I'm supposed to - I've got the complete works for all four, and while I think Harrison's All Things Must Pass is easily the best album by an ex-Beatle, McCartney is more consistently listenable, at least up until 1982 or so. For the record, I find most of what George says to be true: McCartney is GRUESOMELY underrated, and that his catalog is a happy little goldmine to dig through. Yet I'd also like to say that you don't necessarily have to like McCartney's late-period Beatles output to like his solo work; I for one heartily dislike "Honey Pie," and I utterly DESPISE "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" as the single most atrocious, steaming piece of tripe that McCartney ever foisted upon The Beatles and a tragic representation of why they broke up (read an account of the recording of the song in a Beatles chronicle and you'll understand what I mean by that).

In truth, McCartney's chief sin in the eyes of the rock 'n' roll press was in being both largely apolitical (no Sometime In New York City's from Paul, thankfully) and in being more "poppy" than his colleague. Even though in retrospect these arguments seem to be truly shallow (after all, John's career shows the danger of mixing politics and pop, to say nothing of modern snoozes like U2) and petty, I would like to level a serious criticism at the artist: he's too obsessed with the formal beauties of music, with genre experiments and style exercises, to the point that he oftentimes neglects the point entirely that music ought to be the vehicle for SOME kind of emotional or intellectual expression. Novelty songs are one thing (and they have their place), and I frankly don't have a problem with silly love songs unless they're badly executed, but too often McCartney's fascination with formal musical perfection betrays a shallow commitment to feelings. That aside, he's very worthwhile as an artist, and compilations (thus far) simply do not do him justice, as much of his most intriguing work is nestled away as album tracks or B-sides.

Rich Bunnell <> (08.02.2000)

If I hear one more person bashing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," I will kill him. How can you people not like that melody? It's freakin' awesome!

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Ouch, Rich! "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" isn't worth killing anyone over! Because then you'd be no better than Maxwell himself. ;-) Seriously though (although maybe this discussion should be taken to the relevant section of The Beatles page), I think the melody of the song is wonderful, a prime slice of McCartneyesque verticality (i.e., notice how most of Paul's tunes bounce up and down while a lot of John's remain "horizontal," or anchored around a few notes? "Iamheasyouasheasyoume," "Living is easy with eyes closed," etc.). What I'm offended by are the lyrics; ugh! Somewhere on George's Steely Dan page he gets disgusted with their song "Everything You Did," about...well, it's sick. But "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is too. What makes it worse is the blithe cheeriness of the music, as if bashing in women's skulls with hammers was no problem at all. I'm not an uptight jerk, though, and If that were it alone I guess I'd just cordially dislike it; what makes me HATE it is that McCartney refused to let it go in the studio, much like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," forcing John, George and Ringo to expend whatever little good-will they had left towards each other rerecording the song OVER and OVER again, convinced that it could be a single if done right. All sorts of fights broke out, yelling, etc. Thoughtlessly selfish, and all for a silly cause - if it had been "Strawberry Fields Forever" or heck, even "Martha My Dear" they were working on, I wouldn't have minded, but to waste their draining friendship on such a callow trivial song...well that's why I hate it.

Ivan Piperov <> (09.02.2000)

I'm sick and tired of hearing Paul is simply gorgeous, rich and selfish. I think he's really cool. He makes cool music, eats no animals and is my favourite bass player.

Kathleen Keplar <> (30.05.2000)

Having already sent a lengthy remark concerning the Beatles to this site some time ago, I'm forced to be brief here, and that's a difficult feat for me. I don't like this guy at all, and I've tried my damnedest to admire him for a long time. Terrific bassist...with the Beatles. Terrific composer...with the Beatles. Good singer...with the Beatles (This one is a more often than not thing, after more than half an album's worth of listening his voice just turns bland to my ears.) Had his moments as a lyricist...again, with the Beatles. Before I got into playing music he was my favorite Beatle, but when I learned what it was all about first hand it became Lennon who held me in awe. McCartney is a performer first, an artist second. A show off first, a musician second.

With the Beatles he did manage some monumental songs, 'Yesterday', 'Hey Jude', 'Eleanor Rigby', etc. etc. But most of his songs even then were mostly show ditties and deliberate toe tappers. Hey, he's good at it, terrific filler for the in between commercial time on the car radio. He has been, in the past, a shameless self promoter and a cheap bastard. A notoriously cheap bastard. Anyone who knows the story of how he ended up with that first Rickenbacker bass can't argue with that particular opinion of him. He admits to playing Yamaha equipment these days because of the 'freebies'. I have a Yamaha 300 Series Precision Bass, because it was the best I could afford at the time. Come on! This guy's a multi-millionare!  What's a couple thousand US dollars for a top line axe to this guy?  He pissed all over Denny Lane and used him badly during the heyday of Wings. Last I heard of Denny he was living in a van. But's the music we're after here. Right?

He plays more instruments than a dog has fleas. But to the best of my knowledge the only one he really excels at is the bass. He was the original lead guitar for the Beatles but kept blowing it. That's probably why he was such an innovative bassist-he was actually a frustrated lead player. He was famous with the Beatles for his charm and sense of humor. Anytime I've seen him in an interview or on stage that charm seems all too forced and I  can detect no real sense of humor at all.  Hell of a PR job in my opinion. I've owned at least half his solo stuff at one time or another, just couldn't find the truth in it anywhere. Kept the greatest hits and Band on the Run around, just in case I'm in the mood to be bland and phony. I sincerely wish I could be more positive about Sir Paul McCartney but I find it very difficult. He is a master of hook and melody, I find it a shame he can't seem to use those gifts for more than pop crap and pseudo-rock. And don't get me started on the late Mrs. McCartney. I'm honestly sorry she's gone and from what I understand she was a good person and a real sincere lady, but she was as bad on stage as Yoko Ono. At least the Japanese Howler Monkey was an artist and was trying to make some kind of point, as obscure as that point may have been.

I think McCartney needs a strong  creative framework to do his best work. He had it within the framework that was the other three Beatles and George Martin. On his own he's just more noise coming from the magic box.  Lennon was the organ grinder...McCartney was the monkey.

Damn, I wish I hadn't said that...but it's how I feel it.

[Special author note: Yes. I am perfectly ready to admit that most of these remarks are completely true. McCartney writes and sings 'pop crap', he isn't a technical virtuoso, he's a dirty rich scumbag (and a member of the 'Great Washed-Up Club', too), he's mean and lean and a big show off.

But I could name LOADS of famous rock stars and musicians who all share the same defects, and in a worse way, too. As far as I'm concerned, his absolute mastership of 'hook and melody' is what does it for me, and I don't need nothing else: he's a genius, and I could care less about the 'ethical' side of the job. If we start judging musicians by how many friends they pissed off and how they force out their humor in interviews, we might as well drop out of the whole business for good.]

Andrew Ashby <> (14.11.2000)

i think Pual [sic! - G. S.] McCartney sucks....

Teresa Juarez Guzman <> (26.11.2000)

McCartney? From "Yesterday" to "Beautiful Night", I've listened to every beautiful composition that he's commited to record. His voice and charms have allowed him to be sentimental but not corny. If you think that McCartney sucks then you surely haven't listened to the final number of the White Album (that is: you don't know what rock music is). That feeling sums up the best efforts from his solo career (to me: Red Rock Speedway, Ram and Band On The Run)... But, going back to the Beatles' tune... (in a whispering voice:) "Good night everybody, everywhere. Good night". Fade out. That's enough to give me the chills, after the mind-blowing "Revolution 9" (another McCartney project!). OK, I'm not an objective reviewer (the exclamation resource), but a fan and a "Macca" completist. So what? Check it out!: Paul McCartney was the most talented member of the best pop music in history. (And surely a very enjoyable solo force.) Maybe his concerts are tiresome, and there's one or two records that I don't care for (Give my regards to Broad Street and Press To Play), but everybody is allowed to suck a little every now and then, and Lennon's fans know what I'm talking about: the Yoko numbers --fillers?-- are not Beatle material exactly. But I'm moving away from my point. Which is? Paul McCartney is "live", and a musical genius.

<> (26.11.2000)

I happened across your page recently and I'd like to say I enjoyed it very much. I have been a McCartney fan since the 70's.

One of the reasons I think that people have a hard time "sinking their teeth" into Paul's body of solo work isn't because of the dubious "quality" of the material... it's because of the "diversity" of the material. I think that a lot of people expect a performer or group to represent a particular type of music, and have a consistent style of presentation..

Paul simply does not fit this bill. Only Paul it seems, could put songs like 'Girls School' and 'Mull Of Kintyre' on the same double-a sided single. The problem then is, the folks that were attracted to 'Girls School' probably thought 'Mull Of Kintyre' sucked, and vice-versa. If you liked Led Zepplin, you could count on a consistent style and a consistent sound from album to album. Not so with Paul. Just because Band On The Run was a smash, didn't mean that the next album was going to resemble it even in the tinest bit. And it didn't. Just look at a sample of three succsesive solo albums... From Londontown to Back To The Egg to McCartney II

John on the other hand, put out virtually the same album 5 times, but that's another story.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

What a strange person Paul is! He tells us that he hates electronic music but then he produces such things as Press to play. He says he isn't a money-maker but do you know how many concerts did he hold while Flowers in the dirts? 43! He said he was a good father but then Japanese police caught Linda for keeping joint in her bag... But even if he's Demon in the body of a man we shouldn't care about it - all in all, we are talking about his music.

The main problem I see about his solo career is that Paul was never frank. Well, even in 'Ebony & Ivory' I don't see much openess. One may say that it's my bias towards Paul, but it seems to me that Paul was just keeping his image of pacifist (though I can't deny that he's pacifist, I just wanted to say that Paul is freaking out with charity, help towards old people and USSR (I insist that it's freaking out! If not then explain me why didn't he visit Russia with couple of concerts when it was possible? (Oh,sorry sir Paul! I've just found an excusion for you. You said in your interview that there's always bad weather in Moscow and it's not safe to play on the stage while it's raining. Well-la, Well-la! Paul, just remember one thing: there are too many white bears on the streets in Moscow so don't forget to take your gun from England!))). Paul always looked like good boy with immaculate hair and crystal voice. THIS is bias! Too many people think that Paul is a good boy, John was always too revolutionary, George was too preachy and Ringo was always stupid and agrressive (though, it's a bias to almost every drummer)! Err, it seems to me that I'm going off my main point so let's continue.

Another minus of Paul is that he didn't realise when to stop. It's all because he didn't want to be a 'dinosaur' but , in the end, he is! I like every album which was produced between 70 and 84 (surely excluding McCartney2) but then we get too many bad songs. I am 100% assured that Paul understood that Press to play was crap but, alas, again we face thing called 'money-making'.... His two last live concerts are nothing but money-making albums, too... I was very glad to know that Flaming pie was made in 1997 which proves that Paul could still write good music but then we got Run devil run (well, I like it but it's no doubt that it's a serious letdown to Pie). Now, in my opinion of course, it's better for Paul to shut down. His last album wasn't bad (and it even took the 4th place in the charts) and we can easily find an excusion for Run devil run. Paul, please, say 'goodbye'...

Oh, and here's my last note: I'd give Paul five stars only if he had deleted McCartney2, Press to play, Tripping the live fantastic, Paul is live and Run devil run from his catalog. But he didn't so I suppose that 4 is rather fair mark.

P.S. I've just found out that Paul produced his new album (I don't remember it's exact name but it's called something like Liverpool school (or days)). Critics say that it's the brother of Harrison's Electronic sound... Well, what can I say? I repeat my request: 'Paul, say 'goodbye''!

Robert Tally <> (11.01.2001)

Ironically, even though I have all of his albums, I don't really count myself as a Paul McCartney fan.  I collect his stuff for the same reasons I collect George and Ringo albums - basically to complete my Beatles collection.  However, I can't deny that the guy is tremendously talented, and stands in my mind as one of the most gifted songwriters (and one of the two or three best rock bassists) around. I guess my reservations mainly come by way of style. For instance, I've never cared for the big ballads like 'My Love' or 'Only Love Remains' or 'Beautiful Night'.  They're all a little too safe and formal for me. Some of his songs are also rather stupid in my estimation (I think 'Spies Like Us', 'P.S. Love Me Do' and 'Girlfriend' speak for themselves). Nevertheless, even with these kinds of things, he generally writes solid songs in a technically sense. Even an album as undesirable as Press To Play has some fairly serious attempts at songwriting on it. Although I'd rather not hear all the techno stuff on there, I can tolerate that if only the melodies were stronger. And, of course, Paul likes to offer up every little meaningless doodle and jam that comes along (as evidenced by songs like 'Looking For You' and sometimes entire albums like Wild Life or McCartney II). As far as McCartney being kind of 'light', this doesn't bother me, since I sometimes feel like listening to something light.  And usually, he doesn't affect me much when he's being serious (I'll listen to Lennon for that). 'Too Many People', 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey', 'Ballroom Dancing' and the entire Band On The Run are always worth listening to if all you want is catchy pop music. That's his specialty. Once in a while he does a serious tune that gets to me, such as 'Maybe I'm Amazed', 'Picasso's Last Words', or the Elvis collaborations, but these are few and far between. As a rocker, I think McCartney was generally unimpressive during his solo years, at least until the release of Run Devil Run, which I might like even more than Band On The Run. I mean, some of those songs just knock me on my ass. As far as his excursions into the great unknown, such as the three techno albums he's done with Youth, I can pretty much pass on these with the exception of Rushes. His classical stuff almost always sounds good to my ears, with the exception of the Liverpool Oratorio, which I think is way too inconsistent. If there's one thing that really stands out about McCartney's solo output, it's the unexpected little songs that show up in unpredictable places, like b-sides and bonus tracks. Some of my favorite McCartney songs include such obscure titles as 'I Lie Around', 'Country Dreamer', 'Rainclouds', 'I'll Give You A Ring', 'Flying To My Home', 'Long Leather Coat' and 'Broomstick'. You just never know what he's going to do next, both in terms of style and in terms of quality. So proceed with extreme caution.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (16.01.2001)

Yeah, George! You stand up for Paul and tell the world the truth. Of course there has been some songs of Paul that the world could manage without, but send me a list of artists that have only released classic songs, if you can. I think I will be waiting a very long time for that one. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about 'sappy' Paul and 'serious' John. I'll admit that John always was more personal in his lyrics and generally cared more for his words than Paul, but after 1972 the 'sappy' one was John. And don't you tell me otherwise! Did John even rock ONCE between 73 and 80 (yes, I have heard Rock and Roll)? Now I'm not bashing John here, just trying to balance out things a bit. The only thing that matters is if the music is GOOD or BAD. And Paul has produced A LOT of very good songs in his solo career - and it's not the perfectly crafted melodies, there are intriguing arrangements and truly original chord progressions and basslines. So he doesn't sing about his dead mother? Well, neither did Jimi Hendrix or The Rolling Stones, but their music is still frigging good! And so is Paul's. And he is always bashed for being too commercial, and when he does something odd he is critisized for that as well. I'm not too impressed with his classical works or the electronic ones, but he deserve credit for trying. And his two McCartney albums make interesting listening, even if the results are of varying quality. I don't know if it's a good thing, but when John and Paul commented on Northern Ireland in song, Paul released his song ('Give Ireland Back To The Irish') 4 months before John. Otherwise he has usually been unpolitical in his lyrics and that is in his favour. Just listen to the music, and free your mind from those hypocritical blockings you have had there since John died.

Matthew Carney <> (26.01.2001)

Paul McCartney's solo career is an interesting subject. I mean, as far as talent goes, he cannot be beat. He is the most talented member of his former group. This is saying a lot, but let me explain. Paul was simply their best musician, he could play every instrument and play it well. He is one of rock and roll's most gifted bass players and he is a more than adequate guitar player (although I believe by the end George had clearly mastered that instrument more than Paul), he is a good piano player, drums and you name it Paul can play it and for the most part play it well. Paul, of course was a talented tunesmith. He has the rare ability to churn out countless numbers of strong, catchy melodies at will--a trait which he can still do today. Paul also is a perfectionist. The Beatles material probably wouldn't have sounded so crisp (even under the brilliant guidance of Sir George Martin) had it not been for Paul's strong work ethic, which he clearly continued throughout much of his solo career due to the glossy production and perfect playing he achieved from musicians (especially his wife) who might not have had the talent of his old band mates. Note: I am not knocking Linda, but she just wasn't the most talented performer out there. Well with all this praise then, why would I say that Paul has been the most dissapointing former Beatle? Well, that is easy. Paul McCartney has throughout his solo--and actually somewhat during the later half of Beatles career--tended to work more on perfecting/shining-up an incomplete musical idea rather than working specifically on perfecting the song itself first. He has done this throughout his solo career with mixed results. Some albums, Ram, Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, and even his latest Run Devil Run have their share of astounding moments and are all pretty strong releases. Others like his spotty unfinished debut, his first few Wings releases, and especially his early 90's material (but I haven't even heard his early 80's stuff) are chock full of great ideas that were just recorded over and over and over again before he had perfected them. I mean for instance let's listen to "Bip Bop"--an easy one to attack I know, but this is just one of the first one's I could think of. The song has an engaging melody, and is very catchy (in fact its in my head quite often), but instead of changing the lyrics on that one and making a SUBSTANTIAL song, Paul left them there, glossed the song up and made the song seem more substantial than it really was, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. It is this mentality that can make Paul aggravating at times, and I do think that if he had a songwriter like John around to help him with these moments that his solo career could easily have stayed in par with his best Beatles work if not surpassed it. It is just unfortunate that he didn't have a songwriter like John around to help him, and I think because of this his solo stuff has suffered the most. I mean John's solo career wasn't the greatest either--he had his spotty mid-70's period. George just started off great and hasn't approached that level since. However, Paul McCartney never did make that one indispensible album that he was easily capable of doing (his best remain Band on the Run which deserves--despite my earlier, harsh review at least an 8/10 despite its filler). All hope on Paul is not lost though, as even today he is capable of writing several amazingly good songs (as he proved on Flaming Pie's highlights and his strong 3 songs from Rund Devil Run), he just still hasn't been able to write quite enough to make a filler free classic album in the vein of almost all of his Beatles work. Although unlike many of the artists of the 60's, I think Paul still could come up with something of that caliber. He is a very interesting legend indeed, but he has still remained a dissapointing legend over the last few years because everyone knows he is capable of so much more.

Paul Inglis <> (28.01.2001)

I've just been reading your very interesting Paul McCartney page. Although John Lennon was my favourite Beatle, I can certainly name many McCartney songs (both with the Beatles and solo) that are "up there" with the best songs of all time. "Maybe I'm Amazed", for example. I'm also very fond of the Ram and Band on the Run albums. "Jet" is absolutely superb! Of McCartney's more recent output, Off the Ground and Flowers in the Dirt are quite good (although FITD is badly overproduced).

McCartney certainly writes amazing, free ranging melodies often employing large interval jumps (the famous "verticality" that many authors such as Ian McDonald mention) very unlike Lennon's minimalist style. McCartney's melodies are memorable because of their exuberance and extravagance, Lennon's melodies are memorable because of the odd way they snake over his chord changes ("I Am the Walrus", for example). The only other pop songwriter I can think of who writes melodies with such a wide ranging compass as McCartney is Burt Bacharach. Maybe there is no coincidence in the fact that both of them have collaborated with Elvis Costello!

I must point out that one of the previous posters to your site, Teresa Guzman (26.11.00) is way off the mark crediting "Good Night" and "Revolution No. 9" to McCartney. "Good Night" was written by Lennon and sung by Ringo. "Revolution No. 9" was "created" by Lennon and Yoko Ono, with a little help from George Harrison.

<> (09.02.2001)

After being a massive Beatles fan for some years(I'm only 22 now)i decided to see what there solo stuff was like. I decided to start with paul first(don't ask me why)I got All the best which even though is a great album isn't a true representation of his work,so then i got McCartney and started collecting them straightaway.Paul never claimed to be writing songs to change the way of the world that was John's forte. Paul changed the world with his songs in a different way with great melodies,hooks,sounds,bass playing and fun. And that's what Paul's music is fun!Appreciate the talent now and not when it's gone we've already done that with John.

Palash Ghosh <> (17.02.2001)

I fully agree with you that Paul McCartney's solo career has been unfairly dismissed by critics as 'forgettable lightweight pop.' During the early 1970's he recorded many many songs that were as good (if not better, in some cases) than his peak Beatle-era songs. What ruined some of his better solo compositions, however, were poorly chosen lyrics (he hadn't have John Lennon around to toss around better ideas).

And also, Paul simply 'ran out of gas' by around 1976 or so. With the exception of the very worthy Tug of War LP, everything he recorded after Venus and Mars is pretty disposable.

Eric Rogozin <> (18.04.2001)

I consider Paul McCartney the greatest musician on Earth! He's a MUSICAL GENIUS!!! You know, he's got a celestrial voice (one of the best rock vocalists ever); he's one of the greatest bass players, even the BEST bassist in the world to my opinion; first of all, he's a multi-instrumentalist, the greatest songwriter of Twentieth Century, in one word, he's extremely talented short, he's a GENIUS.

I guess, you all allready know, that Paul is a great songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (even called "Mozart of XXth Century"), let's also mention, that his music is very diverse, that also proves his big talent: he can compose such songs like "Helter Skelter" and "Here,there&everywhere", "I'm Down" and "Yesterday", "Back In The U.S.S.R" and "I Will", "Jet" and "Bluebird", "Rock Show" and "Love In Song", "So Glad To See You Here" and "Somebody Who Cares", "No Values" and "So Bad", "Looking For Changes" and "Footprints" etc..(this list of songs can be infinite continued).

McCartney's solo stuff rules! Yes, of course, McCartney II and Pipes Of Peace are maximum satisfactory albums, even to say mediocre, but even those albums are not completely worthless. But a lot of Paul's solo albums are masterpieces, for example Ram, Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, Back To The Egg, Give My Regards To Broad Street, Flaming Pie....Wonderful, wonderful records! And because of it, one mustn't ignore McCartney's solo career. It's resplendent! Only it would better to play on radio "Love In Song" instead of "My Love" and "Beware My Love" instead of "Silly Love Songs" ("Silly Love Songs" is decent (although I prefer "Silly Love Songs" in Give My Regards To Broad Street variant) and "My Love" is very good, but there are much better McCartney songs). 

I think, the music of Paul IS the vehicle for some kind of emotional or intellectual expression. And he still rules now: Run Devil Run is magnificent! I'm sure, that he'll always be able to make a good music.

Besides, Paul McCartney is a very intelligent person!

And one more note: I think, that Give My Regards To Broad Stree is a successful movie, I adore it!

Glenn Wiener <> (05.07.2001)

From a commercial standpoint, Paul McCartney was the most successful of the individual Beatles after the breakup. There was a point during the seventies when his group Wings was even compared to the Beatles. However, at the end of the seventies Wings disintegrated into nothing and Paul McCartney put out a great deal of forgettable pop music. I can barely even remember any of his songs from the eighties. Paul seemed to lose his creativity.

In general, I only have one Paul McCartney solo record which is Band On The Run with Wings. This is a good record but certainly not a revered classic. 'Hi Hi Hi', 'Juniors Farm', 'Another Day', 'Rock Show', and a few other songs are pretty good as well. However, as well structured as Paul’s songs are to mainstream pop radio, few offer much in terms of textures, styles, instrumental definition, and social commentary. Therefore, I find it very difficult to listen to Paul McCartney’s solo work over an extended period of time. As a matter of fact, of all the solo Beatle careers I probably prefer Paul’s music the least. That’s right even less than Ringo’s spotty career. Whereas Paul may have put out a ton of material and is no doubt a talented song-writer, his style is so bland that his solo career is not too memorable and certainly not as influential as it should be.

Ellen Byrd <> (08.12.2001)

Hi, I think that Paul McCartney was the most talented of the Beatles. Why? Because he has written more of the "greatest songs ever" than any of the others. Sometimes "Imagine" is regarded as one of them, and so is "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (I believe that I read that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was principally by Lennon).What about "Hey Jude", "Let It Be" and "Yesterday"? Certainly, "Hey Jude" and "Yesterday" are usually voted above the aforementioned Lennon songs, and "Let It Be" is too. Also, don't forget about "Eleanor Rigby", which is certainly one of the Beatle's oddest songs. That song belies the idea that Paul couldn't think of anything new. Also, look at the oddity of the song called "For No One". The harmonies, the semi-tone slide on the repetition of the words "gone, she", the words, the clavichord, all of these things make a novel impression. I think that McCartney is often spoken of as being "less original" than Lennon because he wasn't politically active and he married a socialite. People couldn't bear to think of this relatively quiet, conventional man as being more talented than the extroverted, "intellectual", "revolutionary" Lennon.

Ryan Maffei <> (29.03.2002)

Like the Beatles as a band, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Yoko Ono, I have very passionate feelings about Paul's music, perhaps controversial, perhaps harmless...anyway, because the man's work triggers such hate and (rock'n'roll-oriented) love in me every time I hear a spot of it, I've arranged my opinions about Paul into numbered sections:

1) When the Beatles were in effect, Paul was always a genius, and a very talented performer. McCartney's ability to play drums, guitar, bass, et cetera was admirable, even if he wasn't brilliant at all of them, and his ability to pen an equally diverse (stylistically) range of music made him the renaissance man of the Beatle Boys. That's right--John was undeniably good at what he did, but not always the best (see the early years, with ahem, ahem stuff like "Run for Your Life"--enjoyable, but derivative and unremarkable), and George's full flowering would come from 1968-74, too late for any admirable recognition within his first group. So yeah, Paul was the best Beatle when the Beatles were still a band--even when only considering his broad, much-hailed contributions to later works like Abbey Road, he earns that title. And nobody could write a pop song like him during that heyday. Paul was the original pop master.

2) Paul a weak solo artist in comparison to all of the Beatles, bar the inevitable, derivative and not-too-able Ringo. Earning his taste for Proxy over Prowess during--what? his competition to put out the first solo record?--Paul's solo work was always remarkably slight and thin at best, prompting assumptions (from me as well) that he needed Lennon to add his heft. He remained a fine bassist, and he delivered a post-era classic with Band on the Run, but the majority of Macca's Wings output was ridiculously lightweight and sub-par. No "For No One" or "Eleanor Rigby" or "Cry Baby Cry" or "I'm Looking Through You" from this guy--he spent all of his effort setting the standard for the ideal pop song, and then ran out while others ran with his style and trumped it.

3) HOWEVER: Paul was no worse a solo artist than Lennon. That's right, too--Lennon's body of work was just as sub-par and thin, but in a different way. Paul may have remained a slight balladeer, but Lennon's creativity and originality throughout his career sounds as if it was waning just as much as Macca's popcraft talent ("Well Well Well"? "Crippled Inside"). Lennon may have been smarter, but they both faltered equally, musically. And both were corrupted by wives--Linda and Yoko both detracted from the quality of the former duo's work in ways, even if one of them was quite talented on her own (Yoko, yeah).

4) FINALLY: Post Wings, McCartney remains one of the most respectable and affable pop personalities out there, and with the 80s and even the 90s gone, he's come back stronger than most of the shit that's out there today. Driving Rain is a great work, and if the man has a few more albums in him, I'm sure he's working his way toward his next Band on the Run. That's me on Paul for you--thank you, good night.

David Ellis <> (4.05.2002)

You know Ive heard enough rubbish nocking Paul.To tell you the truth most of you critics dont like Paul because he certainly makes any artist you can bring up look sick.You know weather you like him or not the guy has more talent than most artists around..What gets me is some of the most popular stars now days only come up with at the most 6 hits etc. in their career. Let me tell you this guy is in the guinness book of records. And the only reason you knock him is because people admire his work,and that alone gets in most of you critics crawl.But let me tell you one thing you cant knock success,so deal with it critics.

Bruno Müller <> (06.05.2002)

When it comes to Paul McCartney, people would be delighted to slap at his face if they only had the chance. It bothers me not only because he shouldn’t have anything else to prove to the world as an artist. It’s because they stick to his own personality to better fit him as some kind of “demon of pop crap”. On the other hand, we have “Saint John Lennon”.

God, how I hate these narrow-minded discussions! And yet, here am I going into one. Just for the sake of the comparison, we have another very popular evil vs. good battle on rock world: from Pink Floyd, Dave Gilmour fitting the “role” of Paul and Roger Waters, the “role” of John. Can’t people just put things in perspective?

Yes, I know. Paul is phony, money-maker, apolitical… sometimes, just as everyone! And so were these two “gods”, John Lennon and Roger Water. Don’t get me wrong, I love these guys. But John could be hateful as many times as Paul. I love John’s political engagement but can’t you see how authoritarian he was sometimes? Can you imagine how many grieve George Harrison held against him, as much as he held against Paul? Talking about Roger Waters. The way Roger claims that the music of Pink Floyd is only HIS music. The clear fact that he’s not the most tolerant people in the world. He claims to hate big concerts, compared them to the nazi multitudes in The Wall. This didn’t stop him from doing a huge tour just to prove that he’s better them all the other three floydmen. How noble of his (and yet, it didn’t stop me going to his concert and enjoying every minute). It doesn’t change the fact that he’s a member of Amnesty International, and that he’s a great lyricist. So… every public person is condemned to be judged by his acts, and they can be as contradictory as any human being – they’re no gods, after all.

Back to Paul, who’s supposed to be the person in question… I know that music is what matters, but I can’t stand people smashing him as some stupid bad character. He’s had his share of political songs, sad songs about lonely people (“Ahh, look at all the lonely people”), participation in charity projects, pacifist statements and so on. Yes, I know this proves nothing about his personality, but at least shows us he’s not the apolitical person people say. Even if he were – how many musicians are engaged in campaigns? How many political songs you get from the Stones? And what about the medieval digressions of most of the prog bands, which didn’t seem to care very much about the real world? So why should just Sir McCartney be judged for not fitting in the revolutionary stereotype? He’s music’s not so alienated as people claim, but, even if it were, it would prove nothing either.

I’m perfectly aware of his flaws of character. It doesn’t make him a “bad guy”. Everyone has flaws of character! He’s fond of making money as much as 90% of the world population, but he doesn’t do it by exploiting other people’s work. He certainly didn’t do it to Denny Laine, and Denny didn’t even had enough talent to make it worth – Wings was Paul’s band, and he even let poor Denny write some songs. His fortune doesn’t come from crashing country’s economies, like George Soros does, for instance. So, he managed to make money in a somewhat fair way, even if releasing some of his records only for the sake of selling – something that some artists simply live for. By the way: smoking pipe defines you as a bad father?! I won’t even go further in this discussion. If it were heroin, MAYBE it would be worthy.

For those who say Paul should retire, well, he did help his critics for years. But I think it should be unnecessary to say that one should do what he/she wants for a living, until he/she’s not harming others. His crap records didn’t do any serious harm to the world. And now he redeemed himself with an excellent album, Driving Rain. So, I hope that Paul keeps going, even if for the worse. If he releases another Press to Play… well, it’s just a matter of not buying it.

After all, Paul might be such a polemic person to rock fans and the “favorite” of the critics. But ask what musicians think about him and his music. Most of great musicians respect both the man and his work and proclaim the Beatles and/or Paul as a major influence. To mention some: Pete Townshend (aka “the genius”), Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, Sting. Case closed! I stay with those guys – I can’t go wrong with them.

Now, finally talking about music. That’s what should count. For everything stupid he wrote, there must be two prime-time masterpieces. Many prog rockers intend to do art. Most of the time, they only pretend to do so. But Paul’s music is diverse, experimental, daring… and long lasting. Now, excuse me for a very personal thought: Paul’s song “1985” is worthier than the whole ELP career.

He’s not virtuous? It doesn’t change the fact that he’s one of the most influential bass players in rock, and he deserves that, once he kind of re-defined the instrument. Not only rhythm – HE was the first rock musician to take also melody out of his bass. My favorite bass solo? Forget about Chris Squire. Chris is fantastic, but “Picasso’s Last Words” has the most beautiful, melodic bass solo I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t have to be intriguing and complex to do so.

Now getting to Paul’s skills at songwriting. Everyone who says Paul can’t write lyrics should take a look at some of the lyrics of Band on the Run, Venus and Mars or Tug of War. Easier: just take a look at some of his Beatles songs. Only bias can justify claiming that he can’t write. He’s not the best, and Lennon is certainly better – of course, Lennon was a poet, not a simple songwriter. But just show me how many rockers can write lyrics such as “The End” (simple and beautiful), “Eleanor Rigby”, “Blackbird”, “Two of Us”, “Got to Get You into My Life” – by the way, did you know this one was about drugs? Think about the line “another kind of mind”. Paul’s silly love songs hide some tricks for us – isn’t that a good way to analyze the quality of good lyrics? Its possibilities of interpretation? Enjoy the experience of reading the lyrics of “Rinse the Raindrops”, from his last album. Take a serious look at “The Long and Winding Road”. Is it only a “silly love song”? If you think so, you’re the kind of people that think love songs are silly only because they’re love songs. Other people associate pretentiousness to talent. Well, “Band on the Run”, “Mamunia”, “Get on the Right Thing”, “Magneto and Titanium Man”, “Lonely Old People” are all but pretentious. But are those words banal? “Hi Hi Hi” is an explicit celebration of the slogan “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”. Who did it better? The list is infinite. People tend to take simplicity for simplism. Shame. Most of Paul’s lyrics stand right where they belong and go straight to the point. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s still good.

By the way, he DID have written about his mother, unlike Morten said. His most famous song, “Yesterday” speaks exactly of the lost of her. Also “Let It Be” was dedicated to her (“mother Mary” is his mother, not the Jesus mother). Though I personally agree with those who claim Paul is a genius, I would only wish that people could be a little bit more aware of the diversity of human personality. I don’t want anyone to like Paul or his music. A little respect would be just fine. Paul wrote pop crap and good pop (and so did other great rock musicians). So we’re even? No! Paul’s got the edge because he didn’t stick only to the “silly love songs”, either lovely or hateful. He was also courageous enough to try different things – and some didn’t work, but we should agree that it’s worth the effort. It’s much easier to sit back and release the same recycled album every year. And most of the time, his experimentations in albums and songs were very successful, at least in the seventies. Wings’ albums never sound the same, and that’s a quality we only see in two other bands: The Beatles post-1966 (Oh! Paul was here too!) and Pink Floyd.

Wings’ works are, at least, as significant as those from the great bands of the seventies. Band on the Run goes beyond: it’s the best solo effort from an ex-Beatle (sorry, Harrison) and comparable to the band’s best albums. But the Wings weren’t only as strong as the great bands its time. It was the most diverse of them, putting out songs that would range from one style to another. That’s why the Wings are simply impossible to label. They’re obviously not pop. They had pop songs, but tons of good rock that could sound as hard, prog, glam or even heavy metal. Not to mention their jazzy songs.

In conclusion, I might say that I’m not so sure that the “art” of Keith Emerson will be remembered and respected a hundred years from now (though I suppose the art – no quotation this time – of Robert Fripp will). By that time, though, people will look at Paul the way they look at Cole Porter or George Gershwin – a gifted composer of popular music, as complex and artistic as it can be.

Dan Hogg <> (08.07.2002)

Ahhh...good old Paul. The most accessible Beatle, musically. It's no coincidence I went to his solo stuff first after hearing all the Beatles stuff I could possibly get my hands on. I can't say he's my favorite Beatle, but then again, I can't say any of them are. They all have their merits, and putting one over the other is unthinkable. Paul's the most accessible, and also the most dumped-on by the critics. I guess most people hear just his radio singles and dismiss them. Too bad for them though, I always felt his most popular radio singles were different from regular album tracks, more slick and tailored for radio. And some aren't great ("My Love", "Silly Love Songs"), but others are fine ("Live and Let Die", "Let Em In"). My Macca collection isn't complete; it's highly unlikely I'll get Wild Life, Speed of Sound, McCartney II, Pipes of Peace, or your personal favorite Press To Play (hehe) anytime soon. I've gotten a few mp! 3's from these albums, I'll comment on them here.

"Wild Life" is absolutely hilarious. The lyrics and Paul's 'primal screams' are laughably awful. Aminals in a zooo! From II, I've heard the original "Coming Up", which is a lot better than the live version that was more popular in the U.S. Then there's "Waterfalls", whose refrain was stolen by TLC in the mid '90s for their huge hit of the same name. From Pipes of Peace, the title track is all right, but the mega-hit "Say Say Say" is way too slick, even with Jacko. From Press to Play, I know the catchy but lyrically weak "Press", and the movie theme "Spies Like Us", one of the worst songs made by any Beatle. Oh, and I downloaded "Pretty Little Head", heard it once, and it gave me a headache. That alone will ensure I never get the album.

Anyway, moral of story: Paul is good. The End.

Vincent Earley <> (23.07.2002)

There is much to be said about someone who was such an active participant in the history of pop music and culture. The fact that there is so much to say must be a testament to the man's presence in our lives for decades. Is he a great solo artist? Was he a great Beatle? Is he technically a good musician? Song-writer? That is all up to those that love his music.....or hate it. Standing in as the authority and commenting will only express your personal views in the end. The thing I want to express is that Paul McCartney was a member of a group of individuals who found themselves at the podium when the world was ready for them. People weren't just having indiscriminate sex....they were having a sexual revolution. They weren't just getting waisted, they were expanding their minds. Paul McCartney was not The Beatle, but one of them. His music was still the product of all of their efforts. With the exception of "Yesterday" I don't believe there was anything that he did that was completely void of the rest. Yes, they did an awful lot of recording alone in the latter days, but those tracks wouldn't be what they are without Lennon, Harrison, and Star recording their parts. McCartney's music now, apart from the obvious variances in creative and environmental influences would undoubtedly have allot more impact with a little help from his friends. Many of you just say something quick like "he sucks" which would be fine if you didn't spend 500 words explaining that wonderfully simple statement. Many of you folks go after him as if he betrayed your expectations and perhaps he did if you were to have fallen for the larger than life picture that George Martin painted for you. After all, that was his job and he was very good at it. Some of you think he was an asshole now since you are privy to the facts behind the scenes. These are details that are kept from the public for good reason. They show the manifestation of humanity. Paul was arrogant and selfish sometimes, George was a whiner and introverted sometimes, John was rude and insensitive sometimes, and Ringo was naive sometimes. They were also capable of huge fits of kindness I am sure. If you personally think he sucks then move on. If you think the Beatles sucked, then you are strange, but....well...there it is. I think he was a good musician. He was on time, creative enough to provide good quality material for the band and its' management to process into good solid hits, he had a good voice with plenty of range, and he was part of a team. His solo efforts are just that. Uno.....apart from the team. Or are they? What of the other band members? I know I would hate to always be known as the guitarist for Paul's latest solo effort. How long does he actually have a solo career anyway? The fact one that digs the Beatles will ever completely see Paul McCartney outside of the Beatles. Everything he does, therefore, will be a solo effort.

I am like some of the others here that mentioned that his best work was not what was thrown on the compilations or played on the radio. It's the ones that are left in the obscurity of the B-sides and the albums. He has a huge collection of music and I don't think he is really a good authority on his own music....heh heh. Not everything is excellent, but I wasn't much of a "Within You Without You" fan either.

He is a musician folks. Quite accomplished. It isn't just a name carrying him. That's what he does for a living. He has seen Drop D before. He's done the 12 Bars. He helped innovate much of what we take for granted today in the recording studio. There are people getting inducted into the Hall of Fame now that made hits utilizing techniques that he helped create. He still has a huge following, and not just because of his Beatle status. I know an awful lot of people who like his music that really could care less about the Beatles, but I wager that there are allot of young people who have studied the Beatles AFTER getting into McCartney first .He doesn't need the hype of MTV to make it nor does he really need to plug his album on late night television, although the practice thereof is hardly strange or unordinary being that every actor and musician does the same thing.

So....that's what I think of Paul McCartney. I like his music sometimes. Other times I don't, which I can say about any musician or performer.....including myself. He is an excellent bassist, vocalist, and songwriter. I believe that is much better than given credit for here and elsewhere. Just because he doesn't rip out a bunch of showboat doesn't mean he can't. You don't write a bazillion songs and remain a musician for a bazillion years and not become proficient. I believe his music was better when given the harder edge of Lennon's pessimism just as I believe that Lennon's music was much better when complimented with Paul's optimism, but that was the team thing and I'm sure that put in any situation in any genre of music be it modern or vintage, he could produce something of quality. He just chooses to write music in his own way and he can do that. He always has. He is, after all, Paul McCartney.

Max Makovec <> (05.10.2002)

I think Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of pop music. But things are not that simple. On the other hand, he has produced some of the greatest crap I've ever listened to.

In the mid-Seventies, McCartney has created his own wonderful style. Think of songs like "London Town", "Venus And Mars", "Let Me Roll It", etc.etc. I have to admit I'm in love with that kind of songs, even with some whole LP's (Band on the Run especially), because they all have an unbelievable charm to me. Even the songs by (or with) Laine ("1985", "Deliver Your Children",...) have such a kind of groove so that I can't stand still to it or have to sing (if no one is next to me).

But the more I am in love with stuff from these period, the more I am disappointed by the following albums. Things began to go worse on Back to the Egg. There are still good songs on it, but I cannot tell it a masterpiece in whole anymore. I'm no more satisfied with it. And that's the same with the offensively boring 80's-stuff as with the more acceptable newer albums. For example, I would never have given Off the Ground a higher grade than Wings at the Speed of Sound, even if there are some better songs on it than on the latter. The Wings albums flow, after that, I think, he lost his style. Another example: Tug of War has wonderful songs, but on the other hand songs like "What's that You're Doing" or "Dress Me up as a Robber" come and I haven't got nay more fun to listen to the album. That isn't the case on Wings albums like London Town (with one exception, I must admit; "Cook of the House" disrupts the flow of Speed of Sound a bit...).

One more thing annoys me with the latter Paul: why the hell did he produce so much pointless, even annoying, albums in the 90's??? Think of Unplugged where he sometimes tries to imitate Elvis a bit on some Rock'n'Roll tunes and presents the old Beatles stuff as lame and boring as I never thought it could be played. Buaaah!!! Or think of Run Devil Run! "Blue Jean Bop" is silly and lame and "Party" is nothing but aggressive. Try to dance to it a bit, for me IT WORKS NOT THE SLIGHTEST BIT!!! but despite all of that, I'm happy to have all the bad things he made, because otherwise I would never have seen how brilliant his really good things really are.

P.S. Thank you George for praising "Deliver Your Children" so high. YOu are so right!! Without you, I had never realized that this song is indeed one of the best I know...

<> (02.03.2003)

I'm so glad to see that George had good things to say about Sir Paul. McCartney's solo work gets a fair amount of bashing which I feel to be unnecessary. The man could write songs in his sleep and play them all himself if he had to, and most musicians aren't fit to carry his jock strap. Sure he released some crap. I mean when I listen to 'Temporary Secretary' off of McCartney II I think to myself "he had to have been stoned. He just had to have been." His eighties stuff had some good moments. If 'My Brave Face' or 'Put It There' would've been recorded in 1965, they would've gone straight to number one. McCartney always knows what the audience wants and how to craft a song so that the chorus will remain in your head long after you hear it. I mean "someone's knocking at the door, someone's ringing the bell?" Something most of us say every day, we just didn't think to put it to music. He did...number one single. Band On The Run in my opinion should be in every fan's collection. Plain and simple. One of the finest albums ever made and nearly every song dealing with flight and freedom make it truly an exciting listen. But don't discount Venus and Mars either, a lot of great music on that one too. McCartney in his solo career has now actually outsold the Beatles in terms of actual sales. He's also made some wonderful music on his own and he's still referred to as an "ex Beatle." Must make him want to slit his wrists. A love song as powerful as 'My Love', a rocker as fun as 'Jet', the man can do it all...and he's still doing it. I truly believe that McCartney will never sit back and simply rest on his laurels. He will always be doing what he truly loves. His influence is felt from countless musicians to fans around the world right down to your humble author contributing this paragraph for you here. A good place to start is Wings Over America. It is a great live album and collects all his early solo hits into one place.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (28.07.99)

He sounds happy to make this album, and get away from The Beatles. At times, he sounds like he's having too much fun (a problem that would return for Flaming Pie), such as "Momma Miss America" , and that horrid piece at the end where Paul tries to prove he could play drums. Where's Ringo when you need him? The rest is pretty good though. Not genius or groundbreaking in any way, just fun. "Junk" is such a great song! "Maybe I'm Amazed" was really the only song on here (excpet maybe "Every Night") that would have succeded as a single. I looooove that song!!!! "Oo You" isn't that exciting, but not bad. Same goes for "That Would Be Something." I agree with you also about "Hot As Sun (Glasses)." My rating-8

Cole <> (18.08.99)

Gahh! What kind of crap is this? I mean, he made Ram right after -this- album? Hysterics aside, I think he should have spent more time on this and just let Ringo put his album out first. The inane grooves (I can't even begin to list individual song titles) really don't amount to much, but two songs on here are absolutely brilliant: "Junk" has a simply beautiful melody to it, and "Maybe I'm Amazed" is undoubtedly the first solo Paul classic. And... I have to admit, I like the dopey opening track "Lovely Linda". Come to think of it, there are more moments on here than at first I thought. "Singalong Junk", that karaoke version of "Junk", is still absolutely wonderful--I think the Mellotron in there is a nice touch. I have to say, though, that this just isn't the sort of thing that I'd expect from Paul, what with his impeccible production values and such. Five stars, or whatever you call your rating thing.

Mats Fjäll <> (28.11.99)

Hmmm...this is a tricky one! It has some great stuff and some really bad stuff!

At least to the overall-listener, I mean you don't want to hear a drum solo on a Macca-record, unless you're a huge fan. The good stuff is 'Maybe I'm Amazed' (wich Paul thinks is his best post-Beatles song) and 'Junk'. If you're in the mood even 'Teddy Boy' can be nice, all though I like the version on Beatles Anthology 3 better.

Paul played all the instruments by himself(except for some backin' vocals from Linda) and it's great to hear that he really can play! There's a lot of people telling me that the Beatles only made nice melodies, but couldn't handle their instruments.On this one Macca shows us that he can handle all the important instruments in pop music! (which he also did on 'Back in the U.S.S.R' from "the white album") I give McCartney a 6.

João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

This album is, like others Paul would later record, a relaxing record, and not one that you can take too seriously. On 'Maybe I'm Amazed' and 'Every Night', he sounds like he's trying to really make an album. In other places, like 'Hot As Sun', 'The Lovely Linda', and 'Man We Was Lonely', he does some nice melodies. But in many places, he ends up sounding like there's something missing ('Valentine's Day' and 'Oo-You'). 'Kreen-Akrore' is terrible, and 'Teddy Boy' is pretty forgettable. The Anthology version is defintely better. I'd give this album a 6.

Jeff Blehar <> (08.02.2000)

Paul McCartney does his version of Lennon's The Wedding Album; equally impromptu but thankfully quite a bit more melodic and listenable. This one has been on the receiving end of quite a bit of critical nastiness over the years, perhaps because people expected a more sweeping statement from a primary Beatle's first full-fledged solo album. (It certainly doesn't compare to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band or All Things Must Pass; on the other hand, it blows Sentimental Journey all to hell.) However, time has been very kind to this one, and I for one find it a really enjoyable, if slight work. Sure those instrumentals are somewhat superfluous, but if we can enjoy Dylan's "Nashville Skyline Rag" and "Wig-wam" (which we can) we can enjoy "Momma Miss America" and the interesting experiment "Hot As Sun/Glasses," the second half of which is made by playing just that - glasses. (Also, there's an uncredited bit at the end there of an otherwise unreleased McCartney song, "Suicide" - the edit is seemingly random and the song is almost incomphrensible, which makes for a nice air of mysteriousness.)

As for the songs, they're almost all catchy, melodic, if ultimately inessential tracks. "Oo You" positively grooves, while "Junk" is charming and spooky nonsense. Of all the lyrica songs, only "Teddy Boy" is trash - The Beatles were right to reject this one, and John Lennon gave it lack of respect it richly deserved (as heard on Anthology 3) by calling out square-dance steps to it. "Every Night" is quite a strong little song in this context, and "Maybe I'm Amazed" is possibly, after all these years, still McCartney's finest tribute to Linda. The most impressive aspect of "Maybe I'm Amazed" is the fact that it achieves a fairly tight ensemble groove, despite the fact that McCartney of course played all the instruments and overdubbed each separately. For an "assembled" recording, it sounds convincingly "real." While nothing else on the album really compares to that one (and while the track "Kreen Akrore" is a waste of tape), this album has a warm, laid-back feel to it that works much more successfully than the later Wings Wild Life does. I'll give it a 7/10 (or an 11/15) and recommend it with caution: don't come to this for a purely musical experience, as its charms have more to do with the mood it evokes than any compositional showmanship.

Darren Bowers <> (17.06.2000)

With all of this albums short comings, it's still a very underestimated album. It's just painful to listen to these songs and seeing that they could have been polished and ended up on the next Beatles album. It sounds like these songs are brain storms of what was going to come next from Pauls input into the band. Due to the unforeseen circumstances, and the tribulation between the fab four which eventually led to them breaking up, these songs ended up on a solo project which paul recorded at his home studio. Basically Paul was very devastated about the break up and recorded this album to keep himself busy and to heal. This was at the lowest point in Paul's life. He was very depressed and feeling helpless after the Beatles dissolved. He needed something to bring him through all the nasty mess he ws going through. although there is a lot of filler, but not bad filler, there are some gems which hold up the rest of the record. Highlights would include "That would be something", "Every night," Teddy boy," and the awesome "Baby I'm amazed." The rest of the album is just charming but slight. The biggest credit on this album is that it's a one man band. Paul basically played every instrument by himself on the album. Best out of ten. I would give this album 7 1/2 for effort. It could have been a classic with maybe two or three more focused songs. It's hard to watch him fall from the olympic heights of the Beatles, but it wasn't that far of a fall. Although he would never musically achieve his greatness oh the Beatles again, his solo career is still engaging. He came pretty darn close a few times in reaching those dizzying heights, but never quit made it.

Robert Tally <> (02.08.2000)

It's hard for me to assess the merits of this album, since it's been in my family since it was first released (right before I turned 7). At that time, I just wanted to hear catchy melodies, and this album provided those in abundance. It also seems to have a cozy rural quality that I find appealing. And it's also notably Beatlesque. So I still enjoy hearing it, what with all of its nostalgic significance.

However, if I take a purely critical view of it, I tend to walk away thinking that the album is generally disposable. Sure, there's a few really decent tunes here ('Maybe I'm Amazed', 'Junk', 'Every Night'), but there are just as many - if not more - mediocre songs ('That Would Be Something', 'Teddy Boy', 'Oo You', 'Man We Was Lonely') - and that's including only the full-fledged songs! I haven't even gotten to the ditties and instrumentals! Not that these more mediocre tracks are bad - each one is enjoyable to some extent - they just aren't up to the standards that Beatles fans expected in 1970. And, well, they're not up to the standards of most really good rock artists - people that I would think should have included Paul McCartney.

Oh, and the ditties and instrumentals? I actually like some of those. In fact, I really enjoy listening to 'Kreen-Akrore'. (I'm the only one on the planet, aren't I?) It isn't so much that Paul's drumming is bad (it's not great, but he plays them pretty well here) - it's that they're produced so badly. It sounds like he's playing cardboard boxes. The bottom line, though, is that Paul's drum 'solo' is creative, if not technically impressive. It's unexpected. And the instrumental accompaniment is effective. Most of the other instrumentals are enjoyable, but that's about as much as I feel like talking about them.

This is definitely not something to take to the proverbial desert-island, but it's OK. Especially if you forget that this guy had just finished being one of the two main creative forces behind the Beatles.

Dan Miller <> (07.12.2000)

In my opinion 'Maybe Im Amazed' is the best composition by any of the beatles, both pre and post the break up. The mind absolutely boggles as to how it has been neglected by the general public and beatles fans in general for the last 30 years.

In my opinion, the fact that this song gets such little recognition is the perfect example to demonstrate the way pauls songs are unfairly ignored and dismissed as sentimental pap.

The album as a whole I find has many parrallels with lennons plastic ono band. Both are the ultimate statements from two of the most successful songwriters ever, both demonstrate perfectly their complementary talents, (Pauls gift of melody and his talent as a multi-instrumentalist, and Johns ability to convey his most personal feelings with remarkably raw emotion and honesty), and both are deliberate moves to get away from the highly produced Beatles sound.

To me the album has an incredibly warm sound to it, and though much of it is little more than a musical doodle, I find there is much to be admired. I initially thought he was nuts, putting so many instrumentals on his first solo record, but it now seems like an obvious choice. Every one was expecting paul to produce an over blown album of grand stature, high production values, and epic melodies, instead he did the reverse - to me that is the mark of a truly sincere artist and musical talent.

'Every Night', the beautiful 'Junk' ( a message Im sure many people have neglected the importance of),  'Teddy Boy' ( Im sure this one is about John), and the 'why dont we do it in the road' sequel 'That would be something' are the other standouts on the album, along with the instrumental 'Hot As Sun'.   Commercially this could have benefited from the inclusion of something like his demo of 'Come & Get It' (Anthology 3), from the same period I think it would have added a little bit more listenability value to it, but other than that, i wouldnt have wanted anything more from his first solo effort.

Many called Plastic Ono Band the first "confessional" rock record. McCartney was apparently the first rock record to be written produced, arranged and performed by one artist, beating Stevie Wonder by a year. [Actually, the first rock record to be released by one artist - Roy Wood had his first solo record, where he wrote, played and arranged everything, recorded a year before; unfortunately, it didn't come out until 1973 - G.S.].

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.12.2000)

What great cover! You know, there's a proverb in England which says that life is like a plate full of cherries.But it's empty on the cover and cherries lie near it! What does it mean?....

But let's get to the album itself. It's rather nice but it's too far from Paul's seventies standarts. Maybe because Paul had noone to help him with instruments (even Linda was useless - Paul hadn't taught her playing on harmonies or piano). And it's famous story about Paul playing firstly only guitar then drums then piano then ... It's incredible but Paul managed to make his first solo-album rather listenable and enjoyable.There're no bad songs at all! 'Maybe I'm amazed' is the best song here without any doubt. Others are just cute numbers. Oh,no I forgot about one really great song! It's 'Oo you'. Mmm... How I like it! But even with this song album can't get more than 7/10.

Come on, all together now:'Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You Love Me All The Time Maybe I'm Afraid Of The Way I Love You...'

<> (09.02.2001)

For a debut album it's not too bad.It's got some mini classics and some bloopers that could have been left off.He proves he can play various instruments which is nice to hear,it's got a sparse feel to it which is unusual for Paul but it works ok."The lovely linda" is still one of my favourites on this album such a sweet little tribute."That would be something" and "Valentine day" are ok but nothing mindblowing."Every night" is still a beautifal little song and very underrated. I agree with you wholeheartedly about "Hot as sun/glasses" if you don't love it instantly your mad,andhe was only 14 when he wrote it.Born talented this guy!"Junk" sounds so lonely and sad it nearly makes you cry."Man we was lonely" is my favourite on this album,the way that it opens with that guitar is superb and it's just so jolly."OO you" cool song(more guitar) "Momma miss america" superb bass playing(rock and roll spring tome take one)Sorry George but i loove! "Teddy boy" it's a nice little story and! gets better with every listen."Singalong junk" is one of my dad's favourites and he hardly knows any Paul McCartney songs."Maybe i'm amazed" is a big classic but not one of my favs,i think he wrote better songs but we'll beg to differ."Kreen-akrore" is pretty bad and onr i've never loved.Great album,cool debut and off he went.9/10 for it

Palash Ghosh <> (17.02.2001)

I've always loved this album, particularly its 'home-made' quality. The best cuts are 'Junk,' 'Oo you,' 'Teddy boy' (a Beatles reject) and of course the extraordinary, 'Maybe I'm amazed' (which would be more highly regarded if it had the glittering Beatles name attached to it. 'Maybe I'm amazed' is comparable to Badfinger's 'Day after day' in that they're both powerful, moving, gloriously soaring and tough love songs. I actually like Paul's arrangement here, each verse has a slightly different backing part.

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

In 1970,it was a severe disappointment.The critics didn't like it and who can blame them?Half of the tracks are half-baked (the instrumentals are all rubbish).Compared to the 1970 albums all things must pass JLPOB and let it be it's rather flabby.Even Ringo's beaucoups of blues was made with more care and respect for the public. There's one really great track"maybe I'm amazed",2 or 3 good ones (junk,every night,teddy boy) and here we are.

Ryan Maffei <> (18.03.2002)

The story you include in your review about competition with Ringo says it all, George: this record is rushed, underdeveloped crap, and why it's so highly praised escapes me. Imagine hearing tunes like "Cry Baby Cry" and "Eleanor Rigby" from this guy during his tenure with the Beatles, and suddenly having an album released by him where a "highlight" is the dumb, redundant pseudo blues of "That Would Be Something".

I don't find any personality in the instrumentals--to me, they smell like tossoffs. Only the spare, lovely "Junk" and the album's sole classic "Maybe I'm Amazed" (which proves Paul had a great record in him somewhere) succeed fully. How ironic that the man's longtime career of being a blatant commercial hack is heralded in his first album. I'd give McCartney a 4/10. The Ringo Starr record is better in that it's at the very least crafted; I myself don't think an effort by Ringo deserves less than a half-of-an-effort by McCartney.

Max Makovec <> (07.10.2002)

Oh, what to say about McCartney? Now, I agree with you that brilliant melodies are existing. But what with the arrangements and lyrics?

The first time I hear McCartney I was mostly really disappointed about the stuff I heard - and still I am. I really can't see the point of most of the songs. "The Lovely Linda" is just a short idea, something you play to your girl-/boyfriend when you're alone with her/him and want to tell your love, but that's it. "That Would Be Something", "Oo You" and "Every Night" are also just ideas - not even bad ones -, but only with an average arrangement and absolutely neccessarily some other people taking musical and creative influence and playing with Paul, they would be great songs, I think. The instrumentals - except "Singalong Junk" - seem pointless and boring to me, "Hot As Sun" is too easy to be brilliant and the others come up with a weak arrangement (inclusive "Kreen - Akrore", I never have listened to such a dull and monotonous tune... OK, almost never...). The only songs I'm able to enjoy are "(Singalong) Junk" (which I think is even better than "Maybe I'm Amazed"), the latter one amd "Teddy Boy", that's optimistic and uplifting not without being plain and superficial. I think, if Paul would have made a creative break, forgot the Beatles-rumours and had produced these collection of ideas maybe with some other musicians and some time later, he would probably have produced an album as great as his greatest Wings stuff. A 6 or 7 for this album (it's a pity...).

Bill Slocum <> (19.02.2004)

A solid album only in retrospect - let's face it, when you have a ton of solo McCartney records to hold on to after this one, it doesn't annoy nearly so much as it must have done in 1970, when it was not only the only solo statement from McCartney (barring his soundtrack work on The Family Way film two years before) but the de jure reason for breaking up the Beatles. No one in 1970 knew the Fabs were history more because of Yoko and Allen Klein than "Kreen-Akrore," and McCartney's first venture into solodom would pay a price that it would take years to heal.

I don't think McCartney stands the test of time as a great album. It is a good one, though, with one great, no preternaturally classic, song. Actually, if "Maybe I'm Amazed" wasn't on this, the rest of McCartney would be more Self-Portrait than Nashville Skyline, a self-affected statement of solo purpose, albeit with some charm, rather than a low-key serving of musical richness that grows more generous on repeat listens. "Maybe I'm Amazed" might be seen as a kind of "Lay Lady Lay" in this way, though not as good as "Lay Lady Lay" because it's actually better. [Though in fairness to Dylan it should be added that "Lay Lady Lay" wasn't weighed down by so many underbaked instrumentals around it. Also, there's nothing in the way of a second-tier classic on McCartney to compare with "Girl From The North Country," "I Threw It All Away," or "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You.")

You have the right idea about championing this album, George, particuarly songs like "That Would Be Something," "Junk," and "Every Night," joyful tuneful excursions all. I find myself nodding along to your bold comments more than I'd like, though that's often so when you're talking about McCartney. "Oo You" works on me, too, enough to think it a classic, and so to some extent does every other tune, even "Kreen-Akrore." This album is good, at times very, very good. But you can't tell people it's the place to go if you love Macca's hits and crave deeper communion with The Cute One. He's too scattershot here, footloose and fancyfree in a way he isn't on Ram, a much, much better album, though one lacking the single absolutely essential pop rock classic McCartney has.

Regarding that one classic on this album: Do you know when our former President Richard Nixon died, Ben Stein, a former Nixon speechwriter who went on to some form of minor celebrity as a game show host, felt compelled to pull a quote from Sir Paul's first major opus in explaining what his former boss was all about to the readers of New York magazine? "Maybe I'm a lonely man/In the middle of something/That he doesn't really understand."

As Watergate apologists go, that isn't so terribly effective, but Stein I think was referring to the larger sea change of American culture in the early 1970s Nixon found himself submerged in. Anyway, it kind of points up how strong McCartney could be lyrically when he wanted to be, that he could speak to people about matters completely different than his personal situation with wife Linda (which is the focus of "Maybe I'm Amazed" after all, and the rest of the album.) I kind of get what Ben Stein was talking about, though probably if Paul hired roadies like John Mitchell and G. Gordon Liddy, he would only have had himself to blame, too. Anyway, I liked the fact Stein was listening to what was on the radio when his boss was still occupying the White House. It makes me appreciate what Lennon said, about how Paul could write could lyrics when he wanted to (and more often than Lennon or many other critics cared to admit.)


Simon Hearn <> (14.09.99)

Hmm?.. It seems to me that on RAM Paul purposely abandoned the over production of Abbey Road and let the songs speak for themselves. This is not to slag off Abbey Road, of course - this albums just shows another side to Mccartney. 'Monkberry Moon Delight' shows he could still rock after he left the fab four and 'Uncle Albert' is typical mccartney - a sweet pop song that on this occasion manages to avoid the tweeness of subsequent efforts. This proves that Mccartney is one of the most melodic songwriters EVER.

Jason <> (21.09.99)

I remember reading somewhere RAM was like a hollow chocolate egg--smooth and enticing outside, but gooey and empty inside. bullshit. pure and utter human waste.

RAM kicks ass! and you know what? i like it so damn much that my revolver album's showing signs of jealousy. what a shame it wasn't a beatles album, eh? throw in some of john's stuff from past masters vol 2, george's tracks from yellow submarine, and maybe even a ringo in the mix and hey---! you've got something there!! thanx for giving it the praise and respect it deserved.

João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

I like the off-the-cuff sound this album has. There are lots of neat production tricks and beautiful melodies. Paul's vocals are brilliant, and the guitar sound is interesting. That said, there are some things I don't like about this album: the lyrics seem constantly inane, and sometimes the production is too off the cuff: it sounds dangerously home made and unrehearsed in places. That said, I'd give it an 8.

Myris Collett <> (29.01.2000)

you're right on target great album. 'back seat of my car' is a great song. i give this album a 9

Patrick Niesink <> (01.02.2000)

I found your site while looking for reviews of McCartney's Ram, which I just heard for the first time. (I'm not that young, just busy!) You're dead right about it by the way. A wonderful, lighthearted album. The songs seem to flow out of McCartney almost effortlessly, and he seems to be really enjoying himself. "Ram On" just blew me away, and I can't get "Too Many People" out of my head, in spite of the stuck-up lyrics.

Jeff Blehar <> (08.02.2000)

Well this one is just marvelous! Ram manages to sound simultaneously both off-the-cuff and slickly produced at once, and that is no mean feat. Now I can understand why the critics took their hatchets out on this one, as it's got little or no lyrical meaning - let's face it, songs like "Monkberry Moon Delight" and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" exist for the sake of the music alone - but screw it! This is one of the only times where I'll happily pitch my reservations out the window and sink into the absolutely luxurious melodies and gorgeous production gimmicks. Other than "Monkberry Moon Delight" which never did a damn thing for me (I think the Zeppelinisms here are strained and phony sounding, unlike those on the wonderful bonus track "Oh Woman, Oh Why?"), there isn't really a wasted track on here: "Too Many People" is an absolute classic, with stinging guitar, wonderful melody lines, and a surprisingly incisive lyric that's only a faintly veiled attack on Lennon. "3 Legs" originally irked me, but now gets me bobbing my head, while "Ram On" is a beautiful ukelele tune that deserves its reprise (although there's no particular conceptual reason for its existence) - and note that McCartney launches into "Big Barn Bed" right at the end of the reprise. I just love picking things like that up! What else? Well, "Long Haired Lady" has the best melody on an album packed with them, while the two singles, "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (the US choice) and "The Back Seat Of My Car" (the UK release) are both great production pieces. I actually prefer the latter, both because it's underexposed and because there's a certain desperation about it that's representative of not only this album but of all of McCartney's albums up to Band On The Run (where it's made into the explicit centerpiece).

This is an aspect of these albums that I've never heard anyone comment on before, and yet I don't think it simply exists in my head. Throughout all of Paul's pre-1973 albums runs a current of desperation - not hopelessness, but the beleaguered sound of someone on the run from his past. Over and over he tries to prove himself on each of these albums, whether it's by stripping the sound down (McCartney and Wings Wild Life) or by making a big production out of it (Ram and Red Rose Speedway). I mean, he always had commercial approval, but I just get this image that he's scrambling for more, struggling for respect that's constantly being denied him. And to my ears it infuses these albums with a passion that his later work often lacks: despite his past as a Beatle, he's a man with something to prove. And on Ram he does a damn fine job; I'd happily give this a 10/10 and recommend it to almost anyone.

Rose Mary <> (17.02.2000)


John Haubrich <> (24.02.2000)

Agreed, All the way through this is one of Paul's best records. I first listened to it in 1971 and still get a charge out of it, especially "Dear Boy." Also, I remember playing 'Monkberry Moon Delight' for a Rolling Stones fan and he was utterly amazed that Paul was capable of such a good song (I, of course, reminded him that Paul wrote their first hit) I don't think enough people listened to this one all the way through enough times. It still is a lot of fun to listen to.

David McLeod <> (17.07.2000)

Ram is a truly great album. I finally got the CD yesterday. Not having heard the complete album for several years, listening to it with fresh ears, I can only say that it is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Robert Tally <> (02.08.2000)

This album is stylistically similar to McCartney, except that there are a lot more of what can be described as 'full-fledged' songs. In fact, I really find a higher number of them to be first-rate than I do on the earlier album. 'Too Many People' is one of the best slabs of pure pop I've ever heard. 'Heart Of The Country' is thoroughly infectious and has a nice rural homey feeling to it. 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' is like a carnival ride of various catchy melodies. Those three are my favorites. I also think 'The Back Seat Of My Car' is first-rate. Let's see - what else? Well, I'd say 'Dear Boy' is a song that I should probably hate, but I can't deny it's melodic content and those background harmonies. And even though it's a 'ditty', 'Ram On' is succeeds quite well melodically and mood-wise. So does that other ditty - what's it called? - oh, yeah, 'Ram On'.

And then there's the rest, most of which I can pretty much do without. Not that each song doesn't at least have something going for it. 'Monkberry Moon Delight' is enjoyable enough, but Paul's vocal is one of the most obnoxious I've ever heard him deliver. Which brings me to 'Smile Away', which also sports a thoroughly hideous vocal. It's not much of a tune, either, though the fuzz bass is cool. I can't say I'm really impressed with 'Eat At Home' or '3 Legs', but they seem OK. 'Long Haired Lady' would probably be really good if Paul had just edited out that thing Linda sings: 'Or is this the only thing you want me for'. I suspect she wrote that awful bit of melody. It's just horrid. I'm willing to admit that this is one of Paul's best albums, but that's actually a pretty sad point to make, considering how talented the guy is.

Oh, and the bonus tracks. Well, actually, I've got the original CD, which doesn't have any, but the remastered CD has 'Another Day' and 'Oh Woman, Oh Why', which I've got on other CDs. For those not aware, these were respectively the A-side and B-side of the single that Paul released midway between McCartney and Ram. Neither were included on any regular LP releases. The A-side is consistent with the songs on Ram - catchy and light - kinda fun. The B-side is somewhat strange and bluesy. Neither really sends me into spasms of pleasure.

Sidelight: Has anybody noticed that the back cover shows a beetle getting fucked by a beetle?

Son of sidelight: I noticed that George hasn't reviewed the album Thrillington. This was an instrumental LP that Paul produced - but I don't think he played on it. But anyway, it's made up of instrumental versions of the songs on Ram. (Except that there's no second version of 'Ram On') It was released in April 1977, putting it right between Wings Over America and 'Mull of Kintyre' for all of you who are chronologically-minded. (Except that the Linda song 'Seaside Woman' came out a month later). It's kind of an entertaining listen, mostly because the melodies are good, but also the arrangements are usually interesting. It still sort of sounds like 70s soundtrack music, though. For hardcore fans only. Oh wait - this is Paul. I guess his fans are softcore, right?

Brenden Majerech <> (24.10.2000)

I automatically give this album a 10.  And it's also the best music Paul was able to write after the break-up of the liverpudlians.

'Too Many People' - Very catchy and accompanied by a wonderful chord progression. The guitar solo at the end does not get tiresome since the chord progression is using modulation in a canonic form. Very clever.

'Three Leg' - nice little 12 bar blues with unique lyrics. Also the form of the 12 bar blues reminds me of 'Day Tripper' where the form tricks your ears away from the typical cliched progressions. Just displays another fine characteristic style of Paul. The change of groove near the end fits very well also.

'Ram' - Nice little melody that doesn't show off anything. The Orchestration is outstanding and tasteful. I especially like the odd 2 chord progression which sounds complete.

'Dear Boy' - Very haunting melody but shows off a wonderful array of harmony in all the voices presented. I like all the voices better than 85 voices of Freddie Mercury. Also the voices sing rhthmic shots and serve well in imitating real instruments.

'Uncle Albert...etc...' .- Typical Paul writing. Wonderful rondeau with the form. Very Cheezie but presented in a chart-topping way.  Much like 'Band on the Run' in form.

'Smile Away' - Not my favorite song on the album but the lead guitar is great and so is the chanting of the backing vocals.

'Monkberry Moon Delight' - Great chord progression. The vocals are needed to be entertaining in a funny and talented sense.

'Eat at Home' - Great guitar riff in the vocal breaks but really can't stand Linda's harmony. Thge form is once again fabulous fooling the average listener where the song is heading. Also, the song is thematic in a lyric sense which keeps me listening.

'Heart of the Country' - An enjoyable compostion with beautiful scatting while playing the same melody on the guitar in the instrument breaks. Wow. I love this song the most because of that reason.

'Long Haired Lady' - I really enjoy this song everytime I hear it. I've even enjoy Linda's horrible vocals in the beginning. (Do you love me like I.....) I really enjoy how this song evolves into three different styles. Some may say the ending is too repetitive but I think it is developing in a productive way.

'Back Seat of My Car' - The contrast of style with swing, heavier than usual rock, beatiful little oohing, mumbling and screaming makes this song the best song on the entire album. It's a fianle piece to a musical. It's explosive and orgasmic for a listener to hear this masterpiece at the end of the LP. Wow.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (04.12.2000)

It's the first English-music album I listened to. I was about five years old or something about it. I didn't like it back in 1990 but when I was searching through my vynil (yeah, yeah, you heard right: non-USSR vynil disc. I think I should thank my grandpa - pilot of a plane (route USSR-USA)) discs a year ago I found it and relistened. Guess what I did right after that? Yes, I ran to the nearest CD-shop and bought licenced (!!!) copy. This is my only licenced disc till this day.

Maybe Ram is the best Paul's album ant the most quintessential, too. I don't have much to add to your review but here're some notes. Firstly, did you hear Paul singing 'Whose's that coming round that corner....' in last seconds of reprise to 'Ram on'? It's the line from great song called 'Big Barn Bed' from Red rose speedway. Here's the question: why did Paul wait so long? Why didn't he put out this song on Ram or Wild life at least? Oh, well, forget it. Then last note: 'Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey' took the dirst place in American hit-parade but wasn't issued in UK (as a single).

O.K. and now the ratings. It gets 14/15 itself and if we are talking about 1993-reissue (my situation), it's 15/15. 'Another day' makes me cry every time I hear it and 'Oh, woman, oh, why?' is logical sequel to 'Why don't we do it on the road'.

By the way, you can easily do a good prank on your friends: ask them to define is 'Monkberry moon delight' Rolling Stones' song or not.

Dan Miller <> (07.12.2000)

Probably the most deceptive McCartney album. On first listen I found it rather unappealing, a bit of a mess really. Now Im in a different mind. Though none of the songs really stick out as McCartney classics, they are so cleverly crafted, multiple hooks woven together and sung with the kind of lunacy that I think only mccartney is capable of.

'Too Many People' is a great opener, I love the haunting 'Ram On', and obviously 'Uncle Albert' (what the bloody hell is that about - come to it, what the bloody hell is the whole album about?). 'Monkberry Moon Delight' is marvelous and though its supposed to be nonsense, I cant help but think there's some meaning behind it.

Actually Ive got a soft spot for all the tracks, the album. It wasnt the commercial album every one was still expecting, that wouldnt come for a few years yet, but it is a testament to pauls exceptional muscial genius, his ability to make songs that creep up on you all sly and then knock you round the head when you least expect it.

This isnt an album of exceptional songs, but it is an exceptionally good album, from some reason!

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

I thoroughly agree that Ram is a stellar album, chock full of beautiful melodies, charming arrangements –- a veritable smorgasbord of supreme eccentric pop. But once again, Paul's lyrics betray an inanity that sometimes gets annoying. I don't get this, the man CAN write great lyrics with lots of meaning and feeling (i.e., 'Maybe I'm amazed' from the prior album), but he seems to avoid that and focus on third-person narratives. Still, you can't argue with the results.

For me, the true masterpiece of this album is the unbelievably entertaining, melodic and multi-part pop suite, 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.' Here again, we have an example of a McCartney song that should be lauded as a pop classic -– but suffers simply from the happenstance that when Paul put it out when he was widely disparaged by the press and much of the Beatles-deprived public. This song would've been perfect on Magical Mystery Tour or even Sgt. Pepper (a vaguely psychedelic, meaningless narrative underlain with a bewildering variety of musical movements). Were it a Beatle track, Uncle Albert and Admiral Halsey would've joined the pantheon of Pam, Eleanor, Maxwell, Mustard and all other members of The Beatles' fictional menagerie. The most spectacular moment in 'Albert' is where Paul somehow musically 'orchestrates' 'rain and thunder' (am I the only one who hears this?).

Other fave tracks here are the sexy, bouncy 'Eat At Home' (which even John Lennon liked);'Too Many People' (which features an amazingly hard and heavy electric guitar finale, disproving that this record was just sugary pop); 'Heart Of The Country' (a great, catchy folksy number with some nice scat singing) and 'Long Haired Lady' (which is a bit too long, but very nice indeed.).

One more note, I have always felt that the lyrics to 'Too many people' were directed at Lennon, or even all the other Beatles, but Paul made the words vague enough to make that supposition unclear. ("That was your first mistake, you took your lucky break.")

I don't like 'Monkberry Moon delight' at all, however, it just lacks charm and the ending is awfully tiresome where he sounds like a panting lunatic. My remastered CD has 'Another Day' and 'Oh Woman, Oh Why', both of which knock me out. 'Another day' (which Lennon venomously attacked on his 'How do you sleep?' title) is pure McCartney at his very best -- a sad story about a fictitious character (the lonely secretary) and just wonderful musical pieces behind it all. 'Another day' is like a modernized, urbanized version of the 'Eleanor Rigby' saga.

'Back seat of my car' has a marvelous musical foundation, but shouldn't the grand finale of an album as good as this have a subject matter slightly more significant than two teens heavy-petting in a car?? Somehow, 'Back Seat' is an anti-climactic ending to an otherwise terrific album.

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

The critical reaction was worse than for the previous one,being described as the nadir of rock by rolling stone and slagged off by melody maker.

But unfairly this time.Ram is Paul's best,the more beatlesque of all his solo output.All the tracks are good ,never a dull moment here.I can't even tell which song I prefer because it's absolutely flawless:I want to point out the quality of the harmonies in "dear friend" ,the a la "hey jude" final of "monkberry moon delight" the gorgeous tune of "the back seat of my car" .Lennon is here too:"too many people" "smile away" "three legs" all alludes indirectly to him.This will be the beginning of the feud.Circa 1971-1972,Lennon wrote Macca -among others- letters he sent to melody maker.The curious ones can find these gentle letters in the book:"The Beatles:After the break up;K.Badman;omnibus press"

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

I'm glad, that you and so many people on this site had fully appreciated this album, because critics tend to dislike this album for some unknown reason. And I agree: it's one of the best albums of Paul! I especially adore "Dear Boy" and "Monkberry Moon Delight", but all tunes here are awesome. And the fact, that the songs sound "home-made" gives a special charm. The opening track is frigging marvellous, so is "Heart Of The Country", so is "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", that was a single, and, of course, frigging great are two tracks mentioned above.

Ryan Maffei <> (18.03.2002)

Damn you, McCartney! Some of these tunes still reek of underdevelopement, but here, Paul proves that with more than a month, he can come up with some damn fine songs. "Too Many People", "Dear Boy", "The Back Seat of My Car", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", the hilarious "Monkberry Moon Delight"...all of these songs are so good, it's hard for me to bash McCartney in light of this record nowadays. An 8 from a craft standpoint (I don't find the filler to really be all that better than "Valentine Day"), but one of Macca's finest hours, certainly.

Max Makovec <> (19.10.2002)

Oh, this album is so full of brilliant ideas. The riff of "Ram On" or the wonderful hooks of "The Back Seat Of My Car". You're right, George, music should impress, but for me, there's one more thing than only good ideas neccessary: solid arrangements!! It doesn't disturb me that the lyrics (apart from "Too Many People") are silly or even absolutely senseless, the only thing I miss are more complex, professional arrangements. That's only not the case in the wonderful "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", especially the first one. I reaches the state of a real classic because of its beautiful and sad melody and also its incredible atmospheric arrangement.

But what's with the other songs? I'm not able to really enjoy them. For example, "Monkberry Moon Delight" sounds a bit too agressive to me although it has a good melody. But why doesn't it end a tiny little bit earlier??? It's so sinewy!! That goes for "Long Haired Lady, a bit sinewy at the end, too. Or "Ram On", it's a bit too spare for me, that isn't really my favourite type of musical arrangements. And so on!!

For me, this album has the same problem as McCartney: lots of wonderful melodies (even a lot more than on the previous) but where are the profesional arrangements? Where is the average band? This home-made style doesn't seem authentic to me! (But that may be the case because I first knew only the Beatles- and Wings-Macca stuff, and that's how I love him really!)

CB Neal <> (05.03.2003)

The contrast on this album is very clear: it's either chocolate or it's crap.  The standouts "Too Many People", " Ram on" (1&2), "Uncle Albert", "Heart of the Country"  and maybe "Smile Away" are each either great or at least 'engaging' (which come to think of it--and afer reading the other commentaty--is really McCartney's bar. He may soar way above it of fall somewhat below it. The stuff that does hit the bar seldom challenges the higher brain enough to be classics.  He can engage your attention, but--think "Smile Away"--he really doesn't do too much with it once he's got it.)  The rest of Ram shows how important editing and reserve can be.  Forgettable or awful.  The bombast of "Back Seat of My Car" should only be done by Meat Loaf.  Hail Meat Loaf!

Carla Marie Sams <> (18.01.2004)

This is without doubt my fav Paul album.I got it on c.d when i was 16 and always loved it.Too many people is a fantastic song and even though it lays into Lennon is still one of the best songs he wrote. '3 Legs' is a great little number, as is 'Ram on'. 'Dear Boy' for harmonies is excellent its very Beach Boys and you always find sumthing new going on. 'Uncle Albert' is fantastic from start to finish.The way it goes through all the different cord changes and tempos is brilliant.other standout tracks are 'Heart of the country', 'Monkberry moon delight', and 'The Back Seat of My Car' which is like a little rock opera. He plays excellent on this album, as does the rest of the band.A one that has stood the test of time.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (24.05.99)

Can't say I agree 100% with you, but you are right about the critics who hated it. The main thing about this album though is that it's reaaaaally weird & different from average Paul albums. "Mumbo" is, well, pointless. Are the lyrics in English?!?!? Or some crazy Asian language? Or are they just stuff from Paul's broad imagination? Guess we'll never know. "Bip Bop" is especially crazed, with some hoarse, but interesting vocals from Denny. Not a bad song, but overlong. "Love Is Strange" is the best cover song Paul has ever recorded, (and that includes covers he did w/The Beatles)."Wild Life" is also too long. And Paul's vocals must have tortured his throat. I think he's try too hard to sound like John. I agree that "Some People Never Know" is the best song, and should have been a hit. That's one song that deserves to be 6 minutes. Never did like "I Am Your Singer". Particularly Linda's vocals (sorry Paul). "Tommorow" is a nice little pop song. "Dear Friend" is alright, but it's just too long, again at 6 minutes. While it IS underrated, I really can't give it more than a 7.

My rating-7

Jeff Blehar <> (08.02.2000)

This is a severe misstep, in my opinion. Even if it's not the travesty its often made out to be. Still, the sound of an artist struggling with his muse is palpable as on the last album, and it makes for a few good moments. NOT among those are "Mumbo" and "Bip Bop," two of the worst excuses for rockers I've ever heard from anyone - badly produced (as indeed this entire album is; the only well-produced song, "Dear Friend," is an outtake from Ram, natch) and pointless, they really hurt the album (and they're reprised! WHY?). "Wild Life" is a stupid, tuneless song, and Paul is at his most excruciating vocally (which is hard for him to be, warm happysinger that he is). "I Am Your Singer" is merely undistinguished. So why give Wings Wild Life (and check the album - the word "Wings" is bizarrely enough included in the title) the time of day? Because, as George said, "Some People Never Know" is an impressive, if underproduced suitelike song (though Linda's singing almost ruins this song, as well as many of the others on the album, for me. Thankfully she'd never be so vocally prominent again.) "Love Is Strange" is a hot little cover, while "Dear Friend" is simply devastating. McCartney recorded it back in early 1971 during the Ram sessions when Lennon was taking shots at him in the press, but declined to release it, choosing the subtler "Too Many People" instead. But then came Imagine and "How Do You Sleep?," and so McCartney let this see the light of day. Nothing else he ever wrote conveys such shocked hurt and betrayal. It's a very simple song, but all the more powerful for it. Nevertheless (and despite the bonus tracks, which I quite like) I can't give this any more than a 5/10; the band is too unpracticed, McCartney's voice is strained, most of the compositions are lacking, and Linda's voice just annoys the bejeezus outta me.

Robert Tally <> (02.08.2000)

This is one of those albums where I have to really strain to think of positive things to say. If it weren't for 'Love Is Strange' (which was actually a hit for Mickey and Sylvia - not Buddy Holly), side one would be a total travesty. As it is, I do kind of enjoy 'Love Is Strange', perhaps more than the songs on side two, which are at least passable in most cases. In fact, I think the most solid track on the album is 'Bip Bop Link' (the short instrumental version, not the total joke of a song on side one). It's really quite a nice little piece. 'Some People Never Know' has a little bit of inspired melody sandwiched between some not-so-inspired melody. 'Dear Friend' is redundant in the extreme, and melodically not worth the time spent on it. 'I Am Your Singer' and 'Tomorrow' are just simply mediocre. I'm hoping to never have to listen to the title track again. 'Mumbo'? Let's see - there's kind of a funky little thing on there that the guitars do that I kinda like. Otherwise, I'm baffled by its existence. 'Mumbo Link'? Well, it's short, anyway.

Okay, now I'm picturing a boss I had many years ago who was one of the biggest pricks I've ever had to deal with in my life. I'm picturing this boss alone on a desert island. And by some miracle of fate, I'm the one who gets to pick which albums will be this guy's 'desert island' albums. . . . . 'bip bop - bip bop bo - bip bop boo dop bay' . . .

Now for those out there who are actually interested in the album, here's the lowdown on the CD bonus tracks. The original CD included 'Oh Woman, Oh Why' (the b-side to Paul's first single, which I can take or leave), 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' (one of Wings' 1972 a-sides, and darned catchy, too - and little Mary McCartney sounds awful cute there on the chorus, doesn't she?) and 'Little Woman Love' (the b-side to 'Mary Had a Little Lamb', a fairly enjoyable boogie-woogie number). So after we all got that CD, the remastered CD was released, and this was the only CD where you could get 'Give Ireland Back To The Irish' (the next a-side the group did, with rather mundane-sounding lyrics for somewhat so relevant - I admire Paul's stance on the issue, though) and 'Mama's Little Girl' (which was recorded in 1978 but not released until 1990 when it came out as the b-side to 'Put It There' - I think it's a fairly pleasant little tune). Also on the remastered CD were 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' and 'Little Woman Love'. (Incidentally, the b-side of 'Give Ireland Back To The Irish' was an instrumental version which has yet to be officially released on CD.)

Bob Josef <> (14.09.2000)

The reason that "Mumbo" is so hideous is that the track was totally improvised as the tapes were rolling! It's typical of the attitude behind the album -- Paul just wanted to be informal, laid-back, as on the previous two -- but he just got a little TOO laid-back, so much so that a rather sloppy product escaped. I haven't heard the whole thing in a long time, and I don't think I want to again. However, they really missed the boat by not releasing "Love Is Strange" as a single -- it got a lot of FM airplay (as least in Boston) and was good enough to cross over to AM Top Forty.

<> (16.01.2001)

Dude, what about "Tomorrow"? That song is so cleverly written i could have sworn it was a beatles tune when i was a kid. Of course the last 30 seconds where Paul goes Otis Redding might have been a little too much, but that song deserves a little bit o' recognition. Also try harmonizing to "dear friend". It'll make tears drop from your eyes. I guarantee it.

Michael J. West <> (16.02.2001)

You know, George, I bought this album on your recommendation, but having heard it I must agree with the critics who hated it. It's not horribly, horribly, abomination-upon-our-land bad, but that's mostly because it's so light, weak, and underdone that it's barely there at all.

In fact, I think weak is probably the best word to describe it. It sounds like Macca is so physically weak that he can only muster up soft half-ideas. "Dear Friend" has a pretty melody and a dark feel, but a tiny performance. Does that make sense? Every song can pretty much be said to have a "small" performance of some magnitude or other. The three bonus tracks were the best ones from what I could tell.

I'll be getting Red Rose Speedway on mp3, thank you, for only two bucks. Wish I'd thought of that before I paid $11.99 for Wild Life. ;)

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

Wild Life sounds like something Paul recorded in his living room on the spur of the moment with some friends who came over. Despite its under-production and general paucity of lyrical ideas, Paul still manages to come up with some pleasant enough songs. My faves are 'I Am Your Singer' (give it a chance, folks, it has a nice melody and subtle chord shifts), 'Tomorrow' (I LIKE the Otis Redding-like part at the end); 'Some People Never Know' ( another unheralded McCartney masterpiece) and the great cover version of 'Love Is Strange.'

Aside from that, it's pretty mediocre bag of tricks.

I always thought that the title track (as well as 'Give Ireland Back to the Irish') were Paul's feeble attempts to write about something 'significant' -– probably in response to John Lennon's hyperactive politics of the day. But Paul shouldn't have even bothered -- he's no 'political activist.' When I hear the solo albums that Paul and John Lennon put out in the early 1970's, I can't help but think what great albums the two of them could have produced if they had teamed together as a duet act. (Of course, this enters the realm of pure fantasy since John and Paul were mortal enemies by now!). But, if you take Paul's unparalleled composition skills and John's tougher, rawer songwriting abilities, a combination thereof would have eliminated the worst excesses of each of their solo material. It's a damn shame! Isn't it a pity?

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

Six months between Ram and this one and when you hear it,you can't help but thinking it was made too hastily.Take "love is strange":written by Mickey Baker" and sung by the duet "Mickey and Sylvia"  .I wish everybody could hear the wonderful Buddy Holly rendition:I had always thought it was a lousy ditty and I changed my mind overnight.Paul definitely botched the job.

Wild life is a fairly discouraging set:3 tracks can be saved:the very beatlesque and too often overlooked "tomorrow", the ahead-of-its-time-for-the-topic- title track and the wistful "dear friend".Among the bonuses,there's a nice little cut called "momma's little girl".A curiosity but worth at least a listen."give Ireland back to the Irish" and "Mary had a little lamb were mindless singles.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

Critics usually bash it, but this record is very decent. The title track is the best song here, it's very cool and also it was always groovy performed live. "Dear Friend" is a nice ballad, two instrumentals are marvellous. I like this stuff; everything, that Paul makes, is awesome.

<> (17.04.2001)

Great album. Obviously not as KICKASS as Ram or Band, but definetely not a throwaway as the "critics" made it out to be. Paul just wasn't in the mood at the time to write songs for albums of that par. He just wanted to show his fans what direction his music was taking AT THAT POINT IN TIME. The opener "Mumbo" proves Paul could write a cool melody without well thought out lyrics. "Bip Bop" gets annoying after awhile, but "Love is Strange" is pretty dope for a cover song; love the "la la la la la la" part. "Some People Never Know" and "Wild Life" are bit too long but no complaints other than the length of these tracks. "I Am Your Singer" should have been sung by Paul, but its catchy and has a phat bass line. It scores brownie points for being brief. Has it occured to anyone that "Tomorrow" on this album has the exact same chords as "Yesterday"? Pretty neat huh? Linda could have overdubbed her voice on there a zillion times----i think its a jewel. And George is right, "Dear Friend" is minimalistic, but effective. It IS like "Imagine", but in a minor key. I love smokin out to this album. I have it on vinyl but I recommend the extra bonus tracks cd. More Mac for your mullah. "Can you dig it?"

Ryan Maffei <> (19.03.2002)

This is an uneven start for the ever-changing Wings group, essentially a 9-year format for McCartney to make lightweight pop and not get flak for it as an artist. Speaking as a biased schmuck, I think it's brave of me to admit that the fluid rock jamming of "Mumbo" is good, although as a song, it's underwritten...but overall, side one is the misstep. These little freeform studio bits may've seemed fun at the time, but they just don't work as album tracks--"Bip Bop" is the worst thing McCartney ever sat down and wrote, while the pleasant title track is too overtly preachy to be completely admirable as a piece. And "Love is Strange" comes off as rather slight. But the second side is a remarkably good set of actual, crafted songs: "Some People Never Know" is Paul's best work since the Beatle Boys, and the remainder of the tunes are quite enjoyable, if slight. A six.

Max Makovec <> (26.10.2002)

This album is, indeed, not the best album Wings ever produced. Almost every song is much too long, there's too much filler on it, and sometimes the singings are sometimes a bit too experementative. The hysterical shouting on "Mumbo", the high croaking on "Bip Bop" or the aggressive singing on the horrible bonus track "Oh Woman Oh Why" do not work the slightest bit.

The songs without these vocal experiments are mostly better. Look at the funny reggaeish groove "Love Is Strange", one of the little songs in which I like Linda's singing. Or "Tomorrow", which its unbelievable sad and beautiful melody. I think it's the best track on the album, not only because it's such nice, but also because it's NOT TOO LONG!!! "Some People Never Know" and "Wild Life" both have fantastic melodies and acceptable arrangements, but 6 and a half minutes for them?? Much too much, 3 were almost enough.

And that's one of the points why this album is less enjoyable than the latter ones. Take away the stupid links of "Bip Bop" and "Mumbo". Shorten every song except "Tomorrow" and "I Am Your Singer" about two minutes. Weak up the extremely overdone singing a bit, experiments are OK, but not that exaggerated. And the result: 24 minutes (without the bonus tracks, of course) of catchy, funny, sad and interesting music. The only thing to do then is to wait for some good ideas (which both Macca and Laine unquestionably had) and add them to the 24 minutes of good music.

But I'm dreaming. Who's perfect? Everybody makes mistakes. And the album is all in all OK, sometimes good and sometimes bad. And when you think of the latter Wings stuff, the bad things are so excusable...

PIANET <> (18.09.2003)

Just a little piece of adviece: give "be bop" and "mama's little girl" another chance. Might say the same for run devil run and the unplugged. Even if i don't agree (and sometimes i don't agrre at all with you ) on certain albums or songs, you've made a brilliant site!

Pedro Andino <> (20.10.2003)


Bill Slocum <> (04.04.2004)

This was very definitely a "marking time" album, the sort that don't get made anymore because recording artists today generally take a couple of years off, more often three, before releasing albums. Back in the 1970s, you were expected to give the audience annual product or run the risk of being forgotten.

Wild Life has that Ram/Red Rose Speedway vibe going for it, a crunchy, melodious excusion into the deeper waters of pop circa the Birkenstock era. You can almost hear the rustling denim and leather fringe. McCartney in the early '70s was in the greatest voice of his life, and his musicianship was never more sturdy or nuanced. Something about leaving the Beatles, while weakening his songwriting skills, seemed to bring out the performer in a way he hadn't been when he was a part of the Big Machine that was the Fab Four. He was carrying the band this time, and though there were missteps, there was a liberating effect to his artistry as well.

All this is of course by means of defending that unfairly maligned Paul masterpiece, "Mumbo." Not "Bip Bop," because that is a stupid collection of nonsense lyrics, but "Mumbo" is something else. Okay, maybe not, but it rocks. McCartney is singing his guts out, he's improvising the whole thing, he's pushing the band into strange territory with the tape running and getting a charge out of the result. The result is a tasty groove that stands up to no analysis whatsoever, but really makes me happy. Also, the whole goofball nature of the song is appealing. His high screeches, his scats, his riffs, it's like "Monkberry Moon Delight" on steriods.

I think otherwise I'm in agreement with you and most everyone here that this is half-album, as long as we all agree "Mumbo" is on that half and "Bip Bop," "Wild Life," and "I Am Your Singer" are not. The other songs are stupendous, really nice excusions into the same domestic-blissy pop that make Ram such a treasure. "Tomorrow" has its heart in the right place alright ["Find a bag of bread and cheese/Find a shady spot beneath the trees"], and it does move in an assured way with sweet backing vox Brian Wilson would have died for, many of them Linda's, who really was good at that sort of thing, when Paul wasn't asking her to sing leads. And I like the Otis thing he does at the end; again, he's showing off his fine pipes.

The best thing about "Dear Friend" is of course the answer it provides to John Lennon's nasty-hearted "How Do You Sleep." Right away, with that hollow tone McCartney gets on the piano (some spare jazzy accompaniment falls in and out) and the arch questions ("Are you afraid?" "Are you a fool?") McCartney gets into Lennon's kitchen with the assurance of an old mate, but it's clear he really isn't trying to zing his old buddy, but take stock of where the anger is coming from, to ask John if he really means it. He tells John "I'm in love with a friend of mine," clearly echoing something Lennon must have told him regarding Yoko. Paul's control of the situation is really impressive; he doesn't fly off the handle. [McCartney later admitted he was writing songs in "Ram" with the intent of zinging Lennon, not imagining it would set John off so. Clearly, he sounds admonished as much as he does angry here, and that maturity becomes him.]

But that's not even his best rejoinder to Lennon's musical barbs: "Some People Never Know" includes the direct response to Lennon's famous question: "Some people can sleep at nighttime/Knowing that love is alive." So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Ono. It's the best song on Wild Life for that and other reasons, again including those Beach Boys-inspired backing vocals.

"Love Is Strange" is a nice song, and you explained why very well, George, especially how that instrumental morphs into a singalong. Paul didn't do many covers with Wings, which is a shame because a good band can define themselves by crediting influences that way. It might have been interesting to hear a few more like that. "Richard Cory" on Wings Over America didn't quite cut it the same way, now, did it?

The bonus tracks I have include the killer (literally) "Oh Woman Oh Why," which seems to involve a "Fatal Attraction" storyline and some creamy guitar licks and deep-dish basslines to go along with some primal McCartney screaming. This may have been a better Janov session than "Mumbo," and maybe Plastic Ono Band too. It shakes, it moves, and those drums, which crack and snap like dry elephant skin. It's another one from his Ram sessions, and a beauty.

Pete Townshend said he understood what "Mary Had A Little Lamb" was all about, a fun song for a father to sing to his kids. It does rock a little, too, and works in its simple nursery rhyme way. Frankly, this and "Give Ireland Back To The Irish" would have made for a better album than the awful "I Am Your Singer" and "Wild Life." But it's fun having one McCartney album everyone can agree was a misstep, without being 100% certain why. Great artists can confound their fans this way. "Bip Bop" sure confounds the hell out of me.

e3s8 <> (10.11.2005)

I know you weren't too hard on this album, George, but you still said it's Wings' worst record and wrote it off as lightweight. How someone who LOOOVES the Ramones first album, can't get behind the stripped, down, off-the-cuff, utterly non-pretentious slab of rock-groove that is "Mumbo" is beyond me. You say Paul doing the Primal Scream sounds like a mess, but to me it just sounds funky. Or even better: Dirty (the same word Paul used to describe 'Helter Skelter'). Like an old Howlin' Wolf record. Paul's just screaming out rocking nonsense and throwing out a few phat hooks, starting off in mid-jam, not giving a shit if this is a big or grand opener. That's what's so fresh about "Mumbo" when it flicks on to life. And unlike other spontaneous-sounding albums, this album was really just recorded like that. You said the Stones' BLACK & BLUE might just be jams, but they're "the jams of the gods" (that might be paraphrasing). Well, I consider 1964-1975 McCartney to be a likewise god and tracks like "Mumbo", "Bip Bop" and "Wild Life" are his divine jams. Sure, "Wild Life" goes on a little too long, but is that a problem if you love Paul's thumpin', slide-and-slip bass or his rough and fevered "Oh Darlin'"-style vocals? PLASTIC ONO BAND is always getting props for being a "precursor to punk". Then why not WILD LIFE? Because Paul wasn't singing about "important things"? That's like saying the Ramones are less punk or valid because they weren't singing about "important things" like The Clash. With WILD LIFE, McCartney (two years younger than John) was finally getting to THAT Primal Scream point in his life. The point when he just said "fuck it. I'm not even trying to write Sgt. Pepper or Hey Jude. I'm breaking it all down." You gave the Ramones such credit for breaking it all down without being pretentious, so why not give McCartney equal credit. The fact that he can still come up with beautiful little pop songs like "Some People Never Know" and "Tomorrow" (as melodic as anything in the McCartney canon) while he's in breaking down, toss-off mode just shows how pure the man's talent was. Lennon was a genius but he had to really WORK at it, even in his prime. When McCartney was in his prime, his genius was effortless. WILD LIFE is a testament to this. And don't get me wrong, I love PLASTIC ONO BAND, but I think after we get past a few generations of music-fans who never read a Rolling Stone Magazine review, WILD LIFE will be viewed as the album that aged better (this has already happened with McCARTNEY and RAM in many indi-rock quarters). I'd also like to point out that WILD LIFE includes "Dear Friend" which is just as stark and emotional as anything on PLASTIC ONO BAND. It could very well be the darkest song McCartney ever penned/recorded.


João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

Finally, a more carefully produced Paul album. It's pretty lightweight, but that's not a bad thing! 'One More Kiss' is entertaining, 'Big Barn Bed' is cool, and 'Single Pigeon' sounds like he's laughing at himself. The medley is great, with lots of great songs which would probably have sounded pretty weak on their own. But the real gem is 'Little Lamb Dragon fly'. It has great melody lyrics, harmonies, and production.THIS should have been the single, and not the over-sweet 'My Love'. I'd give this album a 7.

Jeff Blehar <> (08.02.2000)

Well George, I have to say that your prog-rock theory is somewhat silly - you're trying to apply your knowledge in a field you're quite familiar with (prog-rock) onto a template which simply won't fit. Besides, McCartney and Glyn Johns (engineer on the sessions) have a given in interviews a much different explanation for the sound of Red Rose Speedway: Paul's continued search for acceptance by the hip press led him to experiment around with ideas he tried during his tenure with The Beatles. Indeed, it's not a long jump from the spring-abuse of "Wild Honey Pie" to the instrumental "Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)," nor is the medley which ends the album anything more than a less successful attempt at imitating The Long Medley from Abbey Road. It was created under similar circumstances as well; McCartney had a few songs lying around from back in 1971 and '72, and instead of trying to flesh them out into 3:00 pieces, he medleyed them. Unfortunately, the results aren't that inspiring, chiefly because the songs are of lesser caliber.

In fact, much of the problem with this album is in failed experimentation; the medley wouldn't be a problem if it didn't eat up so much time, and "Loup" is just a distracting mess. "One More Kiss" and "My Love" strike me as everything I can dislike about McCartney's music: sappy, soggy melodies played in JUST the perfect manner as to make them completely infuriating (especially "My Love" - ack!). Then again, "Little Lamb Dragonfly" is simply breathtaking. I couldn't believe how heartbreakingly beautiful this song was when I first heard it, and time has done absolutely nothing to diminish its vibrant appeal. I mean, everything is right about this song - the melody is just compulsively hummable, the instrumentation is goose-bump inducing (e.g., the use of strings when the band sings "la, la la la, etc."), and McCartney's vocal performance, especially on the wracked "since you've gone" section is really memorable. That songs like this are allowed to languish on the album while crap like "My Love" gets endless airplay just jerks my chain in all sorts of way. There's a lot of other stuff on this album that's great too, if not that towering: "Big Barn Bed" and "Get On The Right Thing" are engaging rockers, though quite poppy, and "Single Pigeon" and "When The Night" manage to be charming where stuff like "One More Kiss" was just annoying. I'd give this a 7/10 (if only for "Little Lamb Dragonfly) and up it to an 8/10 (so we agree in the end!) if you get the version with four great bonus tracks: "C Moon," "Hi, Hi, Hi," "The Mess," and a nice Denny Laine-sung B-side, "I Lie Around."

Robert Tally <> (04.08.2000)

I've always thought of this album as being sort of in-between Wild Life and Band On The Run - and I don't just mean chronologically. It's certainly better than the earlier effort, but it pales in comparison to the latter. For me, the best song would have to be 'Big Barn Bed', which could have easily been an a-side, but serves its purpose well as a catchy album-opener. I also enjoy 'One More Kiss', and think McCartney had a particular gift for these gentle country ballads. I'm also quite partial to 'Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)' if only because I don't hear anything wrong with it. It serves its purpose well.

I have reservations about all of the remaining tracks. 'My Love' is one of those tunes that has obvious commercial appeal (and a really nice guitar solo), but doesn't do a damn thing for me. I'll just set it on the closet shelf next to 'The Long And Winding Road'. 'Get On The Right Thing' (which I understand was left over from Ram) sounds pretty solid, but I have this thing about songs that sound straight out of the 70s - I guess I have a 60s bias. 'Single Pigeon' is kind of quirky but never reaches its potential, and it always reminds me of 'Words Of Love' by the Mamas & the Papas. 'When The Night' is what I would describe as 'trite gospel'. And 'Little Lamb Dragonfly' is basically a bunch of pretty-sounding stuff piled onto generally uninspired melodies. (There, I said it!) The medley is tremendously inconsistent. The only section that works all the way through is 'Hand Of Love', which is maddeningly cute and catchy. I'm mad at myself for liking it. 'Hold Me Tight' has a pretty nice verse on it and a really dumb chorus. (Am I the only one who was disappointed to find that this wasn't an updated version of the Beatle song?) 'Power Cut' sounds okay to me, but also kinda dumb. 'Lazy Dynamite' is simply a throwaway.

I've noticed two interesting things about this album. First, it's by Paul McCartney and Wings - rather than Wings. Second, the songwriting credits go to 'McCartney' - without any specification about whether it's just Paul or Paul with Linda.

And now for the bonus tracks. I'm starting to think that 'I Lie Around' (the b-side to 'Live And Let Die') might be the best song Wings ever did. It's got a great melody (particularly the verse part sung by Denny Laine - he should have sung lead more often), there's a bunch of dynamic arrangement in it, and it sounds like they're having a great, silly time. Usually, I get really weary when Paul does his sort-of obnoxious vocalizations, but on this song, he gets away with it with flying colors. It's exactly what a b-side should be - an undiscovered classic. The original CD (but not the remastered one) includes 'Country Dreamer' (from the b-side of 'Helen Wheels'), yet another example of Paul's ability to write thoroughly engaging country tunes - another undiscovered classic. Then there's 'The Mess', a live recording from the b-side of 'My Love'. It pretty well shows that Wings weren't the greatest rock band when it came to rocking. Even the song itself ain't much. The remastered CD (but not the original) includes both sides of the last Wings single of '72: 'Hi Hi Hi' (a catchy tune that doesn't rock as well as it should) and 'C Moon' (another totally charming b-side, with his kids on backing vocals methinks).

Teresa Juarez Guzman <> (26.11.2000)

No, "george"?, you're not the only one to go nuts over the final verse in this album. This is one of my all time best loved albums, along with Ram. In fact, I've arranged my CD player to switch "Big Barn Bed" to "I Lie Around" as the first track! This is the first time I read (what I think they should be) fair reviews of Paul McCartney: by a fan who can go beyond the pop formality without the "Beatles-should-have-stayed-together" cliché. You know? They used to play "silly love songs" together also.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

I must have misuderstood something. Eight?! OK, let's start from the beginning. Firstly, we have to admit that this album was a breakthrough for Paul because all his previous efforts (and what good efforts!) were overlooked (oh, better to say 'much underrated'). 'My love' took the first place in the charts and this was hailed as McCartney's COMEBACK (though, in my opinion, there was no goaway). True, the song is very good and it deserves to be the best one here (instead of 'Little lamb dragonfly'). Now I'd like to argue with you about 'Lamb'. Well, I've just read the lyrics of this song... Nothing to say. I mean that they are surely better than AC/DC's ones but Paul doesn't open his heart when he sings 'Lamb' and the lyrics seem dull. By the way, the lack of straightforwardness is Paul's greatest minus. David Bowie (I really believe in what I say) could sing 'Lamb' better because he always makes good song out of good lyrics. But if you open another category called 'song with the best lyrics', 'Lamb' will take the first place there. Oh, I forgot to say that the song itself was written when Paul and Linda failed to save little lamb on the farm (it was born too weak) from it's death (So your 'brilliant' idea should go to ...err... something deep (please, don't be offended, OK?)).

Now I want to mention two outstanding songs (they are outstanding for me at least): 'Get on the right thing' and 'When the night'. Just look how Paul plays with you on 'Get on the right thing'! He doesn't show you the whole melody in the beginning and we have the same sitution on 'When the night'. Though the lyrics of the last song should go to the same place where your idea is at this moment (again, please, don't be offended).

And we should not forget about cute pop songs, such as 'Big barn bed' (well, it's pure pop but for me it's rather depressing thing. I just can't listen it because it reminds me very sad period of my life), 'One more kiss' (short and pop, why so many people don't like it?), 'Single pegion' (instrumental part makes me cry. And here's one question to Paul: why is it so short?).

Well, seems that album turnes out to be very good one but now we face two prog-rock songs (Paul is prog-rocker? HA-HA-HA three times!). Well, I don't like 'Loup (1st Indian on the moon)' at all, though it's title sounds very intresting, and as for that crazy 'Medley' ...err... it makes me feel VERY sleepy... And here comes the painful question: should we lower the rating of the album that contains very good songs among some bad ones? My answer is 'no'! So I rate the album with nine points but this nine comes very close to ten. Aha! I've just found reason to give it 10: four bonus tracks are very good (especially 'Hi hi hi' (though it seems to me that Paul sings, 'We're gonna get high, high, high...')) so here you are: Red rose speedway gets ten out of ten! By the way there was a rumour that Paul named this album in the name of his secretary Rose. Hmm...Poor Linda must have been offended much...

PS. Oh, please forgive me, George. I relistened to 'Little lamb dragonfly' and fell in love with it. Definitely the best song here (the nearest rival to it is, maybe, 'Get on the right thing'). Now I with clear conscience I can give it 10 out of 10.

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

Red Rose Speedway COULD have been a great album, but it's got too many weak spots.

And I was always turned off by its garish cover, the tacky title, as well as the photo of the suspicious white powder on the back cover. But let's not judge this record on something as irrelevant as its outer jacket. There are some marvelous songs here!

I don't understand the fans' distaste for 'My love'! Are they repelled simply by its success and its commerciality? This is a GREAT and memorable love song with a warm, even understated arrangement, and a terrific guitar solo in the middle.

The highlight of the album is that lovely and fun medley (although comparing it to the closing medley on Abbey Road is a bit too much!). I, too, love the 'Power cut' climax where he chants 'baby I love you so, 'by I love you so, 'by I love you so.' The 'Hands of Love' section is also supreme (it sounds like a re-worked version of 'I've just seen a face').

Another highlight (that most other commentators seem to have downplayed) is the gorgeously simple and plaintive 'Single Pigeon.' This is a precious little number! (Paul just can't go wrong when he sings about our fine-feathered friends!)

'Loup-1st Indian On The Moon' is just garbage (like a continuation of the ghastly 'Kreen-akrore').

I'm a bit mystified by peoples' generally favorable reaction to 'Little Lamb Dragonfly.' I never gave this number much thought –- it's far too long, the melody is rather weak (by Paul's high standards) and is easy to skip over.

The two 'rockers', 'Big Barn Bed' and 'Get On The Right Thing' have their moments, but they go nowhere.

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

Side two sounds like a caricature of Abbey road.IMHO,one of Paul's weakest efforts that would have made a good single:"little lamb dragonfly" b/w "single pidgeon".

<> (17.04.2001)

Red Rose Speedway is very iffy. Doesnt have the homey quality of his first solo LP's but enjoyable nonetheless--there's just something so commercial about it--I cant put my finger on it. "Hands of Love" was hands down the most infectious song Paul wrote for this record (if he even did----sounds so beatle-y I cant help but sing it over and over and over....been stuck in my head all month). The "by I love you so, 'by I love you so-o" in "Power Cut" was cool. Henry McColough's solos are vastly underrated too. "Little Lamb" was also a great tune that went unnoticed, it isn't "too long" either. This album deserves an 8, if not 7 at best. Does anyone know what the Braille on the back of the LP says? (As far as I remember, it's some sort of 'we love you' addressed to Stevie Wonder - G.S.).

Ryan Maffei <> (20.03.2002)

Paul is a stunningly inconsistent fellow--he delivers some incredible pop masterpieces in the Beatles that are never to be topped; he then leaves and gives us a mere one with his first solo album; he pens about a side-and-a-half's worth of solid material with Ram; then a side's worth with Wild Life. Now, on Red Rose Speedway, he improves his production just a tad, but stretches his writing abilities out in such a way that each song sounds equally slight and underdeveloped. Sure, maybe there's a minor classic in the form of "My Love", but even that comes off as a bit cloying, and every other song sounds really underwritten, almost banal at times (see the closing medley, or even the bonus track "C Moon"). Any potential seems to have been sacrificed for premature completion; thus, this affable, but unworthy of Ram and Band on the Run, outing amounts to a low, argumentative 6. Pity.

Max Makovec <> (31.10.2002)

Hey, how did you rate it? "Simply Excellent"? You're absolutely right, this album is a masterpiece with all its catchy, experimentative and charming tunes and wonderful mlodies and ideas. Oh, and this time around Paul has some creative musicians with him, which causes that this album sounds much more grown-up than the "home-made"-stuff. And not enough with this: every track has the right length. I haven't got the problem anymore of sitting around and waiting - near to despair - of that damned song to end . which I often had on Red's predecessors.

OK, let me start with the begin. "Big Barn Bed" is not exactly the most intelligent and and profound song I've ever heard, but at least it has a memorable melody and a solid arrangement - who wants more? If you do so, you get it on the second tune, "My Love". I don't know why people react so aggressive to that one! Maybe it's a bit too thick and over-produced, but the melody is that wonderful, it unquestionably rules, doesn't it? The next one, "Get On The Right Thing", doesn't really make me stand on my head, but it isn't nasty. One weaker point on the album. But I easily forget it when I listen to the next two songs: "One More Kiss" is soooo catchy and memorable and charming and... and... and..., delicate, in one word. "Little Lamb Dragonfly" is more complex; but I'm less impressed by the melody than by Paul's absolutely touching vocals in the second part. "Single Pigeon" is another delicate one (hey, this word fits that perfectly...), which is because of its relaxed and cool arrangement a good change to the more ponderous but also nice "When The Night". Mmmh, I love it's brilliant melody, only Linda's background singing disrupts the song a bit. "Loup" is another experiment, but please don't compare it with "Kreen - Akrore", the latter one has absolutely no melody, "Loup" has at least a memorable riff. Why not an experiment? It makes the album only more interesting and diverse.The following Medley is the packaging for four absolutely adequate songs, all have a good melody and solid arrangements and they are all catchy, catchy, catchy!!! But: do they have influences from Prog? Hmm, I really wouldn't have thought about that if I hadn't read it in your review. I can't help it, I don't see it. Ok, doesn't matter, if everyone always had the same opinion about music, this site wouldn't exist and it would be absolutely boring. But only by the way. I don't like the bonus tracks as much as the original album, but except "I Lie Around" - I don't know, it somehow sounds boring to me - they are all solid pop tunes, and that's exactly what I want to hear from McCartney!

Dan Hogg <> (22.06.2003)

Finding this album was a bit harder than I thought. Good thing I have it now, it serves as an important link from the sloppy Wild Life (which I don't have, nor do I plan on getting it anytime soon) to Band on the Run. It's a good album, but it suffers from trying a bit too hard to sound complex or Beatlesque or whatever. It works on "Little Lamb Dragonfly", which has two different segments, each melodic and emotional. It's a better medley than the actual Medley. I don't know, I just don't think the parts flow that well. "Hands of Love" is a nice acoustic singalong, but sticks out in its context. "Hold me Tight" is a bit too repetitive, and the other two are all right. Elsewhere, we have the decent country ballad "One More Kiss", the short throwaway "Single Pigeon", and the bizarre experiment "Loup". "When the Night" might annoy some, but I dig the "4/4 waltz" and the harmonies. Rockers? Yeah we got some. "Big Barn Bed" is tons of fun, a good old stomper. "Get on the Right Thing" takes forever to get started, but when it does, it rocks. Oh, almost forgot "My Love". Me no like. Way too sickingly sweet for me.

As for bonus tracks, my copy has "C Moon" and "Hi Hi Hi" instead of "Country Dreamer". Not sure if it's different labels or what. I simply love "C Moon", it's a funny B-side. Lyrics don't make any sense, but they're not supposed to, so I love it. "Hi Hi Hi" is a tight pop-rocker that charted high yet is obscure, because of its being banned and such."The Mess" is forgettable, but "I Lie Around" sure isn't. Liner notes say it was the B-side to "Live and Let Die", but it sure doesn't sound like a B-side. Awesome melody, anthemic chorus, a great ode to being lazy. Shoulda been on the album. Oh well. Red Rose pointed to bigger things, but it's still an enjoyavle album in its own right. What's up with the cover though? Maybe someone shoved that rose in his mouth out of anger, like in cartoons. That's what I came up with, at least. Oh, it's so fun to draw crazy conclusions!!!

<> (03.01.2004)'s my theory.....Red Rose Speedway is really the influence for The Who's quadrophenia. Don't believe me? Listen to the Medley with it's FOUR separate melodic themes being established separately then later being played in unison at the end of the Medley. Just like Pete did on Quad. Maybe not.......Is it just me or does the line in 'Little Lamb Dragonfly', "Sometimes you think that life is hard, and this is only one of them" grammatically bad and nonsensical.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (16.05.99)

Grrreat!! At times, slightly repititious, but loads of fun. Sounds like it was meant to be a concept album, but fails. Anyway, I find "Picasso's Last Words" a bit overlong, and overdone, to the point of having about three different songs in one song. But, I have a fondness for "Mamunia", and the opening organ solo for "Let Me Roll It" is gorgeous! "Bluebird", real good!! "Helen Wheels", never get sick of it. And is there anyone who agrees with me that "No Words" is too short! Well, like any album, it has it's flaws, but it's still really good.

My Rating-9

Simon Hearn <> (14.09.99)

THE album that reinstated his greatness in the public's psyche. 'Jet' is just pulsating and the rest of the collection is equally well written and performed. This album shows mccartney's strength as a pop writer and his grasp of hooklines. This album showed the ex-beatle had an individual identity. We all should bow down at the feet of a master and remember him for this album, not his 80's purile output.

Ben Greenstein <> (25.10.99)

I really don't see what makes this album so great. I mean - it's got some solid melodies (in fact, pretty much every track except that stupid "Helen Wheels" ditty is nice n' poppy), but there's no coherence of any kind. It's just a collection of songs. And not all of them are THAT good - "Mamunia" and "Bluebird" sound weak when placed next to classics like the title track and "Jet," or that "Mrs. Vandebilt" song that I like for some reason. I don't remember "1985" as being that great, but keep in mind that I always get bored with the album around the seventh track or so. So I'll try to check it some time in the near future. Regardless of whether I end up loving it or not, the album gets a seven.

Mats Fjäll <> (28.11.99)

I agree mostly with you but I think it's overrated.

I think that 'Let Me Roll It' and 'Bluebird' are two great songs, BUT it's done much better on two live albums, 'LMRI' on Paul is live(parhaps the the best song on that album, or maybe not...I'm not too sure...)and 'Bluebird' on Wings Over America.

My favourite song on this album is 'Jet'! Great rocker!!!!!

João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

Woohoo! This is good stuff. An album which deal mostly with themes of escape and liberty, there are no bad songs on this. Three of the songs are collections of fragments ('Band On The Run', 'Picasso's Last Words', and '1985'), with the final piece of 'Band On The Run' being one of Macca's most brilliant pure pop songs. 'Let Me Roll It' is very cool, with that unforgettable guitar riff and those echoed vocals. To keep from enthusing about all the tracks and wasting space, let me just rave a little over 'Bluebird'. This is Paul's most beautiful love song EVER! I love every minute of it! Go Paul! This album gets a 10, definetly.

Myris Collett <> (29.01.2000)

i agree with josh 'no words' is to short. 'jet' is a masterpiece. great album

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Hmm...I just don't have as much to say about Band On The Run as compared to the other albums from the 70's, probably because it's the one most often commented on. I think it's a tad overrated, however. Only a tad, though. A solid 9. Now me, I don't give two hoots about conceptualism coming from my ex-Beatles, because that's not their forte, but BOTR manages to hold a loose theme together, and if anything it's the underlying mood of the previous four albums made explicit - desperation, scrambling for critical acceptance and happiness. You see, Paul wants to be loved! But he also doesn't want to take any shit, thus tracks like "Mrs. Vandebilt," which is a great, neglected song. There's no point in even talking about "Band On The Run" or "Jet" (which is apparently about his pet black labrador, apropos of absolutely nothing) - they're great pop-rockers, and there's little else to say. It's the smaller songs on the album which I truly enjoy, though, like "Mrs. Vandebilt," "Bluebird" (alright, so that was a big radio hit, but still, it SEEMS small and intimate) and especially the Denny Laine co-credit "No Words." For some peculiar reason, this is currently my favorite song on the album. It's really nothing more than a fragment, but what a beautiful one! That McCartney falsetto soul singing? To quote an annoying Yessong, "We Have Heaven!"

If there's anything which hurts this album (besides "Mamunia," which is strictly underwhelming) it's overfamiliarity and unnaturally high expectations. If you're just coming to it expecting it to be the alpha/omega of Beatles solo albums, you might be disappointed - there's little here that I'd say is better than Ram (perhaps equal) and no single song approaches "Little Lamb Dragonfly" from the previous album. That being said, it's one honkin' consistent piece of plastic, all the way to the glorious apocalypse of "Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-Five" at the end. Nice bonus tracks, too - "Country Dreamer" is a charming B-side, and its A-side, "Helen Wheels," was so good that it would go on to be shamelessly ripped-off by the ostensibly "uncommercial" Pavement on their Slanted And Enchanted album some 20 years later.

Rich Bunnell <> (24.02.2000)

Yeesh, Ben really doesn't like this album, seeing that he's seen fit to post basically the exact same negative comment on three separate review pages. Me, I just sit back and be entertained by the cool melodies, except for that boring Picasso song, which sucks. Sure, the first two songs overlap everything else on the album ("Jet" has got to have at least seven or eight hooks alone), but that's no reason to insult the rest of the album. "Mrs. Vanderbilt" and "Helen Wheels" are good too--perhaps the latter's a bit stupid and un-Macca-esque but it doesn't impede any sense of fun. And "1985"--disco piano pop? Love it! 8/10

By the by, Jeff, maybe Pavement did rip off "Helen Wheels" for "Two States" on Slanted And Enchanted, but they're still, in many respects, a fine band. One of the few indie bands I can tolerate (even if they stopped being indie after a few albums).

Darren Bowers <> (17.06.2000)

This is as close Paul ever got to reclaiming the throne he once held as one of the best musician's of all time. Although it never reaches the level of the best Beatles albums, it's still a masterpiece. To bad this was his last great effort up to this point. Everything else he released after the Beatles just seems a little lackluster except for this album. It's unfortunate that he didn't maintain this level of creativity through the rest of his career up to this point. Goes to show there is definitely something lacking in his creative force without his partner Lennon. Where Lennon was the master with lyrics and wit, Paul was the master of melody. Combined, they were the best musical partners of all time, but separately they fall short. Each of them needed some creative input from the other to make good songs classics. A good thing to do is listen to each Lennon's and Pauls solo efforts, then try to imagine them working these solo songs into Beatles classics. It's just a shame that they had a falling out, I fell confident that they would have made strong Beatles albums for at least twenty more years. Highlights on the album would be the title song, "Bluebird," "Let me roll it," "Jet," and "Helen wheels." the overall feel of the album is that it's reaching maybe just a little to hard to achieve greatness but just falls somewhat short. Again, if the other three Beatles had had participated in the recording, this would be without a doubt one of the best albums of all time. But there I go dreaming again. Best out of 10. I would give this album an 8. And that's being pretty generous.

mjcarney <> (23.07.2000)

Band on the Run,(Paul's best album of his own music) is one album that has its great moments, but it is nowhere near as good as what people make it out to be.  This doesn't mean that it is all bad it just has a TON OF FILLER!!  For instance, the hit single "Helen Wheels" is a rudimentary, boring piece of garbage--it goes nowhere and was popular because of Paul's name only (a la "My Love").  "Picasso's Last Words"--written in an hour and including a reprise (reggae) of Jet is just plain awful.  It has Paul's catchiness, but boy does that song drag--how many times can we hear the chorus. Maybe Paul could have used some help w/ Lennon here.  "Let Me Roll It" which some say was a shot back at Lennon for his "How Do You Sleep" attack, falls flat, and sounds like filler--with a surprisingly forced melody.  "Bluebird" is typical, lovey-dovey Paul at his sappiest.  And yes this is a straight away love song--how could you miss that one?  "You're A Bluebird"--how stupid can you get, absolutely horrible Paul's done much worse though.  Finally, the last bit of filler, is "Mrs. Vanderbilt".  Despite the obvious filler quality to this song, it is actually quite good.  Catchy, rocking, rudimentary, classic Paul McCartney filler(it probably took him 15 minutes to write) but it is good filler were the others were not. "No Words" is a strong non-filler track on here, although somewhat too slick for my tastes,but I can't deny the strong melody. Now,despite its filler (50%), there are some great tracks.  "Band on The Run" is a classic, epic track sounding somewhat like "Admiral  Halsey"--meeting with lennon's "Happiness is a Warm Gun".  "Jet"--which thank you, I didn't know was about his dog--is another rocking classic.  No one in there right mind can tire of these two.  "Mamunia" is Paul in a typical, laid back phase here, with a great African feel too it.  It is just refreshing and like the rest of the album has a strong melody.  Finally, the brilliant "Nineteen...." ends the album in fine form--and is probably Paul's best solo moment.  Despite its filler, it is an engaging record, the filler is produced and segmented together to sound larger than life for the first 20+ listens.  The album wears that mystique quickly though, but I would still rate it a 7/10.  If you haven't bought this--or even if you have--I would highly reccommend the 25th Anniversary release, it solidifies the sound better, and the interview/demo disc is magnificent. Anyway if you get that disc, it would raise the album up to an 8/10, simply because the demos and stories add so much to the material, but w/out it the album is just a little above average.

Robert Tally <> (07.08.2000)

This is definitely my favorite McCartney album. The thing that really stands out about it is that every song is - at the very least - a good song. Sure, there are a few that stylistically aren't what I tend to listen to (which, to an extent, is true of all McCartney music), but there really isn't anything wrong with any of these songs. I don't normally go for jazzy-sounding ballads like 'Bluebird' or arena-rock stuff like 'Jet', but both songs do exactly what they're meant to do. 'Let Me Roll It' could actually be a little more dynamic (if perhaps it wasn't Paul on drums), but it's a good solid tune. 'Mamunia' is something I have to be in the mood for. 'Picasso's Last Words' is, I think, one of Paul's best songs, though I think the second half is pretty inconsistent.

Which brings me to the rest of the songs, which I can't really find any fault with at all. I particularly like 'Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five'. And I think Denny Laine made an important contribution with 'No Words'. 'Mrs. Vandebilt' is tremendously silly and catchy. And 'Band On The Run' is simply a classic.

Now, I realize everybody sees a kinship between this album and Sgt. Pepper because of the 'concept' elements, but I think it's more like the Hard Day's Night album. After all, during his solo years, Paul wasn't much for writing 'deep' songs, the way the Beatles were in their late years. And the thing that always struck me about A Hard Day's Night was that the songs were simple pop songs and they all sounded like a-sides. And doesn't that describe Band On The Run?

Incidentally, 'Helen Wheels' (which is think is a great a-side - one of Paul's best) was not on the British album. It was included on the American album apparently to boost sales. The original British CD also did not include the song. But the remastered CD and the 25th Anniversary Edition both include it. The remastered CD also has a bonus track - 'Country Dreamer' - which had been the b-side of 'Helen Wheels'. I think it's one of Paul's best country ballads.

The 25th Anniversary Edition has a whole additional CD with a lot of excerpts from the album interspersed with interview material with various people involved with the recording and the album cover. It also includes a few recordings that hadn't been previously released, the most interesting of which are an acoustic version of 'Picasso's Last Words' and an alternate mix of 'Helen Wheels'. There's also some demo excerpts of the title track, a live version of 'Bluebird' from 1975, and several soundchecks and the like from 1989 and 1993 of songs from this album. Generally, they're not as good as the original versions.

Tammy-jo ennett <> (18.10.2000)

This album is the McCartney and Wings album I've ever heard, also his most famous one too.My favourite songs on Band on the run are 'Mamnuia', 'Band on the run', 'Jet', 'Let me roll it' and 'Helen Wheels', this definitely sounds like it should've been a Beatles album, I have the version with the 2 remastered bonus tracks; 'Helen Wheels' and 'Country Dreamer'. 'Country Dreamer' sounds like it could've been from The White ALbum it's that good, Anyways, if you don't have this one, you should buy it soon, it's very addictive, Paul rocks!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.12.2000)

B-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-nd on the r-u-u-u-u-n! The best album Paul's ever produced? Maybe. But, actually, I don't understand it'd purpose. Though, it doesn't matter. The main problem (or dilemma?) is that 'Band on the run' isn't so cozy, rockin' and charming as, say, RAM. It sounds more commercial than home-made RAM. Every track here is terrific but I can't see any connections with these songs (well, except 'Picasso's last words' where you hear a bit from 'Jet' and 'Mrs Vanderbilt', but, frankly speaking, it doesn't make any atmosphere(for me, at least)). Surely, it gets 10/10 without any questions, but RAM is twice better. Why? Because of one little word - 'atmosphere'.

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

Band on the Run was a landmark album for Paul McCartney -- it marked the moment when his solo work was finally received favorably by the critics, and Wings became a big-time, heavier-sounding, arena-filling supergroup. As such, Band was the peak, and, quality-wise, there was no way to go but down.

I listened to this album practically to death throughout the 1970's and then I got rid of it. Then a few years back I bought it again and, as an adult, I marvel at its technical brilliance, but it left me rather emotionally detached. Although I like most of the songs, not a single lyric sounds 'heartfelt' or 'genuine.' Paul simply made a well-crafted record with tons of catchy hooks and riffs, sold millions, made even more millions, and pretty much got spoiled by a second round of incredible fame and success. Thus, Band on the run is a very well-manufactured piece of pop candy, but play it sparingly, or you might get sick of it fast.

As for the songs, the title track is a lovely number, with breathtaking shifts in tempo and mood. I never liked 'Jet' too much.

Some folks deride 'Bluebird' but I think it's a lovely number, like a 'tropical cousin' to the immortal 'Blackbird.' But that sax solo in 'Bluebird' is pretentious and should've been excised.

'Mrs. Vanderbilt' is wonderfully goofy -- it's really two different songs edited together: there's the African-sounding 'Down in the jungle'/'Ho hey ho' part, and the more conventional rock/pop 'leave me alone, Mrs. Vanderbilt.' I have no idea what this song is about, but it sounds good. I read somewhere that 'Let me roll it' is a 'tribute' to John Lennon, like a 'peace offering' of some sort to his estranged old mate. I don't see how this could be. The lyrics don't sound like an invitation to John to patch things up; and the music itself doesn't really reflect the sound of Plastic Ono Band.

'Mamunia' is a fun ditty, and, hell, I even like 'No words for my love' (which I think Denny Laine wrote).

'Helen wheels' (which I believe was excluded from the U.K. version) is a great little 1950's style rocker.

The closing track '1985' is magnificent, which startling shifts in tempo and mood.

But, I ask again, what are any of these songs really about???? I like the album, but it leaves me feeling a little empty. If some of the songs were a bit less 'produced' they'd at least possess the eccentric charm that Paul's earlier solo LPs have.

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

Here,Paul was on the right track again.I  don't rate it as high as Ram but this is lush,dynamic stuff.'Let me roll it' is a long-delayed answer to JL's acrimonious attacks.Paul mimics the POB sound,that of "cold turkey" with wit and humor.Technically it's a perfect production,complete with a reprise of the title track .What's the use of worrying? he asked in "Mrs Vanderbilt",....and PDQ answered "no use."

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

What a greatness! It's the most famous album of Paul McCartney and certainly one of his best. I adore this album. It has some feeling of conceptual album. It seems to me, that the songs here are heartfelt and genuine (I think the same about fast all McCartney's songs, in spite of some other people think). The title track is cool with its three parts, fluently slipped into each other;

"Jet" is great, "Helen Wheels" is cool, "Bluebird" is a charming beautiful ballad, especially I admire "Mrs.Vanderbilt". Yeah, and I also admire "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five".

Michael J. West <> (30.03.2001)

Every now and then, I pick this up, thinking to myself as I put it in the CD player, "I bet this isn't nearly as good as I remember it." And sometimes "Band on the Run" gets me going, sometimes it doesn't; but I've never gotten to the first bellowing of the word "JET!" without thinking, "My GOD this is a great song!" Then "Bluebird" comes along and is so lovely that I decide, "Oh, wow. This is a fantastic album."

But that seems to be the peak of the album for me. Two incredible songs in a row, and I get underwhelmed. There are great moments, per se, on the rest of the album; the string embellishments on "No Words," a great motif in the chorus on "Mamunia," and the undeniably colossal "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five." So it's a GOOD album with a few great songs. And I will give it this: it's probably the high point (along with Ram, of course) of Paul's polish and sense of melody and arrangement. That may promote it to great album, at least in a relative sense to Macca's other output, but I really only see three and a half good songs (the half being "Band on the Run" and its inconsistent ability to please me.)

<> (17.04.2001)

BAND ON THE RUN IS JUST AS MUCH A CONCEPT ALBUM AS ANY OF PAUL'S OTHER ALBUMS----and how come Dustin Hoffman didn't receive co-credit for writing Picasso? Splendid piece of work, if you keep in mind what the man had to go thru to get this baby finished. Paid off tremendously. Imagine if Paul decided to scrap the whole thing? He wouldn't get half the cred he receives now--it resurrected his career--then and for all time. What's that sweet stuff he's singing about in "1985"? If you don't have it, get it.

Glenn Wiener <> (05.07.2001)

As stated before, this is a solid release by Paul. There are many creative arrangements and hooks loaded in many of the songs most notably the title track, '1985', and 'Mrs. Vanderbilt'. However as pleasant as 'Bluebird' and 'Picasso’s Last Words' are melody wise, lyrically both these songs seem to run out of gas as the fadeouts offer no extra creative embellishments. There is some good guitar and bass work on 'Let Me Roll It' but unfortunately this is more the exception than the rule on this and any other of Paul’s releases. Overall, its good, probably Paul’s best, but a classic work…I think not!

Ryan Maffei <> (20.03.2002)

If Band on the Run is a classic, it's an unbearably slight classic--I have the same problem with Lennon's solo records, which are occasionally rather slim in craft or melody, etc. But McCartney's fifth is certainly an incomparably great solo record, filled with more memorable pop tunes than one could fathom, excellent production for a self-produced recording, and an overall winning feel to the whole brew. Seriously, a winning feel. And if it's McCartney's parody record, than it achieves further brilliance, although I've always appreciated "Let Me Roll It" as a great song rather than a scathingly effective Lennon parody, and "Bluebird" as well in the same light (supposedly McCartney's parody on himself and his lightweight approach to writing). Anyway, slight or not, there are more effective tunes on here than on, well, every other McCartney record combined, and it certainly deserves kudos for being the sole time Paul chose to thoroughly excercise his gift over the course of one album. Lennon's Imagine doesn't come close to being better--for once, Paul trumps John! A nine.

Bruno Müller <> (17.05.2002)

The best album from an ex-Beatle. Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is sometimes named the best but, despite its many great songs, it’s not even nearly as perfect as this one from the Wings. It’s Paul’s masterpiece, one of the best rock albums ever made. From the marvelous opening title track up to the very end, not a single second is wasted. Not a single note off key. Paul’s finest hour as a player, singer and composer. ALL the songs are great. This is a perfect album.

What else can be said about it? Nothing. So, I’d like to comment its magnificent closing track. “Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five” is the perfect closure to a perfect album. It features a fast piano line that moves you right from the start. Then, come Paul’s wonderful bass and fantastic singing – great interpretation; it sounds a little weird at first listening, but then we realize that his often soft and melodic voice wouldn’t fit this song. Some great changes of rhythm adding organ, resembling some moderate prog rock. The songs grows in a huge crescendo, with a beautiful guitar solo (undoubtfully Denny’s best), followed by a soprano sax that make a little jazz-rock sound (for about 15 seconds you feel like listening Wayne Shorter in some Miles Davis’ fusion album). After that, the keyboards take on the scene, with bass-drums base at their back and, sounding like an orchestra, close the album in an exciting way. I can’t imagine a better closing song, exception made to the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

It’s probably Paul’s best song, which means it has a good shot for a top 10 rock-songs list. Their only rivals, in Paul’s career, are exactly from the same album: the title track and “Picasso’s Last Words” (more changes of rhythm, vocal ranging from romantic to drunk-like and the most beautiful bass solo of rock in the latter).

This album changed my conceptions in music and made me a much more demanding listener. Band on the Run is pure genius.

Bob Josef <> (19.05.2002)

By far the best McCartney album. The major reason: Paul took as much care here with the production as George Martin did with the Beatles albums -- the ambition behind Abbey Road finally resurfaced. The songwriting is also the most coherent thing Paul had yet done post-Beatles. The highly detailed production does disguise the fact that the lyrics are rather haphazard at time ("Mamunia"? "Mrs. Vanderbilt"? "Jet"? What are the songs supposed to be about?), but the melodies are superb, so you can at least enjoy the nonsensical wordplay. And there's none of the cloying sentimentality of "My Love" or "Silly Love Songs" here, which marred a lot of Paul's solo career. Essential for any Beatles fan.

Bruno Müller <> (22.05.2002)

Reading the comments about this album, I couldn’t help to notice that most people seem to forget about its great diversity. So, unlike I said before, there’s something else to be said about this one. First of all: “repetitive” is the only word that can’t be attached to it.

“Mrs. Vandebilt” and “Mamunia” are clearly influenced by some African music. Listening to them, and realizing they’re from 1973, I can’t help seeing them as predecessors of the for-lack-of-better-word so called “World Music” that was, probably, the best output of the eighties, at least when made by Peter Gabriel (it became, shortly after, a cliché). A predecessor in the sense of mixing rock with sounds from other cultures – George Harrison’s Indian songs were pioneers in exploring other sounds, but they didn’t mix too much; they were more of Indian songs, with Indian instruments, didn’t show much of a rock feeling. Also, I guess Paul was the first to do this experiment with African music.

Also, there is “Picasso’s Last Words”. I don’t care what other people say. I don’t think it’s boring at all, I love it. Its variety is superb, its changes of rhythms, mix of different styles. We have the French-like part, then the heartbreaking romantic part: it really touches me that over-mentioned bass solo, followed by the melancholic “I’ll be waiting for you baby” line. After this, we go on to an unexpected, celebrating drunken chorus. It feels like the song was improvised in a booze moment. How adequate it is. It’s a very clever, original song. Come on! – where else can we hear something like that? Its reprises may look silly, but they’re just funny. People take things too much seriously sometimes. It’s a tribute, but it’s also a drunken song, after all – those joking reprises fit really well.

“No Words” has a guitar solo (it surely should have been extended) that reminds me of Dave Gilmour’s guitar. (By the way, there are really some Gilmour-inspired guitar lines there and then, in Paul’s albums; I think it’s a great honor to Dave and a show of good taste from Paul). “Let Me Roll It” is a blues. “Bluebird” is the inevitable pop song, but with an enjoyable choir and sax. And let’s not forget that “Helen Wheels” might be a minor song, but it’s a bonus track – it shouldn’t be considered in terms of reviewing.

The lyrics are great, most of the time, and I agree with those who see links among them, dealing with themes of freedom, escape, and so on, like it was mentioned. I think it was a very clever statement from Jeff that Paul shows some desperation and hope for recognition.

Thinking about the diversity of melodies and styles, and the dominating theme of freedom (in an abstract sense, not a political one), I can’t think of this as less than a masterpiece. One of the 20 best rock albums of all times. If someone might be disappointed it’s because it’s quite unfamiliar to the Beatles and Wings sound. I agree with George (the reviewer) in this matter: some might not even recognize it as a Paul McCartney album if he/she were not told about it in first place. This uniqueness is what made this album everlasting and, yes, I do dare to compare it with the best Beatles albums, from Revolver to Abbey Road. If it were not as good as they are, it might come right after them. I’ve no doubt it’s better then the earliest Beatles albums – which doesn’t mean I’m saying they are bad, but this one is a genius masterpiece.

By the way, only in a Paul McCartney album songs like “Band on the Run”, “Jet” and “Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five” could be labeled as “pop”. You see, that makes me a little angry, because here we are, again, underestimating Paul’s talent and creativity. “Jet” may have light lyrics, but it’s a rock song, nicely driven by guitar and sax. How can “Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five” possibly be a pop song? It’s a furious, fast song, with an also furious, outstanding singing, wonderfully broke into a lighter sequence, after which it moves to the main theme again, finishing the whole album in an exciting climax. If that’s not rock’n’roll, then I don’t know what rock’n’roll is.

Dan Hogg <> (08.07.2002)

Wings' most famous album, but sometimes I don't consider this their best album. It's either this or Venus and Mars. Even now, I'm undecided. So I'll just go on to the songs. The title track is a deserved radio classic, with 3 amazing segments. "Jet" was also a deserved hit, one of Paul's best hard rock tunes, with some of Paul's most bizarre lyrics e.g. "I thought the major was a lady suffragette". "Bluebird" is OK, doesn't grab me too much. "Mrs. Vandebilt" may be dumb, but sure is irresistible. Gotta love those 'ho, hey ho's.' The Lennon-esque "Let Me Roll It" has great atmosphere, with the organ and all. I don't see it as a response to Lennon's "How do You Sleep", maybe it's a take-off of his minimalistic style. "Mamunia" also slides past me without making much impact. "No Words" has an awesome sound, but they could have stretched it out one more minute or two. "Helen Wheels" is a murky rock tune that doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the album. Probab! ly because it was tacked on the US release. "Picasso's Last Words" is melodic, and has nice splicing of two early tunes. Then there's the closer "1985." Boy, what a closer. Awesome piano riff, great bridge, amazing ending, this has it all. So, some weak points, a few really high points, a pretty good album. Maybe not their best (still not sure), but it deserves most of its hype.

Max Makovec <> (09.11.2002)

Wow, this one's so grrrreat! One of the most important improvements is that you can notice so many influences from outside, and that's why the album sounds so interesting. It never gets boring! From the first song on I was hungry for more of such good stuff; the title track is almost a Medley, three nice ideas linked together to an incredible good tune. Great this moment where the song gets into the main part; first the bombastic string arrangements and then the tasty acoustic guitar sound afterwards... Mmmh! Anyway. "Jet" is another very diverse tune, this time not because of a Medley-style, but with interesting rhythm-changes every now and then and good hooks. My God is this one memorable. "Bluebird" is a good change after the rocker; a charming, tasty and imaginative tune with a good sax part. "Mrs Vanderbuilt" has good lyrics and a memorable melody (especially these "ho-hey-ho's!), while "Let Me Roll It" is a solid rocker with a fantastic rhythm and a good guitar riff. The first really experimentative song (with African influences, I think), is "Mamunia"; is it maybe about some African legend? See, and that's exactly the stuff I missed especially in the home-made albums, maybe charming, but not very diverse and not much to think about! The next song, "No Words", is a love song, but it isn't surrounded by other ones (and so they're not to much), it has a good melody and even impressionable lyrics. And, by the way, I don't think it's too short, it's absolutely enough; why not a two-minutes tune? "Helen Wheels" is another time a good change and fits perfectly into the album (even if it wasn't on the original release). It's very commercial, but what's wrong about it? It's groovy, funny, and so I like it. "Picasso's Last Words" is a good acoustic ballad, only a bit too long. The idea that other songs break in is in my opinion not the most brilliant Sir Paul ever had, maybe he should have stopped it after two minutes or so. The last track is unquestionably the masterpiece of the album: groovy, danceable rhythm, fantastic lyrics (hey, who said McCartney writes only commercial stuff and/or silly love songs...?), perfectly fitting vocals by Paul and after all an arrangement which makes me stand on my head!

Or, shortly spoken: I just can't get enough of that sweet stuff. Enjoy it!


Josh Fitzgerald <> (24.05.99)

Y'know, for some reason, this album just isn't as great as it used to be. It used to be my fav solo Beatle album, but now, I really can't say that anymore. Granted, it IS great, but my thoughts toward it has mellowed with time. To make the review brief, I'll just say that I love every single song except "Magneto & Titanium Man". Sorta lame. I still do love this album, just not as much as I used to

my rating-9 1/4

João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

I won't say too much about this ablum because I don't like it very much. 'You Gave Me The Answer' is my favorite, and I like 'Rock Show' and 'Letting Go', but all the rest eem so formulaic that is doesn't do anything for me. I thing there are too many synths here, and it is, in contrast to most of Macca's albums, overproduced. A 7 out of 10.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

No no no no no no no! This is REALLY disappointing coming off of Band On The Run! While I won't go so far as Rolling Stone Magazine (bastards) did, and say that Venus And Mars was one of the top ten Reasons Why Punk Had To Happen, this is a big step down coming off of the last album, with only ONE classic song ("Listen To What The Man Said") and a few good ones ("Medicine Jar," "Rock Show," "Treat Her Gently," perhaps). Otherwise, these songs are adequate at best and truly annoying at worst. "Letting Go" and "Love In Song" are probably the most salvageable of the remainders, but they really have too little personality to be memorable, whereas the embarrasing "Magneto And Titanium Man" is just cringe-inducing. As if the comic book story wasn't puerile enough, the music is disgustingly bubblegummy, with this "bompa, bompa, bompa, bompa" bassline that just epitomizes bad taste. "You Gave Me The Answer" is actually somewhat charming, but ultimately no more than a stylistic rewrite of "Honey Pie." "Call Me Back Again" is phony hysterics, plastic soul that I for one find far more unlistenable than David Bowie's near-contemporaneous Young Americans moves, and "Spirits Of Ancient Egypt" has "token Denny Laine vocal spot" written all over it.

That being said, "Listen To What The Man Said" is perhaps my favorite of McCartney's pure-pop confections (a group which includes "My Love," "Silly Love Songs," "With A Little Luck," and Ebony And Ivory"); the lyrics are sure dumb, but not disconcertingly so (unlike "Let 'Em In"), and the SOUND, oh....that sound is just so loverly, it's hard to argue with it. So sweet, and assured. It's easily my favorite on this album. Shame McCartney didn't throw "Junior's Farm" onto here, even as a bonus track, because it would've have significantly increased its value (by the way, the bonus tracks are totally useless, two instrumental B-sides and lame collaboration with The Meters). As it is, I'm going to give it a 6/10. Harsh, yes, but justified, especially because I feel like anyone who so shamelessly repeats themselves (Band On The Run + New Orleans = Venus And Mars) better pull it off near-perfectly or else prepare for criticism. That being said, Jimmy (not Henry) McCullough's "Medicine Jar" is one goddamn fine rocker (and GENUINE-sounding, unlike most of Paul's metal motions).

M.Gussekloo <> (15.05.2000)

Hi, can I post my thoughts?

I think Venus and Mars is one of Paul's best solo albums, actually. (although Flaming Pie and Band on the run are slightly better) Maybe it's that spooky thing called "sentimental value" again, but personally I think the opening is brilliant ('Venus&Mars' ends with the rockin' 'Rockshow' song) and the rest of the album is just plain good. The only bad mistake Paul made was "Listen what the man said"... In my opinion far too optimistic and insanely happy. What I like best about this album are the lyrics: they're very strange, and you can explain them in various ways. Maybe Paul faked a concept-album, but he did it in style: people with too much time on their hands (thats me) can imagine that the dark, vague lyrics actually do tell a story. Absolute favorite song is ofcourse 'Magneto & Titanium' man, because it tells another weird story like the Beatles used to do. I read so many negative reviews about this album, I just wanted to add my opinion for balance. Anyone who likes Paul should buy Band on the run, and then start saving up for Venus and Mars. They're allright tonight, ya know.. :)

Darren Bowers <> (20.06.2000)

To be honest, I feel this album is one of the best solo efforts from McCartney. Although it's not as popular as Band On The Run, I still feel in certain ways its stronger musically. The reason for my optimism is that this album express what McCartney does best. He is the master of polished melodies and tight songs. This shows him at the peak of his game, making slight songs beautiful with changing time signatures, and playing meticulously tight arrangements. Highlights would include the excellent 'Listen To What The Man Said', 'Crossroads', the short ditty 'Venus And Mars', 'Medicine Jar', 'Rock Show', and the little gem 'Love In Song'. The over all fell of the album is a strange one. You get hints of funk, psychedelic, pre punk, and classic mercy beat sound. It's an album that I cant quit put my finger on. Yet it's still engaging in it's own right. Sure yea maybe Band On The Run has more pop and assessable melodies, but this album is reaching for new territory. It's using different influences and breaking new ground. This album has influenced the whole punk scene which would becoming soon. This album is very underestimated and it's very rewarding to the listener. Sure it has a few throw away's but what McCartney album doesn't. I think that this is the most interesting album from McCartney. If you don't like it the first time around, just listen to a few more times, it will grow on you.

Robert Tally <> (08.08.2000)

And so, we get into the post-Band On The Run era. Paul has obviously chosen to emulate the previous album with this one, another 'semi-concept' album. And, as is usually the case when one tries to repeat one's biggest success, this album pales in comparison. That's not to say it's a bad album. In fact, I would probably rate it as Paul's third best, after Band On The Run and Ram. Almost every song on here is memorable, with perhaps the only exceptions being the last two: 'Treat Her Gently - Lonely Old People' (which is decent enough, but a little dull) and 'Crossroads Theme' (which is notably indistinct). When you consider that the song before these two is 'Listen To What The Man Said', it kind of makes the album seem like it's putting out towards the end. Oh sure, the big a-side from this album is typically infectious and I walk around with it in my head for the next two weeks, but the arrangement and performance render it into sugar-coated muzak. Paul's music is often like a rich pastry: it's too sweet and if you get too much of it, you just might throw up.

Which makes 'Magneto And Titanium Man' an odd track for me, because I really enjoy listening to it. It's so damned infectious. And it's such an unabashed bubble-gum tune that sometimes I just hate Paul for having come up with it. I've also got a weakness for 'You Gave Me The Answer', which quite convincingly captures the style of melody found in many films from the thirties. In the hierarchy of such Paul tunes, I place it ahead of 'Honey Pie', but not quite as high as 'When I'm Sixty- Four'. I'm not quite as impressed with 'Rock Show', but it's kind of fun. I'd bet any decent Led Zeppelin song could kick its ass, though. The slower tunes are all pretty solid: 'Love In Song', 'Letting Go', 'Call Me Back Again'. And Jimmy McCulloch turns in a halfway decent tune with 'Medicine Jar.' (It's refreshing to hear all those drug lyrics on a record like this.) 'Venus And Mars' seems a little silly, but it has nice bits.

My favorite song is 'Spirits Of Ancient Egypt', both because I've always liked that kind of imagery in music, and because it seems to be the ballsiest tune on the album. I also like Denny Laine's voice.

There have been at least three CDs of this album, the first one without bonus tracks, and the second one and the remastered CD both containing three. What we get is 'Zoo Gang' (a quirky and somewhat enjoyable instrumental that was the British b-side to 'Band On The Run') and two unreleased tracks from the Venus And Mars sessions that came out much later: 'Lunch Box-Odd Sox' (a fairly pedestrian instrumental that turned up on the b-side of 'Coming Up') and 'My Carnival' (a Mardi Gras-style tune that isn't all that special from the b-side of 'Spies Like Us' - there was also a longer 'party mix' of this that is no longer available).

Dan Miller <> (12.12.2000)

I think this album was crafted purposely to give wings some good 'rockin' material to perform live. Whilst there is nothing wrong with any of the songs in themselves, I think that they were very poorly produced, particularly in comparison to Band On The Run, and the the great live renditions to be found on wings over america. I dont see that much difference between this album and at the speed of sound, they both sound very much like 'made to order' albums filled with great pop songs (Listen to what the man said / silly love songs), great mid-70's rockers ( 'Rock Show' / 'Beware My Love'), haunting tracks ('Love In Song' / 'The Note You Never Wrote'), and nice ballads ('Treat Her Gently'/ 'Warm & Beautiful').

As with all of pauls albums, V&M could have been improved by the inclusion of one of the preceeding singles, in this case the great Juniors Farm / Sally G single. Its no Band on the run, but its all highly enjoyable all the same.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (23.12.2000)

Call me a freak but I say what I think: this effort is better than Band on the run. Why? Here I feel more rockin' atmosphere than on previous one and finally Venus and Mars ('Linda and Paul'?) is more or less concept album. As Paul said in his interview, the album was made after Macca was inspired by A.Azimov (line 'Starship 21zna9', for instance). Nevertheless, this record doesn't have ANY filler at all. Maybe 'Spirits of ancient Egypt' is the only weak spot here while the others can stay in your head for days. The experiment with 'Rock show' is very successful, maybe even the best track here (I say 'maybe' because we have 'Letting go' and 'Medicine jar'). 'Magneto And Titanium Man' is a great cocept song (if it can be called so, of course) with funny beginning and very unexpected ending. Plus, we have here charming 'Letting go' with great sax-work. Such pop-numbers as 'Listen To What The Man Said' and 'You Gave Me The Answer' are funny and ...well, not stupid, better to say enjoyable.

Strange but Venus and Mars leaves very optimistic feeling and I always relisten to it in time of depression. 10/10, and that's not enough.

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

Venus and Mars (God of love, God of War) is an album I never really warmed to for some reason. It's another mishmash, the material ranges from gorgeous and moving to forgettable and inane.

My fave tracks are 'You Gave Me The Answer' (yes, it sounds like the sequel to 'Honey Pie'); 'Magneto And Titanium Man'(a comic/cosmic song that could've snugly fit somewhere on "Magical Mystery Tour") and the title track.

Judging by some of these comments, I must be the only person on the planet who actually likes 'Call Me Back Again' –- Paul doesn't do a bad job in trying to sing 'white soul' and there's something about that 'swirling' horn sound in the background that keeps me coming back for more. The live version of this number on Wings Over America is slightly different in arrangement, but sung with great feeling and gusto.

I just can't stand 'Listen To What The Man Said' anymore, it must be the most overplayed radio hit from the 1970s (aside from 'Baba O'Riley') The two non-McCartney numbers, 'Medicine Jar' and 'Spirits Of Ancient Egypt' are just awful -– if Paul ran out of original ideas, maybe he should've opted for some cool covers rather than these two piss-pots!

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

1975 was a great year for rock:Dylan's blood on the tracks,Springsteeen's born to run,Neil Young 's tonight's the night,to name but three.Compared to these sensational works,Paul's effort seemed rather tame.Let's take it for what it is: light pop music.Thus we can find some good tracks:the remake of "honey pie" "you gave me the answer",the majestic title track,the mardi gras in New-Orleans "listen to what the man said" the indecipherable "spirits of ancient Egypt" and the nervy "medicine jar".A good holding-pattern album.

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

Another great album of Paul, probably not underrated, but a little unheeded. By the way, why so many awesome Paul's solo albums are unheeded? Yeah, this album rules like Band On The Run. "Love In Song" is a melting beautiful ballad; "Rock Show", "Letting Go" are magnificent as well; "Spirits Of Ancient Egypt" - what a cool song! Contribution of Jimmy McCullough is frigging colossal: "Medicine Jar" is groovy, such groovy as "Venus And Mars" with its reprise. Plus, the album has a retro Twenties-style number "You Gave Me The Answer". And "Listen To What The Man Said" and "Treat Her Gently (Lonely Old People)" are also nice. On the remastered CD we get more cool compositions ("Zoo Gang", "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" and "My Carnival").

Listen and enjoy!

Ryan Maffei <> (24.03.2002)

It seems with this record that some of Macca's creativity and popcraft skill has carried itself on. The stuff is still unbearably slight in spots ("Magneto and Titanuim Man" (!!!), "Venus and Mars"), but Paul proves he can still craft some fine material. Only some derivative, forgettable blues-rock numbers on the second side fail, and Beatle-esque whimsy plays a nice role in the excellent "You Gave Me the Answer", which might as well have been a White Album outtake. A 7/10. About 1975...there were a lot of great records out that year, actually, Night at the Opera, Born to Run, the Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack, Crisis? What Crisis?, Young Americans...wait, wait...ohhh, OHH MY GOD! IT'S TRUE! THERE WERE NO GREAT RECORDS THAT CAME OUT IN 1975!! OH, WOW!!! OHH, that totally changes my way of thinking. Come to think of it...were there any truly great records for the decade post-1974? Nah, I guess not. Huh.

Dan Hogg <> (08.07.2002)

Here's the other contender for my favorite Wings album. I always felt this had more of a concept than Band on the Run, which didn't have much of one. We start out with the tasty "Venus and Mars" and "Rock Show". That interlude between the two gets me every time, I don't know why. "Rock Show" is an amusing tune that sounds to me like a '70's Who parody. "Love in Song"...ehhh. "You Gave me The Answer" shows he still likes those 1920's-style ditties. "Magneto and Titanium Man" is catchy and nice. "Letting Go" is worth it for the intro alone, I agree with what you said about it. Then there's the "Venus and Mars" reprise, a bit longer this time. Denny's "Spirits of Ancient Egypt" sure is strange, but appealing. The anti-drug "Medicine Jar" is one of my favorite non-Macca Wings tunes. "Call Me Back Again" is all right, even if it sounds too similar to "Oh! Darling". "Listen to What the Man Said" hit #1, but I don't like it as much as I used to. "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People" is somewhat fillerish, as is the closer "Crossroads". And the three bonus tracks...ehh again. So, yeah, it's still a deadlock. The high points here aren't as high as on BOTR, but there is less filler and is more diverse than the latter.

Max Makovec <> (20.11.2002)

This album is indeed another classic Wings album, but friends, please don't compare it with its predecessor! It's no lame copy, damned, it's a complete different album with new ideas, a new concept (if you can call it concept) and other musical styles. I think Venus And Mars is totally underrated, but maybe that's the fact because it cannot hold the level it begins with. Band On The Run contains classics from start (title track) to the very finish ("1985"). Even the 'bonus' track ("Helen Wheels") is a brilliant tune there. But what can you compare it to in here? There are classics here, unquestionably, but there are pieces of filler, too. Especially the bonus tracks: they are all good ("Lunch Box/Odd Sox" is very groovy), but did they even have the slightest chance to reach the state of a classic? But: doesn't matter for me. Must an album be really full of classics, of unbeatable perfect melodies? On Band On The Run, the songs are maybe better, but on Venus And Mars there is a better flow, I have even more fun to listen to this one than to the previous one. Every part fits perfectly into the other here, and so the album has a very strong radiation of a charming, optimistic masterpiece or music. But to the details.

The album contains two melodies who belong to the absolutely best McCartney ever wrote. The first one is the title track and its reprise; both are clever, have fantastic melodies and are incredibly good arranged. I can't listen to them often enough. The second one is "You Gave Me The Answer"; yep, your read right. Maybe I'm a bit obsessed of teh retro tunes from Paul, because I love "When I'm Sixty-Four" the same way. God, they are that charming, despite their simplicity!! A counterpart to those tunes are the rockers, and first of them of course the complex masterpiece "Rock Show", indeed a good parody to the whole glam rock scene (I don't know, every time I listen to it I have to think of Status Quo....). Have you noticed that it's fantastical produced?I love especially the moments where the title tracks turns into "Rock Show" and second where the latter one turns into its totally unexpected last part (the moment where the piano breaks in and introduces a fantastical part with an incredible good rhythm...). The other rockers are solid, "Letting Go" has a good melody (maybe it could have needed a little solo...?), "Medicine Jar" is good arranged and good sung (the text isn't that bad, maybe a bit dubious)and, finally, "Call Me Back Again" contains good guitar work. As a balance to this (hard-)rock stuff you get first the moving ballad "Love In Song", it spreads the spirit of the home-made stuff, but it is better arranged and sung. Then you get the funny groove "Magneto And Titanium Man"; it completely doesn't matters what kind of story McCartney wants to tell us, important for me is only the good rhythm and the funny melodical hooks, and that makes it a good tune. "Listen To What The Man Said" is a bit too plain, but it's optimistic; I see it as the commercial track on the album which is an incentive in the sigle charts to buy more of that optimistic stuff. The only sad track in here is "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People" with incredible good guitar work (again!!!) and a melody which is tear-inducing. "Crossroads" is a good finish to the album, I imagine that to the end of a film when the hero has found to his sweetheart and they're walking down an empty road straight to the horizon...Yup, when I heard that I'm mostly uplifted and stop before the bonus tracks, such an original album is really a fascinating thing...

<> (28.07.2003)

Paul is Paul. Stop asking him to be someone else. He's not a heavy metal dude or a punk or glam-boy. This is a very fine record. And for cryin' out loud, stop whining about the trite lyrics in "Listen to what the man said" Those mean-spirited comments probably drove him to write "Silly Love Songs" which is annoying but STILL good. That's Paul for ya. That's what he can do. Now let me address a particular lyric that has been sited over and over as trite: "Soldier boy/Kiss his girl/Leave behind a tragic world/ He don't mind he's in love..." Now, friends, think about it. Some of you get out you history book and see what was going on in 1975. American Soldier boys were indeed leaving behind a tragic world and the only solace to them was finding a meaningful relationship, ya dig? You think I'm reading too much into it? Think again. Paul is smarter than all of us. His songs are rarely overtly political. "Give Ireland back to the Irish" comes to mind, so does most of Off the Ground and that one was hammered at the time of its release by the "mainstream" press. But Paul has opinions and feelings, you just have to look for them. You don't think "Blackbird" was about birds, do you? In 1968? Come on, now. Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, a soldier boy leaving behind a tragic world in 1975 was not trite. I'm out.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (16.05.99)

Underrated! This was the first Wings album I ever had, and it's good! "The Note You Never Wrote" really can be spooky. "Beware My Love" is a decent rocker, but way too long. This may come as a shock to some people, but I seriously think "Time To Hide" is Denny Laine's best song ever. While the lyrics leave something to be desired, it has such a great tune!! It's also cool how it links into "Must Do Something About It." About "Warm And Beautiful", it's just really bland. Really the only instrument in it is a piano and a brief guitar solo. "Cook Of The House" is silly, but I loved it when I was 8 years old! I too love "Silly Love Songs". Especially that weird intro. So this album is good, and at one point my favorite Wings album!!! But then I bought Venus And Mars....................................

My rating-8

Jon Springer <> (05.11.99)

Just a note -- I might have argued once upon a time that "Silly Love Songs" was a disaster, but I am finally convinced its one of his very best. One of Paul's most delightful bass lines ever. And what's wrong with that?

Mats Fjäll <> (28.11.99)

Just gonna say that you should listen to the lyrics on 'Silly Love Songs'.

Some people says that this song is a message for John (and I sure don't mean Elton!).

Steve Knowlton <> (02.02.2000)

A few facts:

"Wino Junko" is sung by Jimmy McCullough (sp?), who replaced Henry. "She's My Baby" is actually Paul singing. "Must Do Something About It" is written by Paul, sung by drummer Joe English, whose voice can't be too bad -- he's had a solo career in gospel music for 20 years now.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Eeek! Wings' Greatest has almost completely obviated the need for this album, but still not...quite... Arrgh. I hate that. No McCartney album pre-1983 is COMPLETELY disposable, and this is no exception. But this is certainly the weakest in his 70's studio output bar possibly Wild Life. It's obvious that McCartney was recording this while on tour, so he didn't have time to work up a fully successful batch of songs - Beatles For Sale redux, anyone? So too much of this is either nondescript ("San Ferry Anne," "She's My Baby," most of the other vocal spotlights bar "Wino Junko") or flat-out painful ("Warm & Beautiful" - it's bad enough, but WHY CLOSE THE ALBUM WITH IT PAUL?! Don't emphasize the flaws! - and "Cook Of The House"). "Let 'Em In"'s moronic lyrics bother the hell out of me, but I'm helpless to resist its magnetic musical pull on my pleasure centers; stuff like this makes me feel powerless, since I can't HELP but dig that piano line. Now I've never really had a problem with "Silly Love Songs." I just don't see what makes it anymore offensive than "My Love," for example. In fact, it's quite brilliant. Look at how subtle and crafted it is. The rhythm track is ingenious by itself, with all those rattles and clicks resolving themselves into a underpinning (anyone think he was borrowing from Pink Floyd's "Money" here?). Furthermore, the melody is catchy (which is what we expect of McCartney) and the lyric takes a dig at all his critics, which I suppose it why critics made a secret pact to destroy its reputation. Also, the vocal layering is nifty, what with that cool roundelay developing halfway through between McCartney, Laine, and Linda. I like, and I think it even deserves to be six minutes long. A 6/10. (10/15)

The best song on here (in my ever-subjective opinion, of course) is "Beware My Love," and I'd like to mention a general point about McCartney in relation to this ditty. In case you haven't heard it before, it's an ear-pinning hard-rocker, opening with a spooky organ/vocal section and a brightly-miked acoustic guitar pattern. It's impressive as all hell, fairly complex in construction, and what's more, convincing. This last point is the most important. I believe that McCartney is generally at his absolute WORST when he's trying to "rock out" - he doesn't have the voice for it (or rather, he does - go back to "I'm Down" with The Beatles for confirmation - but he strangely doesn't usually sing in it) - and what's worse, his *production* technique is usually all wrong for it. In the studio McCartney has a tendency to emphasize treble frequencies (strange for a bassist, but then McCartney was always a multi-instrumentalist) and to lay on overdubs without mixing them down, leaving them sounding hollow and disjointed, as if each instrument was playing in a different room - the sound is technically correct, but the ensemble feel so fundamentally important to a great rocker is all but absent. Perhaps this is less noticeable on LP, but on digital CD it's very clear, and it's what makes songs like "Rock Show" from Venus And Mars sound just the slightest bit phony, where that slight bit of phoniness is all you need to sabotage the feeling. Same thing for "Hi, Hi, Hi," another heavy number from around the Red Rose Speedway era.

Farther down the page, George talks about how people always ignore the "rocker" aspect of McCartney; not to give his critics too much credit, but perhaps that's because his "hard rock" moves usually sound forced, like he's only going throught the formal motions, without any actual belief in the material. In a sense this ties into what I wrote at the top of the page in the general comment section: McCartney's chief failing is a deeper commitment to the formal perfections of any musical style he's imitating than the more subtle emotional core which lies underneath. To throw in a completely unnecessary Shakespeare quote, he's often "only got the tune of the times," not the spirit. For an example of a rocker that DOES work, "Medicine Jar" on Venus And Mars has a much denser feel, and while its murky, that only helps it out; it sounds like it's serious, and not just an experiment (possibly because Jimmy McCullough was a drug addict himself). McCartney's a great pop-songwriter, even a great mid-tempo rocker, but when he really tries to cut loose the results are likely to be embarassing. All of which makes "Beware My Love" so impressive, getting back to the topic at hand. For once the production is pretty much spot-on, McCartney's in GREAT voice, and everything gels. But this is a rare exception in the McCartney canon. Notice how he never really tried to rock out again after this? It's just pop songs all the way up to Flaming Pie (Back To The Egg excepted, I suppose) from here.

[Special author note: I believe I'll just have to confront dear Jeff on that one, because he's touched a very painful little spot on here. I don't mean the album, of course (give it a six or a seven - who really cares), but about Paul's general inability to 'hard-rock'. Basically, if I understand it right, what Jeff is doing here is accusing Paul of the following two (interrelated) sins: (a) Paul ruins the feeling necessary for a good rocker by approaching it with the tendency to overproduce: his 'technologies' are overtly professional and exclude any possible 'sloppiness', which makes the tunes in question sound slick, smooth and, ultimately, phoney; (b) Paul betrays the criterium of 'sincerity' - creating hard rockers which he doesn't believe in; according to the Ten Commandments of Rock, this is an oxymoron. I understand that position, but do not agree with it.

In the long run, what really matters for a solid rocking number is not the production, but its musical essence. I believe that both Paul and John (and even George, to a certain extent) could rock out very well, all choosing a separate style of their own. George's 'rocking' sound (for All Things Must Pass, primarily) was based on multiple guitar overdubs, which rendered it bombastic and towering; John's 'rocking' sound (for the most part of his solo career) was based on special effects (echoes, etc.) plus a heavy use of brass section; finally, Paul's 'rocking' sound was based on loudness, blatant 'metallisms' and a powerful rhythm section, esp. drums.

All of these styles do not really fit in our perception of a classic 'rockin' band' like the Stones or the Who - for us, to 'rock' means to play dirty, crunchy riffs at a fast enough speed, primarily emphasizing the 'isolated' guitar sound. Taking it too far, one might say that if it's easy to replicate a 'rocking' tune with just your average four-piece bar band (of course, if they have the necessary chops), then it's 'authentic'; if it isn't, then it's 'phoney'.

IMHO, that's a very narrow-minded approach; after all, rock music is primarily valuable to me because it never fits in a single pattern. (Same thing goes for people who bash progressive rock claiming that it loses the 'spirit' of real rock'n'roll. So what? There are different spirits in this world, not to mention those of Ancient Egypt...). Anyway, I was speaking about Paul: I don't mind if his 'rockers' are too slick and overproduced as long as they (a) have a catchy, memorable melody (and few Macca rockers do not have that melody), (b) are well-performed and (c) feature something original, experimental, innovative, well, you get my drift. 'Rock Show' off Venus And Mars, for instance, is a great example of such a performance.

True, it's easy to understand the critics who disliked Paul's rock attitudes - but this stems from their personal limitations, and unwillingness to accept anything beyond a specified formula. And believe me, Paul's hard-rocking tracks are not at all forced: they're not any more forced than his ballads or basically anything he's writing at any selected point. They seem forced as long as you compare them to bands that fit our standard perceptions of a 'rock band', but they stand out loud and proud on their own. Don't believe me? Try rearranging any selected Macca rocker in your mind and imagining how it could sound in the hands of, say, the Rolling Stones or even Mott the Hoople. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Now onto the second point. One could indeed accuse these rock numbers of being insincere, which Jeff does when he's quoting Shakespeare. But how come these hard rockers are less sincere than, say, 'Ram On'? Or 'Picasso's Last Words'? Or 'Mrs Vanderbilt'? Or 'She's My Baby'? The big problem with Paul, as with quite a few other notorious artists like David Bowie, is that he rarely cares about emotion or about songs coming 'from the heart'. I already hinted at that in the intro paragraph and I'm not going to discuss the thing in details. The point is - Paul's rockers totally fit in his overall style ('style', though, not 'formula' - he doesn't have a 'formula'). One has to value them for what they are: providing loads of interesting, often brilliant melodies, and eventually engaging you in their flow. This is what makes a McCartney rocker, as 'generic' or 'phoney' as it is, stand out from the endless sludge provided by, say, Rod Stewart in the late Seventies: where Rod is definitely more suited to singing rock songs and he's often able to cut it with just the strength of his voice alone, the melodies that he used to write or accept from outside writers are utterly pedestrian and derivative.

As for why McCartney eventually stopped writing hard-rocking songs - I think it has more to do with his engulfment in new, modernistic Eighties' technologies and decline into the most stupid aspects of synth pop on the way than with his disappointment in the results (although the poor sales of Back To The Egg possibly had something to do with that). Note that on Off The Ground Paul made a 'hard-rocking comeback', with at least one classic result - 'Biker Like An Icon', dumb lyrics aside, is one of his best contributions in the genre.]

Robert Tally <> (09.08.2000)

I'm hard-pressed to think that Wings was actually losing ground with this album. It sounds virtually as good as Venus And Mars to my ears. For the third album in a row, they came up with a collection of songs that are all at least fairly good. There are really no clunkers here. There are, however, some songs I'd rather not listen to. 'Silly Love Songs', the massive hit, is typically infectious (though not as much as some of Paul's previous hits), but it's little more than muzak. And as far as the counterpoint vocals go, I stopped being impressed on the second listen - which was back in 1976. 'She's My Baby' is another cute little song with nothing wrong with it, but I'd rather pass on it. 'Warm And Beautiful', I think, has a pretty nice melody, but it gets a little dull. 'Cook Of The House' suffers mostly from Linda's voice. The song itself isn't so bad, but it kind of reminds me of 'Death Cab For Cutie' from the Magical Mystery Tour film. Jimmy McCulloch has another pretty decent outing with 'Wino Junko', which is of course about drugs, and which also has some interesting production details. Joe English turns out to be a pretty solid vocalist on 'Must Do Something About It', which has a nice verse, but kind of a dumb chorus and a really dumb ending. 'San Ferry Anne' sounds pretty good to me, but it seems it could have been better if Paul had kept working on it. 'Let 'Em In' sounds like something Paul must have sung for his kids. Yeah, that's it. I won't have to feel embarrassed about liking it if I think of it as a children's song. It really is infectious, though in this case it's more because of the chords than the melody. It conjures up quite a haunting mood.

Then there's the songs which I think are the best on the album. 'Beware My Love' starts off a little weakly, but otherwise it's a pretty strong outing. The other two songs are both sung by Denny Laine, 'The Note You Never Wrote' (which has a great atmosphere to it) and 'Time To Hide' (which Laine wrote himself, and almost puts Paul's material on here to shame). The original CD and the remastered CD have the same bonus tracks, and they all come from 1974, between Band On The Run and Venus And Mars, and were all recorded in Nashville. The first two are both instrumentals which were released as a single by a group called The Country Hams (but it was, of course, Wings). The a-side was a tune Paul's dad (Jim McCartney) wrote in the old days called 'Walking In The Park With Eloise'. I find this to be a really enjoyable tune - it sounds like what you'd hear if you were walking up Main Street in one of the Disney parks, straight out of the turn of the century. The b-side to that was 'Bridge Over The River Suite' which is a bluesier instrumental with an inner city jazzy feel. The third bonus track is 'Sally G', a great country ballad which was originally the b-side of 'Junior's Farm' (which is unfortunately not included here). A few months after release, however, the sides were switched, and 'Sally G' became the a-side.

Technical point about the Wings lead guitarists: Henry McCullough played from 1972 to 1973; Jimmy McCulloch played from 1974 to 1977.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (01.01.2001)

You know, the rating of this album depends on your attitude to Paul (and Linda, too). If you want to pump up the rating to 10/10 you can easily say that 'Let 'em in' is splendid piano ballad with thin vocal, 'The note you never wrote' is a wonderful song showing lyrical hero in time of suffering from love, 'She's my baby' is cozy pop ballad with more thin vocal, 'Beware my love' has rare co-singing from Linda and Paul, 'Wino junko' shows that Wings' members could write good songs, too, 'Silly love songs' has chorus that can stay in your head for days, 'Cook of the house' is a jazz-pop song written by soft-hearted Linda, 'Time to hide' is nearly pure hard-rock which is well played, 'Must do something about it' with 'San Ferry Anne' are cute acoustic numbers with strong voice and 'Warm and beautiful' is a pretty sentimental song.... Whew, I nearly fell asleep while writing these lines. Now about my real opinion. I really tend to like this album. To me there're only 3 poor songs ('The note you never wrote', 'She's my baby' and 'Warm & beautiful' (it reminds me about hours I spent sleeping on music lessons)) while the others are good. I can't find anything bad in 'Silly love songs' or in 'Cook of the house'. You know, lately I started to listen to 'albums', not to 'songs on the album'. So now I can feel the kind of an album and Wings at the speed of the sound seems to be very romantic. So romantic that I often turn it on when I spend an evening with a girl. My rating is 8/10.

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

Wings at the Speed of Sound should never have been released. An EP containing the four best tracks, namely 'Beware My Love,' 'Let 'em In', 'Silly Love Songs', and 'She's My Baby' (all written by Paul, of course) would've been a better idea.

The other songs on this record are simply horrid!

I sympathize with people who recoil at 'Let'em in' and 'Silly love songs' because of their overexposure on AM radio and their inane lyrics -- but that doesn't change the fact that these are both supremely well-crafted pop melodies featuring a powerful bass foundations. (And if you're a Paul McCartney fan, surely you realize this stuff is his bread and butter).

Didier Dumonteil <> (11.03.2001)

I've never liked that.M.Ghosh is absolutely correct.With time,some stuff has improved:"must do something about it,"beware my love" ,but not the 2 crappy singles that were played by the radios ad nauseam this summer of 1976.

Ryan Maffei <> (24.03.2002)

Dull, mediocre, blatant, derivative, obvious, and forgettable. Speed of Sound isn't bad, it's just a totally worthless, half-hearted entry into the McCartney canon, with Paul spewing ugly balladry ("Warm and Beautiful") and lame hard-rock ("Beware My Love"), and the rest of the group being totally unremarkable in their newfound songwriting "talents". An album where Linda has a spot should be completely left behind without consideration (God rest her soul, anyway). That said, I give McCartney kudos for recognizing Wings as a BAND and not a BACKING BAND, but the members just warn't that great. Maybe McCulloch, he was rather competent with "Wino Junko".

Everyone knows the highlights, though. "Let 'Em In", McCartney's most delightful banality, and "Silly Love Songs" an ingenious piece of lightweight loveliness. Although a second "Eleanor Rigby" or "Cry Baby Cry" might've been more infinitely desired. A 5 out of 10 for Speed of Sound.

Max Makovec <> (29.11.2002)

This one's not a hot anymore, you say. Hmmm..... yes and no! On the one hand, McCartney is not as strong anymore, but in some songs the other band members (especially Laine and McCulloch) are stronger than ever. The great songs are very well produced, but, well, the disappointments are heavy, Real heavy. And the heaviest is surely Linda's "Cook of the House". My God, how drunk was Sir Paul when he decided that Linda could sing that? On this album? And, worst of all, before one of the best songs of the album, the incredible tasty classic "Time to Hide"! Noticed the difference??? Luckily, my CD has a heavy mistake exactly in the middle of "Cook of the House", Linda is allowed to sing about a minute! Hey, the first intelligent CD I've ever seen!

The other disappointments are the singles. "Let 'em In" is that plain and simple it isn't charming anymore. Furthermore it's badly sung and much too childish; no, I really don't like that. "Silly Love Songs" isn't much better arrangened and sung, but it has at least a clever message. Funny how he provocates the people who hate Macca's love songs by singing these "I love you"'s again and again! I think it's respectable to sing this song despite the obvious follows, because he surely knew that the reactions would be very harsh on that.

Songs easily to forget are "San Ferry Anne" - sweet, but not at all memorable; "Warm and Beautiful" - nice melody, but really not brilliant sung (although I don't find it THAT bad...), and the bonus track "Bridge on the River Suite" - boring.

So, enough criticism. Now to the good songs. First time I listened to Speed of Sound and I heard "Let 'em In", I thought that album would go on with that kind of lightweigth pop stuff. But thanks God it's a DEMOCRATIC album! When I listened to the second tune, "The Note You Never Wrote", I almost fell out of my chair. Wow, brilliant! Touching melody, brilliant sung, tear-inducing melody, and good arranged! My God, this is really one of the finest songs I've ever heard from Wings, also because it has a solid and well-played guitar solo! (I know I'm almost alone with this opinion...)! The next song, "She's My Baby" is brilliant, too. Boppy, catchy and charming, a funny rhythm and good sung, its optimistic charisma produces an easy feeling for me! "Beware My Love" isn't that good, but a good variety to the previous ones. I have really nothing against rockers from Sir Paul, it's at least much more authentic than the 80's synth-crap. "Wino Junko" catches the speed of sound (well spoken!!!), but a bit too long! It's getting a bit sinewy after 3 minutes. Another masterpiece of the album is Laine's "Time to Hide". Because of it's good production it has a tasty, moody atmosphere. It catches the typical sound of the 70's and combines it with elements of rock. A classic! "Must Do Something About It" has a good melodym, that rules here, and I have fun listening to it. The bonus tracks (except the mediocre one "Bridge on River Suite") are funny and a consequent follow of the optimistic moods of the original album. "Walking in the Park with Eloise" by old James (was his name James?) McCartney is charming and funny, lightweight stuff with enough energy to produce a good feeling. And that's the case too with the Country& Western-ish "Sally-G".

After all, I think that's one of Wings' strongest points because of its enorm charisma of optimism, and that's an important point for an album to be a masterpiece!


Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

I'll keep this short. One word: why? McCartney's a completely unrevelatory live performer, the songs are functional if unspectacular renditions, and there are no alarms and no suprises here, except stupid ol' "Richard Cory" (bad poem = bad song) and the silly "Soily." No one needs a Wings live album (even if this one spent something like a lifetime at the top of the charts back in 1977. THIS album is why punk had to happen!), and I've listened to this all of twice in my life. Go buy Red Rose Speedway or Ram instead. Better yet, go get Live At Leeds or Under A Blood Red Sky. Now THOSE are essential live albums! This ain't. 3/10.

Robert Tally <> (09.08.2000)

At this point, I'm gonna have to disagree with both George and Jeff. While I'm not exactly jumping for joy while listening to this album, I would still rate it as highly as Venus And Mars (which is almost all here) and Speed Of Sound. If I wanted to save my money and choose between buying this or buying those two studio efforts, I'd get this one. And for a very simple reason. The songs just sound better this way. Particularly the rocked-up tunes, which always suffered on the studio albums from what John Lennon once described as the 'dead Beatles sound'. That is, since everything was recorded separately, there really isn't much of a 'band sound' on the Wings records (somehow, the Beatles records tended to sound pretty good anyway). Even though much of the recording for this album was done in the studio (a much more common practice than most people think), it still has a live sound, and the band sounds more like they're all in one place - because, after all, they are.

While I'm not a big 'Rock Show' fan, I definitely think it sounds better here than on the studio version, and the segue into 'Jet' is pretty dramatic. 'Spirits Of Ancient Egypt' also sounds better here. 'Let Me Roll It' is a bit more dynamic, now that a good drummer like Joe English is playing on it rather than Paul. 'The Long And Winding Road' (which I really don't like as a song) is actually presented here the way I imagine McCartney wanted it - without the gooey orchestrations. 'Picasso's Last Words' sounds great - and without all the 'reprises' from the studio version. 'Listen To What The Man Said' is more lively and doesn't have some of the really sickening stuff attached to it. 'Magneto And Titanium Man' is a bit rockier. 'Hi Hi Hi' is way better here than on the single. And most of the other songs are either as good as the original versions, or at least reasonably close. It does seem, however, that Paul is racing right through 'Lady Madonna' and plays 'Blackbird' a bit flippantly. At least one of the 'surprises' is actually pretty good. Personally, I think 'Richard Cory' has pretty solid lyrics (although I wonder what Paul Simon thought of Denny Laine inserting John Denver's name into the lyrics). The sequence with 'Picasso's Last Words' and 'Richard Cory' is one of my favorite moments on the album. The version of 'Go Now' included here sounds at least okay to me. And then there's 'Soily', which is really just another murky Wings rocker with little going for it.

I would like to point out one notable difference between this and the later live albums Paul put out. It's mostly Wings material. There are only five Beatles songs. On his later tours, about eighty per cent of the material was Beatles stuff. But Wings were quite a popular band in the seventies, even if modern audiences are more nostalgic for the Fabs.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (07.12.2000)

I don't really know why but I don't like this album very much. The songs are very good and you can easily take Wings over America as a compilation. But the quality of performance is simply bad (I wonder if this concert was held on a stadium). You know, on some concerts singer's voice is too low and instruments are too loud, on some live albums voice is too loud and instruments are too low. But here we get bad vocal plus, I'm not afraid of this word, crappy (but only on the first six tracks) guitarwork ('Medicine jar' was totally ruined by 12-string guitar). One of the best Paul's songs 'Maybe I'm amazed' suffers (!!!) from Paul's vocal. Really, he sometimes misses the time he should start singing. Though, I must admit that the middle part is fantastic (suddenly Paul's voice became better). He (or someone from his band) even sings 'Richard Cory'. Then we face another beautiful song - 'Bluebird'. You know, I never liked the original on 'Band on the run' because of it's sweetness. But this version is really romantic and moving one (maybe even the best song on this album, though it was VERY hard to define). A little bit faster version of 'Magneto and Titanium man' (many critics dismiss it as a childish happy song but I find here very interesting story) is good, too. 'Magneto' is followed by second cover: 'Go now'. I didn't hear the original but I find this song rather cute. Unfortunately, the quality of sound falls down in 'My love' (or is it all because of bootleg copy?) and in some other songs, too (just take 'Time to hide' as a clear example). The last number on the record is crappy 'Soily' which (oh, thank you, Lord!) wasn't included into any studio albums. Oh, I forgot about 'Letting go' (faster than original) which is great.

Still, as I said before, I don't care much Wings over America maybe because I don't like satisfactory live albums. Nothing to talk about: it's too ordinary to praise and too satisfactory to dismiss. Well, 6/10 is enough.

Dan Miller <> (07.01.2001)

I think this is a great album. The opener of 'venus & Mars/ Rock Show/ Jet' is wonderful, and all the songs generally sound much better than they do on record, particularly the Venus & Mars tracks.

I wish theyd played more stuff from McCartney, Ram and Red Rose Speedway, and why the hell wasnt 'Juniors Farm' included as Im sure they played this on the tour. 'The Long & Winding Road' sounds brilliant, and is by far the best version ever done of it.

I think this album should be re prommoted as a sort of starting point for new McCartney fans, its much better than the other live albums and greatest hits packages.

Palash Ghosh <> (24.02.2001)

Wings Over America is clearly for the McCartney completist/fanatic -– I used to have it on vinyl, but I haven't purchased the CD yet (and have no great desire to do so).

Like Hitler's blitzkrieg into Poland, McCartney's 1976 North American tour represented him at the very zenith of his popularity and power -- so he sought to document it; can't blame him, really.

But there is little of musical value to recommend here – the live versions of some Beatle classics from a real-live Beatle ('I've Just Seen A Face', 'Blackbird', 'Lady Madonna', 'The Long And Winding Road' and 'Yesterday') must've been a thrill for concert-goers -– even in 1976 when it was already clear that The Beatles would never re-unite.

And I thought it would've been a classy touch if Paul had covered a John Lennon song on this album (the way John covered Paul's 'I saw her standing there' at Elton John's Madison Square Garden concert in 1974).

My personal favorite numbers here are 'Band On The Run' (somehow more sweeping and beautiful than the more sterilized studio version) and 'Maybe I'm amazed' (a slower, more bluesy, and more powerful version than the one on Paul's debut solo LP).

Max Makovec <> (11.12.2002)

Oh well, not really much to say about this album. It's only an impression of McCartney on stage and from my point of view it's a more positive than negative impression. Mainly positive, because the audience seems to like it and some performances are really solid. For example the rockers. Especially these one from the beginning sound authentic to me. They are well performed and McCartney sings like he was in process of dying. Funny.

The Beatles tunes are ... hmmm... hard to say, after all I think they're bad because the lack of three other guys. But, okay okay, the crowd is crazy after that stuff and I think if I were part of the crowd I would like it too. Anyway. The real heavy dissapointments are "Let 'em In" (which I don't like in the studio version, sorry George...), "Hi Hi Hi" (boring, boring, boring) and the wonderful tunes "You Gave Me The Answer" and "Bluebird" which both lose their charme in the live versions. Good arranged, I think, is for example "Picasso's Last Words", here it has the right legth, too. "Live And Let Die" sounds really heavy and bombastic, as it should, it's a title track for James Bond. "Maybe I'm Amazed" is in fact the best song for me here, much better than the spare studio version. Laine's performances are also good, his part in the group could have really been a bit stronger. All in all this is an album you musn't own - visit a McCartney live concert (I plan it - hope he comes to Germany!!!!!) and you have this stuff (a bit varied today, okay) with a good atmposphere, and that's much better.

Stefan Ditters <> (20.11.2003)


the album for me it's extraordinary piece of music. I sold the LP in 1976 and now I get the CD and it's my favourite music-cd. Paul is an great artist, a really creator of music. I guess he's never benn so good as in the 70' together with the Wings.


João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

A great album, with some of Macca's best writing. I agree with you on 'Deliver Your Children': GREAT SONG! Paul's falsetto on 'girlfriend' is very nice. I like 'Backwards Traveller' and 'London Town'. This album sounds like Paul decided to do a sorrt of acoustic album, but then threw in a lot of experimentation and synthesizers. One song from this period that really deseved to be here was 'waterspout', probably Paul's best unreleased song, besides 'Yvonne'. this album gets and 8.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

This one is soft, soft, soft, yet strangely endearing. Other than "I've Had Enough" there's not a real rock number to be found anywhere here (the Elvis-Presleyisms of "Name And Address" aside, and that's retro-rock anyway), so beware.

That being said, I really enjoy this one lots, and I'm really happy George singled-out "Deliver Your Children," which is easily the best song on the album and Denny Laine's finest moment as a writer with Wings. I won't add to it since he's done a fine job of capturing its essence. On London Town the order of the day is experiment, experiment, experiment, and despite the possibilities for disaster (and despite "Morse Moose And The Grey Goose") McCartney seems to have pulled off quite well. "Backwards Traveller" is a heap of fun, with that tape-echoed and reversed "h-h-h-h-HEY, don't you know that I'm/always going back in time," and "Cuff Link" is an enjoyable instrumental. I really like "Cafe On The Left Bank" (and that's the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris, George, not the Thames - a famous hipster hangout akin to New York City's Grenwich Village). "London Town" and "With A Little Luck" are the big singles and they're very similar (in fact, this is where you'll get that overwhelming "soft" vibe from the album), but I prefer "London Town" with its evocative depictions of time and place: "People pass me by on my imaginary street/Ordinary people it's impossible to meet/Holding conversations that are always incomplete" - hey! Waitasec! That's a great little lyric! HE COULD DO IT IF HE WANTED, he was just messing with us all these years! And now onto "With A Little Luck"...oh...wait, I guess he can't do it after all. These lyrics are the same ol' horseshit, and while the song is quite listenable and even catchy WHILE you're listening, you'll be hard pressed to remember much of it after it's over. There are a bunch of other little gems here ("Girlfriend," which Michael Jackson might've done better," "Children, Children," "I'm Carrying," "Don't Let It Bring You Down") but I won't go into them all; I've got a feeling people are tired of reading my damn comments. Just want to give a fair warning: this is a sedate album. Don't expect anything like Band On The Run or even anything as bouncy as Red Rose Speedway. Unwind to it. 7/10.

Robert Tally <> (17.08.2000)

It seems like an intriguing idea that these guys would go for a more mellow approach after their recent excursions into arena-rock. Unfortunately, the material here sounds mostly mediocre to me. I'll agree with George that the best song here is definitely 'Deliver Your Children' (although they could've slowed the tempo down just a tad). Musically and lyrically, it's just damn solid material, with lots of catchy guitar runs linking the chords. In fact, my second favorite song on here is another that Denny Laine collaborated on - 'Children Children', which has some nice textures and a decent Irish folk-song melody. 'Don't Let It Bring You Down' is a pretty solid tune, but perhaps a little dull. The other two Laine collaborations don't hold up as well: 'London Town' (which has some good ideas mixed with a couple of really dumb melodic things - particularly when they get to the word 'flute') and 'Morse Moose And The Grey Goose' (which is at least an interesting track - but the 'Morse Moose' section is just sort of obnoxious).

Among the tracks McCartney wrote on his own (or were they with Linda?), my favorite is 'Name And Address' - which I'm a little embarrassed to admit, since I get a little weary of Paul's excursions into long-lost musical styles. In this case, he gives us a thoroughly entertaining (and catchy) imitation of Freddie Mercury imitating Elvis. 'Backwards Traveller' sounds like it could have been a good song if only the second half of it had been written. 'Famous Groupies' has some nice melodic bits and a few funny lines, but it suffers from McCartney's typically obnoxious delivery.

Then there's the rest, which are all solid pieces of songwriting, but which don't do a hell of a lot for me: 'With A Little Luck' (I do kind of like the cushion of synths on this one - surprising as that is to me - but the tune is nothing more than muzak with words); 'Cafe On The Left Bank' (maddeningly memorable, but for some reason I just don't like it); 'I've Had Enough' (sounds like a typical generic fifties rocker from Paul - I'm not impressed); 'I'm Carrying' (this just sounds really dull to me); 'Cuff Link' (a moderately enjoyable instrumental).

The original CD also includes 'Girls' School' as a bonus track, which is another rocker. I'd rate it higher than 'I've Had Enough' in any case. The remastered CD also includes 'Mull Of Kintyre' from the other side of that single (the a-side in most of the world, but the b-side in the US). For me, this song shines above everything on the album. The writing and arrangement are among the best McCartney ever pulled off. Oh, and look - Denny Laine collaborated on it.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.10.2000)

Wonderful! This is only Paul's album that moves me to tears. So soft in the beginning and so sad in the end... 'Deliver your children' and 'Don't let it bring you down' make me cry every time I hear them. Most of songs such as 'Girlfriend', 'Morse moose and the grey goose', 'Deliver you children', 'Don't let it bring you down', 'Cafe on the left bank' and 'Backwards traveller' (half-finished song but it has something moving inside) are real little worlds which are funny and sad at the same moment. Surely there's filler, but it's still enjoyable! Just look: 'Children, children', 'I've had enough' ('Smile away vol.2'), 'Famous groupies' and 'London town' are simple but good, too. Well, I even enjoy Paul singing:' If you want my love/ Give your name and address'. All songs are very good! And don't forget about bonus tracks ('Girl's school' and 'Mull of Kintyre') are splendid.

Paul said in his interview that he didn't want to make Sgt. Pepper's lonely hearts club band vol.2 but it's clear that all songs are connected with each other. This record is true no revolution but I insist on 10/10 mark (with bonus tracks).

Didier Dumonteil <> (12.03.2001)

Underrated as hell! It met once more with chilly  reviews.But they were totally irrelevant.In London's town,McCartney does what MCCartney does best:melodically,this album is strong,and in a much better way than "silly love songs" "let them in' and all the speed of sound stuff.

London town takes us back to the Beatles days:opening chords recalling "Blackbird" and a progression a la "fool on the hill".THe best song about London ever written,with endearing lines such as "maybe he exagerates the trouble and the strife well I don't know"This people on this imaginary street  holding conversation that are always incomplete "are cousins of the woman from" Penny Lane" that thinks she 's in a play and is anyway".McCartney seems here to come to terms with his overwhelming past.Dig this extraordinary ballad "I'm carrying"!Denny Laine comes to the fore for the first time:he cowrote 4 songs outside the title track,one of which "deliver your children" is first-rate."With a little luck is a very good single,made with care and love,longer than usual.London town is a burried treasure.When a conversation revolves around Macca,this album always remains in the shadow.Why?

Ryan Maffei <> (25.03.2002)

More blatant, slick pratter, with a dab of nice, apparent folk influence (courtesy of "Mull of Kintyre"'s success?) that elevates the record somewhat. When we're not doing lethal balladry ("I'm Carrying") and ridiculous disco ("Morse Moose and the Grey Goose"), there are some fine moments, like the great title track, and the lovely pseudo-gospel/celtic/medieval folk of "Deliver Your Children", by far this album's best track. But on a record where "Famous Groupies" is a near-highlight, one begins to realize that Macca is really struggling to put out decent material. A low 6.

Dan Hogg <> (10.07.2002)

Hmmm, the boys (and girl, can't forget Linda) are mellowing out here. London Town is probably the quietest of all Wings albums, as in no heavy rockers. We start off with two fine Brit tunes, the title track and "Cafe on the Left Bank". "I'm Carrying" is a typical Macca ballad, and "Backwards Traveller" doesn't amount to much, but is still worth it. "Cuff Link" is unnecessary, and Denny's acoustic "Children Children" sounds a bit dorky to me. The falsetto-laden "Girlfriend" sounds like it was written for Jacko, so it comes as no surprise that he covered it later on. "I've Had Enough" is the only "rocker" here, a pretty generic one for McCartney. "With a Little Luck" is a complete snoozer, how did it make #1 here in the states? "Famous Groupies" may be another dorky tune, but Macca makes it likable. Denny's "Deliver Your Children" is a complete stunner, and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who thought it stood out. I won't even describe it, I'd just! be repeating what you said. Who would have thought the best song on a Wings album could NOT be by Paul? "Name and Address" is amusing rockabilly, and "Don't Let it Bring You Down" is repetitve in a good way. "Morse Moose" sucks bad though, no direction at all. Luckily, the CD ends with "Girls School", which rocks much harder than anything on this album. An OK album, just a little too mellow at times.

Max Makovec <> (12.01.2003)

This is, in my opinion, one of the three big "stars" McCartney ever produced. Even as good as Band On The Run and Venus And Mars, it contains a bunch of great melodies, great lyrics and great productions. Furthermore, everything on the album seems to be in its right position because it's all in a way thematically connected and so I'm even able to enjoy this one more than the masterpiece Band On The Run in which I miss the connecting links a bit.

In the first two songs you get wonderful impressions from London. The title track has a wonderful gentle melody and is brilliantly sung by Sir Paul. "Ordinary people it's impossible to meet", he sings at the late beginning, and that's exactly the impression I got from this fascinating city. The scene described in "Café On The Left Bank" is such imaginable that I don't understand the people saying Paul McCartney isn't able to write good song texts. He DO can, and this is impressively proved with this two songs. Anyway. While "I'm Carrying" is a gentle ballad with wonderful singing and a quiet and uninsistent arrangement, "Backwards Traveller" and the following "Cuff Link" are groovy and experimental, but despite of that the former one is highly imaginative and sincere. After that, a ballad sung and written by good old Denny (at least I think so...) comes which always moves me. "Children Children" may be lightweight, but it is that easy and charming I simply get a good feeling! Then, two songs about interpersonal problems follow; "Girlfriend" and "I've Had Enough" are both clever tunes, but while "Girlfriend"is gentle and brilliantly sung, "I've Had Enough" is maybe a bit too cheesy. A GOOD guitar solo and another beat, and it were perfect for me, because Paul's singing performance isn't bad at all. "With A Little Luck" is perfect - again perfect vocals and good arrangements - here, the "cheesy element" doesn't interrupt me at all. I like the reggae-ish "Famous Groupies", too, especially the funny vocal performances and the wonderful acoustic guitar arrangements in the chorus. But the masterpiece is unquestionable "Deliver Your Children" - sad, but realistic, with wonderful guitar work and Denny Laine in his best form ever. "Name And Address" is again a funny tune with Paul imitating Elvis! Realized that? He does it again on his rock'n'roll albums (Run Devil Run etc) and he fails, but here he is successful, because it is not the slightest bit sincere. But then they change back to the sincere side of the album; "Don't Let It Bring You Down" is somewhat wise, but charming (escpecially the flute and the quiet lead guitar). But what should I say to the last experiment here?? "Morse Moose And The Grey Gose" isn't really a failure in my opinion, it is in some parts very groovy and in other parts a bit Pogue-ish (if you know them...), but then again much much too long and sinewy as hell! But after all it can't destroy the album - this is a masterpiece and the last one from Paul. Unfortunately. What did Denny sing in "Deliver Your Children"? "If you want good eggs, you gotta feed that hen". I think, Denny Lane was good food for the hen Paul...

Bill Slocum <> (30.01.2004)

Gotta soft spot for this one, cause it's the first album I ever owned, a birthday gift in May of 1978. Not that I was pleased at the time. I wanted Wings Over America, but Dad got me this instead, maybe because money was tight and Wings Over America was a three-record set.

Maybe I'm just nostalgic, but London Town has grown on me like Spanish moss. It doesn't have any killer rockers on it (or didn't until "Girls School" was added as a bonus track), but the pretty melodies and diverse instrumentation really stand out on repeat listens.

I got the album just about the time "With A Little Luck" started up the U.S. charts, and I just knew with the insight of a 12-year-old pop maven that song would go nowhere. It has a sad and hollow feeling to it, like much of the record, without any of the lyrical craft that bumps up tracks like "Famous Groupies," "Cafe On The Left Bank," and especially the title track. But I really like "With A Little Luck" now, with those cushy keyboards Robert Tally mentioned and Paul's arresting plaintive vocal. The almost tentative way the song opens up is like nothing else in his ouvre, hits or otherwise, and quite special. And when Paul charges into the end, rejuvenated almost by the sense of hope he's singing of, it takes the song into another sphere, much like the heavy rock guitar lick you point out that comes in so nice on "Girlfriend's" middle eight.

Still, I was surprised when the song went on to be another of Macca's number-one hits. It seemed very out of place in the summer of 1978. You hear disco in this record, but I hear something different, proggy adult contemporary, like nothing else that year except maybe Gerry Rafferty's great City To City album. 1978 was a strange time for true rock fans, mostly bad. The Who lost Moonie, Zep was staggering from the triple whammy of Plant's lost son, Page's bad horse trip, and the giant stinkbomb that was Presence the year before. Elvis was dead, and the rest of rock royalty didn't sound much healthier. You knew the Stones were going to go disco, and that shameless tramp Rod Stewart, but the Dead? Shakedown Street was a shakedown indeed for all their hippie fans.

And then came Paul, having just parted with his best drummer (Joe English) and guitarist (Jimmy McCulloch), both of whom apparently hung around during the early stages of recording this album, though they only seem to be in evidence in the liner notes. Paul was still doing his thing, relying on the same synth-heavy approach that won him commercial hits and critical brickbats on Speed Of Sound. He sang about children, since he was in the process of raising a bunch of them, and off-center artsy notions that didn't jibe with the working-class hero propaganda espoused by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine. Might as well have been a Pablo Cruise record, they were saying, and they might have been right.

But it was a damn fantastic Pablo Cruise record, one that subscribed to no single formula. Paul got good service from his remaining cohorts, Linda a reliable back-up singer (never more, of course, but she was a surprisingly good one for her lack of training) and Denny Laine a sudden right-hand songwriter and accompanist almost worthy of the daunting mantle of John manque. It was good of you to champion "Deliver Your Children," and it made me pay attention to it more and realize what a standout track it really is. Denny does sing it well, don't he?

But the thing that damns London Town, and makes it so underrated, is the fact there are no real standouts here. It's terribly consistant, more so than you say, with every song, even "Morse Moose," rising to the bar. (That one feels almost like an "Admiral Halsey" update to me, with Paul throwing curves like a madman and making most of them work.) The overall impression of London Town is tuneful, sweet, and kind of sad. If there's any concept in this album, it's the one that's featured in the gray, overcast cover, a feeling more than a concept, of loss and longing and wishing for better days. It's not only a nostalgic listen for those of us who remember it when it came out (and didn't hear it overplayed in the next 25 years, unlike some other Paul records), but it captures a sense of nostalgia within itself, in different ways on each song. A lost love ("I'm Carrying"), a broken dream ("Don't Let It Get You Down") even a wish to travel through time ("Backwards Traveller.")

Mope-rock is very popular now, and I don't know anything much about it. But I'll guess that if you ask a few of its practicioners what their favorite Paul album is (and like many successful pop musicians, I'm sure they paid more than average attention to Paul's career), I'm guessing several would choose this.

Solid album. I'd love to hear what Paul left off this one; I'm guessing he had a few more arrows in his quiver that didn't fit the wax-disc conventions of the time. Thank you, George, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful appreciation. And thanks Dad, wherever you are.

Brendan S. McCalmont <> (14.07.2004)

This must be quite a good effort for Wings/Paul McCartney solo/whatever. I just CAN'T STAND the fact their ranked above Elton John but Oh well, I'll have to start up my own site .. ;-). Anyways, I thought there were some very excellent songs on here. I think one of the other readers said it right, it's like Paul ladi down a fol album and then said Nah and then laid psycehdelic stuff over the top. The albums' downsides are that, 1) many of these songs are too long and drawn out and after a while they get sought of boring, I suppose. I don't midn a sogn going a long time but I don't want to hear the same old thing over and over and over ... But has Paul McCartney grown as a songwriter? The psychedelic parts on this album are just as psychedelic as Sgt. Pepper, thoguh mostly it's not executed well, and beat everything off Revolver written by McCartney for experimental qualities. Anyways my favoruite songs are the opener, 'London town', then the slow-disco of 'Cafe' [where's that little dash above my e?] on the left bank, the experimental two-fer 'Backwards traveller/Cuff link' has some excellent keyboard playing, 'I've had enough' rocks, 'With a little luck' is just an excellent song, and 'Morse Moose' is so F***ing under-rated. Yeah, okay how generic of a critic to single out a disco song to have a go at, I should have expected it but this song's like a psychedelic disco version of the fantastic 'Yellow Submarine' song, come on! It's very original, innovative and well thought out. It also has great hooks. Oh well the fans'll understand, hey! I'm not even A Macca fan, he's my least favourite Beatle [I can't help having a similar name to him] and I'd give it 11/15.


João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

Paul more hard rocking here. There are maybe 4 good tracks ('Old Siam Sir', 'Again and Again and Again', 'Winter Rose/Love Awake') and the rest are pretty boring. Paul tries to do some hard rocking, but his songwriting just isn't up to par. A 7 out of 10.

Myris Collett <> (29.01.2000)

this album could have been alot better. should have included 'daytime nighttime suffering' and 'goodnight tonight'. should have deleted 'baby's request'.

Robert Tally <> (27.08.2000)

And so, after the last effort, in which Wings went for a more laid-back approach and wallowed in mediocrity, we now have a bona fide rock 'n' roll album that accomplishes the same thing. It seems that Paul still had the tools for writing well- crafted pop music, but just wasn't making the most of them. Perhaps the most impressive melody on here is 'Arrow Through Me', which I have to admit is really quite good, but it isn't really the kind of music I like to listen to. I'd say the same for 'Getting Closer.' The only other real stand-out here is 'Baby's Request'. Paul always got the most melodic mileage out of these kinds of songs, and it's probably my favorite track on the album.

Which is a shame, since - being a rock fan - my favorite song should be a rock song. But the rock songs on here aren't that good. 'Spin It On' at least is kind of interesting to listen to. It's funny, though - like a lot of other 'dinosaurs', Paul tries to play punk rock while forgetting the most crucial element of punk: rawness. The performance is just too damned professional! The Rockestra tunes ('So Glad To See You Here' and 'Rockestra Theme') are both fairly disappointing. The new-wavish 'To You' gets a little too obnoxious for my liking.

Then there's the slower tracks: 'Winter Rose' has a nice, sort of haunting melody, without being too incredible, but it segues into 'Love Awake', which is a rather unexceptional ballad. 'We're Open Tonight' sounds like it could have been a better tune, but sounds somewhat unfinished. 'After The Ball' is over-blown gospel, but I kind of like how it goes into 'Million Miles' (although I have a hard time picturing the richest ex-Beatle out in the cotton fields). I can't seem to muster up any genuine interest in 'Again And Again And Again' or 'Old Siam, Sir', but there doesn't seem to be anything terribly wrong with them. I fail to see what the point of 'The Broadcast' is. The music is more or less nothing, and the narrator reading the poetry doesn't affect me whatsoever. Maybe there's a story behind this that would make it more interesting. And 'Reception' sounds more like a studio mix than a radio dial being fiddled with.

Then there's the bonus tracks: 'Daytime Nightime Suffering' (the b-side of 'Goodnight Tonight') is pretty much unimpressive pop music. 'Wonderful Christmastime' is - well, okay, it's kinda catchy - but it's so damned thin. Muzak with words. This was, by the way, released as a Paul McCartney solo single, and anticipated the release of McCartney II in that sense. The b-side was 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reggae', which is also a bonus track, and is actually not bad if you're not expecting anything. It's certainly better than coal in your stocking.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

The first experemental Paul's album. I mean soft experiment, if you want to try Paul's harder experiments take Press to play or even McCartney2. Well, actually Paul has three prohibited things to do: 1) Live albums (no comments are required if you listen to Tripping the live fantastic), 2) Experimental albums (again if you listen to Press to play you'll understand what I'm talking about) and 3) Rock'n'roll albums (in fact, I'm against Paul playing rock'n'roll oldies but not his 'new' rock'n'rolls (Run devil run for instance)). I didn't mention hard-rock albums because a) there's only one hard-rock album (Back to the egg itself, if somebody didn't understand) and b) it's successful. I don't know why I like it. Every song without exceptions. You may think I'm crazy but I insist that 'The broadcast' may be the best song here (oh, well, not the best cause we have 'We're open tonight' and 'Old siam, sir'). I can listen to that monotone melody for many times

Back to the egg is the most aggressive record in my opinion. Just look at these rockers: 'Rockestra theme', 'Spin it on', 'So glad to see you here' and 'To you'. Sometimes I fall in love with them and sometimes I understand that Paul's not so frank and open - just bad actor ( maybe David Bowie didn't believe in Ziggy Stardust but he could play so well that we were cheated. Paul, on the other hand, is bad actor). Still, sometimes I turn on my stereo system and listen to Egg several times. Yeah, the album is very energetic and ...hmm... maybe even serious...

By the way, why don't you like 'Again and again and again'? The melody is beautiful and if you don't like the lyrics you can EASILY ignore them (English isn't your native language, is it?). Plus, I like 'Baby's request' (it reminds me 'Melancholy blues' from Queen's News of the world).

Well, to me it's another great album from Paul and I give it 9 out of 10.

Palash Ghosh <> (24.02.2001)

Back to the Egg is a very odd bird in Paul McCartney's catalog. It never occurred to me before, but, yes, Paul is indeed trying to incorporate punk and disco themes into his music (with varying degrees of success.) This shouldn't be so surprising, after all a much younger Paul in the late 1950's-early 1960's was influenced by such contemporary foreign styles as R&B and Motown.

The 'radio broadcast' concept was already done by The Who (Who Sell Out) over a decade prior -- what the hell is Paul trying with that anyway? Back-handed tribute to Pete Townsend, perhaps?

'Arrow through me' is an excellent song, startlingly disco-sounding, but with Paul's unmistakable touch of sharp melodicism and mood shifts. 'Getting closer' is another fun number.

I agree that assembling all those great guitarists for the 'Rockestra' piece was a big waste. When you have all those virtuoso people in the studio at the same time, why not USE their gifts? I guess when Paul calls, you show up!

In retrospect, Back to the Egg is not a bad album, I never before gave it much credit.

Didier Dumonteil <> (12.03.2001)

This is an uneven album.We're pleased to hear that Paul 's still a rocker:"old siam sir" "getting closer" and above all"so glad to see you there" are very exciting.The ballads (million miles,winter rose" are OK but they pale next to these of London townThe best one is a bonus :the pretty "daytime nightime suffering" relatively speaking ,Paul's" woman is the nigger of the world".The rest is rather bland and undistinguished:"spit it on" apes new wave /punk,not exactly the right thing to do,"to you' is a waste of breath ,and "baby's request" ,Hoagy Carmichael style (see somewhere in England),comes as an anticlimax ,not a good choice for closing the record.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

It's glorious! It's a masterpiece! There's no single reason to dislike it, it's marvellous, it's better than next three albums (though "Tug Of War" is also very good). This masterpiece begins with "Reception" and it's a groovy composition to begin with, hey, anyway is a groovy composition, Paul's bass playing is always awesome. By the way, yes, it's a sort of "half-concept" album. "Getting Closer" is palatial and it's no annoying, it's very fine; check out the ending of "Getting Closer", which is magnificent. "We're Open Tonight" is decent; "Spin It On" is groovy; "Again And Again And Again" is decent; "Old Siam Sir" rules (it's a great song) and I'm very glad, that it was included in one compilation (Grand Collection: Paul McCartney); "Arrow Through Me" is very nice; "Rockestra Theme" is desirable; "To You" is a good song and everyone must like "Winter Rose", this melody is frigging colossal, well, it's so charming. And one must necessarily mention marvellous fast hard rocker "So Glad To See You Here". Hey, and the closing jazz suite "Baby's Request" is wonderful. It's a nearly perfect album. A I also adore one of the bonus tracks "Daytime Nightime Suffering".  Back To The Egg deserves a status of one of the best albums of Paul.

Maritza Eusse <> (21.06.2001)

i think that back to  the egg is a great album, the second best of paul. paul really rocks in this one .rating: 10/10

Ryan Maffei <> (25.03.2002)

A true egg, oui, and a broken one at that. McCartney's slightest, weakest Wings release finds him turning to blatant, banal-sounding gimmicks ("Rockestra Theme", anyone) and dabbling in wierd sonic effects, more disco, punk-rock and jazz to be able to come up with a halfway decent, releasable record. This feels like a collection of half-assed fragments, or at least, more so that a regular album, with one track--one!--being solid and effective ("Getting Closer"). That's why Paul never succeeded much as a solo artist. He didn't try hard enough. Or maybe he just needed John, like John obviously needed him. Anyway, Back is a middling 4. Finally, our "egg" was rid of the Wings, with nary a second Band on the Run to compensate for Red Rose Speedway, Speed of Sound, London Town...

Dan Hogg <> (10.07.2002)

The last Wings album. This time, I'm not sure there's a concept. There are a lot of unnecessary snippets like "The Broadcast", 'We're Open Tonight", and "Reception" that give one the impression of there being a concept. But in reality, this is just some more Wingstunes. Back to the Egg is a little more aggressive this time, but more uneven. "Getting Closer" is a faceless rocker, and "Spin it On" is a bit more interesting. Punk? I don't think so, but it's all right. Same can't be said Denny's "Again and Again.." It has no melody, no direction, dumb lyrics, and goes nowhere. "Old Siam, Sir" is another best-of-album tune that the both of us agree on. It's possibly McCartney's best rocker of his solo career. "Arrow Through Me" has that 1979 feel, but it works by not being overtly disco. "Rockestra Theme" would be better if it didn't have so much guest power. As it is, it's a waste of talent. "To You" is a a little step above the similar "Again x3", better probably beca! use Macca handled it. The next 4 song fragments don't cut it for me. Only comment is, is that Linda on "Winter Rose"? Or is it a hoarse Paul? That always confused me. "So Glad to See You Here" is pretty much "Getting Closer" plus Rockestra. It ends with a forgettable jazz tune. Bonus tracks include the great pop tune "Daytime Nighttime Suffering", probably the best pop on here. "Wonderful Christmastime" is no "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", but I'll take it. "Rudolph"...ehhh. Well, at least Wings goes out with kind of a bang.

Max Makovec <> (13.01.2003)

One step down on the way to the ground full of lost taste which he finally reached in 1986. No, no, this can't resume the great tradition of London Town etc., although we have nice music here. The rockers are mostly strong, the experiments are mostly groovy and the ballads are also enjoyable. But - hell! - this stuff isn't memorable AT ALL! After first having listened to it, I remembered only two melodies of it the next day. And these two ones are in my opinion indeed the strongest songs here: first the incredible energetic rocker "Old Siam Sir" which is brilliantly sung (sorry, I wanted to say: sreamed!!) by Macca and consists such a groovy rhythm that I can't keep still to it. The second one is "Arrow Through Me", which is funky and funny produced. And again brilliantly sung - which leads me to the point that McCartney does a great vocal job on the whole album. That's indeed the best thing here; McCartney's performances are more inventive and more creative than ever; look at "Winter Rose", McCartney's singing here is the element which really moves me to tears. Brilliant. The only heavy disappointment is the failed experiment "Rockestra Theme" which I think is absolutely pointless. But the other tracks sound all - say - neat to me. Experimentals like "Reception" or "The Broadcast" are OK, why not, but easily forgettable. The rockers "Getting Closer" and "Spin It On" are fast'n'heavy, but also not more than average, solid tunes. The poppy stuff like the cheesy bonus tracks or "Again And Again And Again" are nothing more than usual stuff which you alsways expect from Sir Paul. The only tune in this row which is - if not memorable - at least charming is the bluesy "Baby's Request" - it has the retro feeling of "When I'm 64" and "You Gave Me The Answer" althought it's not as good as these ones. But I'm able to enjoy it very much when I see that there's nothing like that easy and charming kinda music in the next 200 albums McCartney produces.

Diane S. <> (08.03.2003)

In all of the reviews here, I'm surprised that no one commented on the great lead guitar work of Laurence Juber.


<> (13.07.99)

Actually, I rather like this album. True, it's not a masterpiece, but I think some stuff here is really cool, if eccentric. The best cut, "Coming Up," is one of my favorite McCartney songs. I think "Temporary Secretary" is kind of funny, and a nice stripped-down form of New Wave. "Waterfalls" and "One of These Days" are fine ballads. I find the instrumental "Front Parlour" really cool, sounding a lot like video game music; I think it's better than any of the instrumentals on McCARTNEY (although "Junk" is almost as good). Most of the other stuff here, though, is average at best. I give this record a 7. By the way, the 1993 remastered version also adds the Wings single "Goodnight Tonight" as a bonus track.

João Vargas <> (26.12.99)

OK. I don't like this album. I can see how it was important for Paul to try this, but thank God he didn't continue on this type of thing. 'Coming Up' is bearable, but the live version is MUCH better. The only song I really like is 'Temporary Secratary'. It's a comical track, but it has a great sound. The rest of the album is pretty trashy, especially 'Waterfalls'. This album deserves a 4.

Ivan Piperov <> (09.02.2000)

I think this record is the funkiest and coolest thing, Paul has made since McCartney! And that's the parallel between these two solo works: McCartney II is wonderfully uncommercial and funny. If you play it to some alternative or whatever...non-beatles fans, they'll be really impressed. Besides writing awesome tunes, McCartney's musical and stylish versatility was the thing that impressed me most. And there are synths - so what? They're still analogue and they are quite groovy. I dig all that stuff like 'Temporary Secretary' and 'Secret Friend'. At last this record shows McCartney's sense of homour and boldness. And it went to Nr. 1!

Robert Tally <> (01.09.2000)

Apparently, Paul had no intention of releasing these recordings, but then changed his mind. Unfortunately, what he ended up with was the first real contender to Wild Life as the worst McCartney album. The only songs that I think pull it slightly ahead of the first Wings album are 'Coming Up' (actually quite a good pop song, and refreshingly quirky) and 'Summer's Day Song' (sounds kinda like church, doesn't it? - I like how the vocals show up just once in a while). He almost wrote a good song with 'Waterfalls', which has one of the most memorable melodies, but is otherwise pretty dumb.

The rest of the songs can all be safely described as filler - no, wait, I think 'throwaways' is a better word. Here and there, we get a mildly amusing little idea or two, but generally these tracks are just Paul fucking around. The synth songs are the most blatant examples, I guess ('Front Parlour', 'Frozen Jap', 'Temporary Secretary', 'Darkroom'). The problem with these is that any non-musician could have come up something just as good, which makes it pretty pointless for a non-musician to buy the record, doesn't it? The non-synth tunes aren't so great, either. 'On The Way' shows us that the bass is definitely Paul's instrument - not the guitar, and not the drums. 'Nobody Knows' and 'Bogey Music' could have both been pretty good if Paul had simply written a song, but I guess he was happier fucking around. I guess 'One Of These Days' is supposed to be a really moving ballad. Sounds pretty lifeless to me, so I'll just keep my lighter in my pocket.

The bonus tracks on this CD basically give us more synth material. The redundant 'Check My Machine' (from the b-side of 'Waterfalls') is saved only by the inclusion of several samples taken from Warner Bros. cartoons. 'Secret Friend' was released in the UK (but not the US) as the b-side of 'Temporary Secretary'. The single was available only as a 12-inch, which explains the excruciating length of this track (over ten minutes). I'll admit that these tracks are kind of pleasing in a quirky way, but I can think of a lot of music I'd rather listen to. The remastered CD also includes 'Goodnight Tonight' (which came out before the previous album - go figure). And while there is an undeniable pop element to this disco tune, it's miles away from the kind of music I listen to - so perhaps I shouldn't bother judging it. (By the way, there's also an extended edit of this tune from the 12-inch 'disco single', in case anybody out there just can't get enough of it.)

So is there anything missing from this release? Yep, when 'Coming Up' was released as a single, it had two b-sides (and this was on a 7-inch): 'Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)' was the version that went to number one in the US (and was also put on a one-sided single included with the first pressing of the album) - it is currently available on the US CD of All The Best (but the studio recording appears on the UK CD); and 'Lunch Box/Odd Sox' is a bonus track on the Venus And Mars CD (since it was recorded back then). Both of these are Wings tracks - but they weren't the last Wings releases. In 1981, there was a double album called Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea on which Wings took up all of side four (although half the songs were actually by Rockestra).

Sergey Zhilkin <> (07.12.2000)

Well, actually, I have only one question. Why did Paul do it? Didn't he realise that more than half of these songs are bad (awful, crap, amiss, cobbler, terrible, horrible,.... choose any word out of these to characterize McCartney 2 and you'll be right)?There are only three songs (out of 11) which I can enjoy: 'Coming up' (Paul has better version on Tripping the live fantastic), 'On the way' (it could be better without SUCH vocal) and 'Frozen jap' ('Frozen japanese'? Paul, how could you... Though you have a reason to hate them (remember the story about Linda's joint?)). 'Temporary secretary' was ruined by a) screaming in chorus, b)rythm-generator ,c) horrible electric guitar chord. Other songs are nothing to talk about. Though album was treated by people very well back in 1980. Still I rate it 4 or 5 (out of ten).

Didier Dumonteil <> (12.03.2001)

A pox on this one!This is the kind of "work" that should never never have been released.It sounds "experimental thus vaguely interesting sometimes:"temporary secretary"" Front parlour" " Summer day song".The problem lies in the fact that Brian Eno has already done that kind of stuff,earlier and better(Here come the warm jets  taking tiger mountainand another green world);As for the remnants,that is to say the main thing,my Ecstatograph points sullenly towards zero throughout.

Max Makovec <> (06.02.2003)

A bad joke, in my eyes. Lousy arrangements, melodies that a three-year-old could have written and failed experiments - no, no, that's not the kind of music I like. I love Synth Pop and New Wave, but not from Macca and not with such a horrible production. Only two songs are listenable, and they both don't belong to the robotic style in the rest of the album: The first one is the plain but gorgeous "Waterfalls" which is ALMOST kitsch, but in my opinion despite of that a charming tune with innocent lyrics. The second one I like even more - "One Of These Days" has a wonderful chorus, and this time again really brilliant production. The background singing in the chorus and the acoustic guitar arrangement are fitting well to McCartney's singing. Furthermore, it's nice to hear McCartney singing here, because the croaking robotic voice in the other songs cannot be Paul McCartney!! The expression Paul has on the front cover is similar to mine after I faced the terrible noises of "Secret Friend" and the other experimental crap before. One of the worst efforts in pop history...

Bill Slocum <> (19.02.2004)

Okay, by this metric, you have to admit that Wings was a better band than the Beatles, as it took a far nastier and more turgid McCartney album to deliver a death blow to their togetherness.

Here's the thing: I hate this album, and I like "Temporary Secretary." That's right. I regard "Temporary Secretary" a clever nudge in the direction of a musical genre (new wave) Paul didn't need to get any more serious about, and not bad if the rest of the album had just been on a par with the rest of McCartney's post-Beatles work to that point. Instead, there's song after song of the worst tripe McCartney ever spit out. And I do mean worst, George, Press To Play had some popcraft going for it, some art-rock pretentions that held songs like "Talk More Talk" and "Move Over Busker" together. "Nobody Knows," "Bogey Music," "Dark Room," these are just from hunger. How did Paul ever allow himself to record "Frozen Jap"? I guess he was having prison/Yoko flashbacks, but racial slurs rarely work even when the accompanying music is good. Here it sucks like the wind.

People talk about TLC, a late-90s pop-rap group here in the U.S., swiping the title and lead lyric of the McCartney II song 'Waterfalls' ("Don't go chasing [jumping] waterfalls"), though it must be said the TLC girls did better by this germ of an idea than Mr. McCartney did. Really, I hate rap, and I think TLC redeemed this song of Paul's. How sad is that?

I do like "Coming Up," though the other version (recorded live in Glasgow, and saying so in the title) is superior. The McCartney II version is fun, though annoying enough that I remember when I first heard it, in a stuffy classroom in the waning days of my eighth-grade year, I thought to myself about those awful songs they played on the radio and how I couldn't wait to hear the next Paul McCartney record which I had heard was just released. See, I didn't know that song on the radio was McCartney's!

Awh, I guess you had to be there...

e3s8 <> (23.11.2005)

You're even harder on this unsung gem than you were on Wild Life! I guess you just don't dig on homespun art-pop. I guess it's not for everyone. This album is really cutting edge; it sounds like 1990s indi electronica. The way McCartney mixes real guitar, bass and percussion with the snnth keys and drums...great stuff! The bonus track (from the British Import CD) "Secret Friend" is a great ambient/trance track with a lot of atmosphere. Overall, the combination of Paul's unique brand of off-the-cuff rock & roll and his branching-out into New Wave really works. I think this was his last spurt of genius.


Darren Bowers <> (17.06.2000)

I must agree this is the last true great effort by an icon which can not be matched with his musical merit. Unfortunately there will never be another great McCarntey album after this point. You can sense the heavy influence of George Martin who puts the icing on the cake so to speak. His influence and production effort can turn a good album into a classic. Highlights would be "Tug of war," "Ebony and Ivory," "Somebody who cares," and the heart felt Lennon tribute "Here today." "What that's your doing" is terrible and takes a few points of the album just for the major flaw of being there. It's definitely the weakest point on the album. It just doesn't fit at all. It sounds like I made a home tape of a McCartney album and I accidentally taped over it with this throw away Wonder track. Yuck!!!!! What in the hell was he thinking to put this on the album. Best out of ten, I would give it a 7 1/2.

Robert Tally <> (07.09.2000)

The big comeback album. But, then, anything would have been a comeback after the previous effort. I'd rate this album as being better than London Town and Back To The Egg, though - maybe even Speed Of Sound. The highlights for me are 'Ballroom Dancing' (simply one of McCartney's catchiest pop songs) and 'Get It' (which is made almost irresistible by Carl Perkin's timeless voice). Scoring highly as well is 'The Pound Is Sinking', which is the most varied and interesting track on the album, and quite solid from end to end. I'm also quite partial to 'What's That You're Doing?', although it's about a minute too long and sounds like it belongs on somebody else's album (now who could that be?). 'Dress Me Up As A Robber' holds up pretty well melodically, but sounds like it belongs on a Jacksons album.

Then there's a few songs I can take or leave, the most notable being 'Here Today'. Generally, the melody holds up pretty well, and the lyrics aren't bad, but Paul sounds like a fish out of water. If he wanted to be so personal, he should have written a few practice songs first. That type of art needs to be developed just like anything else. 'Somebody Who Cares' is a solid tune, but stylistically doesn't grab me. 'Take It Away' is catchy, but I don't care for the background harmonies. 'Tug Of War' doesn't do it for me, either - in this case, the harmonies are downright insipid. When he gets to 'in another world', it sounds like a TV ad for life insurance. 'Ebony And Ivory' falls into that 'Long And Winding Road'/'My Love' category of solid songs that are just horribly straight-laced and, well, boring. 'Wanderlust' is one song that I can say I don't like on this album - too rigid and uninspired.

It's a shame the CD doesn't have any bonus tracks, since this was a good period for McCartney b-sides. 'Rainclouds' (the b-side of 'Ebony And Ivory') is a very strong sort of spiritual-sounding song that would have only improved the album had it been included. The same goes for 'I'll Give You A Ring' (the b-side of 'Take It Away'), which sports a very infectious melody. There's also a solo version of 'Ebony And Ivory' (without Stevie Wonder) that appeared on the 12-inch single (along with the duet version and 'Rainclouds').

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.12.2000)

My first reaction to this album was 'What the $&^% is it?'(first unfull listen). Then it changed to 'Hey! This is Paul's best album'(second listen). Finally it was modified to 'I don't care much for it but it's good'(third listen). Well, the album contains a surprise for you: here you can hear Carl Perkins (I liked this guy very much after I heard a tragic story about his life) on guitar and SteveWonder on synthesiser and on vocal, too. Now about songs. Well, I tend to like 'Ballroom dancing' more than 'Tug of war' because to me it's more bombastic and rockin' too so, in my opinion, it's the best one here. As for 'Tug of war', the beginning is boring and even charming chorus can't save it (I mean, I like it but this one isn't so enjoyable as 'Ballroom dancing', IMHO, of course). Then I can't agree with you when 'What's that you're doing' is dismissed as 'the weakest spot on the whole album'. Surely, it would be better with drums and well-oiled vocal, but still I have a feeling from it as from normal song. 'Dress me as a robber' is built in the same key, so I like it, too. Plus, don't forget about two ballads - 'Wanderlust' with 'Ebony and Ivory'. The first one is great while the second suffers from too long chorus. Do you know why the Finland race pilots are the fastest in the world? Because they forget to put off the feet from gas pedal. The same situation is here: Paul forgets when he should stop.

After all, I don't like this album VERY much but at least, thanks God, there's no filler. That's why I rate Tug of war 8 or even 9 out of ten. Good and quality effort.

Palash Ghosh <> (23.02.2001)

After 1976 or so, I pretty much ignored Paul McCartney and figured he was washed-up. Then in 1982 I kept hearing about this great new album he put out, and I refused to believe it, I thought, no way, Paul has had it. And that 'Ebony/Ivory' track which got round-the-clock airplay got on my nerves. But, out of curiousity or boredom, I bought Tug of War and, wow, it WAS great! I couldn't believe it, Lazarus awakes!

Maybe it was the surreal atmosphere of John Lennon's death, maybe it was George Martin's guiding hand, but Paul drove himself to create a strong album –- sadly, this was his true 'swan song' (12 years after Abbey Road!) and we're lucky to have this musical document.

The highlights for me are clearly 'Here today,' a beautiful, touching (and tragically belated) ode to John Lennon; the very enjoyable and sweeping 'Take it away,' the melancholy 'Somebody who cares' (which, once again, is slightly marred by Paul's habit of inserting poor lyrics); and the title track.

Paul's collaborations with Stevie Wonder, namely the aforementioned 'Ebony' and 'What's That You're Doing' were, at best, embarrassing, at worst, cloying. I never liked either.

Paul's duet with Carl Perkins, 'Get it,' is wonderful, though -- even ol' Carl's unattractive rustic voice sounds great!

Didier Dumonteil <> (12.03.2001)

Paul's last n°1on the billboard,it deserved its success.Ther's the Lennon's moving elegy "here today" much better than George's limp carousel "all those years ago".Unlike the previous one ,this album displays care,melodic greatness and even an antiracist anthem!Who could ask for more in 1982?Gone are the "experiments" and the heavy rock of back to the egg."Tug of war","Take it away" and "wanderlust" are other strong cuts.The only horror is "what's you're doing?You said it!

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

I like this album very much, I'd give it a strong 9. It's not the last decent album before the "comeback, because Give My Regards To Broad Street rules, but anyway it's a good album. I adore beautiful charming ballad "Somebody Who Cares" and I also like another moving ballads "Here Today" and "Wanderlust" (though the last one is much better done on Give My Regards To Broad Street).

Wow, and "Pound Is Sinking" is glorious!

Dan Hogg <> (10.07.2002)

Tug of War is probably McCartney's best '80s album, from what I've heard. The title track is atypical of McCartney, more political than usual. "Take it Away" is a pop masterpiece, "Somebody Who Cares" is Paul's token acoustic ballad. The funk-flavored Stevie Wonder-penned "What's That You're Doing" seems to get a bad rap, but I like it just fine. It might be out of place and overlong, but it's got a good groove. "Here Today" is the best acoustic song here, a moving tribute to John Lennon. "Ballroom Dancing" is a fun rocker, and "The Pound is Sinking" is even better, with 3 wonderful sections. "Wanderlust" starts off slow, but picks up when the countermelody complements the main melody. "Get It" is a nice ditty with Carl Perkins. "Be What You See" serves as an appropriate link to the flashy "Dress Me up as a Robber". Too bad I never liked "Ebony and Ivory", it has a valid message, but it's too MOR for me. As I said before, I've heard enough bad reviews ! of Pipes and Press to stay away from them, so I'll just call this Paul's best effort in the decade.

Max Makovec <> (06.02.2003)

This one is sure a big improvement to McCartney II. Here the songs again contain hooks, changes of speed, good arrangements (thanks for engaging George Martin!) and enjoyable and interesting moments. The whole thing begins with the title track, which I loved since the first listening. (Indeed I heard it at the 11th September 2001, shortly before the news of the terrorist attack came to my ears... brutal irony of fate!) Starting with the pessimistic and sad description of the (still) actual situation, this anthem turns into a bombastic hymn in which McCartney shows us his vision of a peaceful world. "We will be dancing to the beat played on a different drum" is the nice metaphor here, but he knows that this time "won't be soon enough" for him - and so, for us too. Sad - but realistic. To lift us up, the charming "Take It Away" comes next, with its catchy arrangement and its jolly pop song-character. For me, the best part by far in this song is the reggae-ish beginning, a nice little idea which makes listening more enjoyable and interesting (I missed such ideas on later album work). But lifted up now, the more sincere and sad "Somebody Who Cares" comes now, but it has really some funny and uplifting moments despite its sadness. The charming symbol of the car fits perfectly and I'm really able to lift me up with this song when I'm in a bad mood. The next ones lowes the mood again (this is why I refuse to listen to it more than one time a year!): "What's That You're Doing" simply gets on my nerves; it's sinewy and annoying as hell, much too long and monotonous - although memorable. But I won't lose more words about this failed experiment, it's far more interesting what comes next: another contellation of 'sincere song - jolly song' comes next. First the sad "Here Today", which is a fair and heartfelt end of the relationship of the two geniuses. At the beginning the string arrangement is near to kitsch, but then in the midle part, the turn into plain but gorgeous melodies in the background (reminds me of some Beatles-tunes in the Sgt Pepper and Yellow Submarine time... guess why...). And then the jolly one: "Ballroom Dancing" is somthing you can go crazy about - very funny and charming, so have fun with it. I'm not so perfectly happy with the next two tunes, I would rather describe them as bombast, but still 'well-sounding bombast'. "The Pound Is Sinking" has a very nice middle-part (I love it when Paul sings with the strong British dialect), and "Wanderlust" has a nice melody, but is a bit too monotonous for my ears. But then the funniest thing on the whole album cames, and I'm completely satisfied again: the collaboration with Perkins had "Get It" as a result, and this is really cool stuff. Don't take it serious - this is a very very unserious song good arranged and well done. That's the last fully enjoyable song on here for me - "Dress Me Up As A Robber" is sinewy, too, and "Ebony And Ivory" is... well, yes, a engaged and surely seriously meant track, but way too naive... No matter, because of its melody and good arrangement it sure is a well-fitting finish to the last real masterpiece McCartney ever put out.


Mats Fjäll <> (28.11.99)

I have had this album for a a few years and only listened to it ONCE...

The best song on this is a GOOD song, but forget the others, of course I'm talking about the title track! Oh yeah, the album futures Eric Stewart from 10cc, Michael Jackson (uck!) and Ringo.

Ivan Piperov <> (09.02.2000)

That's the album with which I managed to turn a friend into a McCartney-fan! I don't really know what you're talking about, George. There ARE great songs on it! The title track is as strong as anything Paul has written, 'Say,Say,Say' is a pretty funky affair (despite Jackson). 'The Sweetest Little Show' and the one that follows...that's McCartney at his very best! O.K. 'So Bad' really sucks, but there are some interesting uncommercial instrumental passages...this album is fun!

Robert Tally <> (10.09.2000)

About half of this album was recorded during the Tug Of War sessions, so in essence, it contains a lot of rejects. I would rate it a little higher than Wild Life and McCartney II, but that's about it.

There is one song that I like quite a bit, though, which is the goofy polka tune 'Average Person'. I can also stomach 'Pipes Of Peace' pretty well, which seems to be a re-tread of 'Tug Of War' from the last album, but perhaps a little better. I'm not sure if I like 'Sweetest Little Show', but it's certainly the most interesting (and perhaps oddest) track on the album. Stylistically, I could do without 'Say Say Say' and 'So Bad', but it's easy to see why they were selected as A-sides, since they're both pretty catchy. 'Keep Under Cover' manages to be vaguely catchy and totally stupid at the same time. 'The Man' suffers from a horribly corny arrangement. It sounds like one of those ballads from Michael Jackson's early solo albums - you know, when he was twelve. 'The Other Me' and 'Through Our Love' are just plain dull. 'Hey Hey' sounds like filler to me. And then there's 'Tug Of Peace', one of what would become many dub mixes McCartney would do. I almost thought there was something wrong with my stereo the first time I heard it.

The remastered CD has three bonus tracks: 'Twice In A Lifetime' is a tremendously unexceptional 80s ballad recorded around the same time as this album and featured in the movie of the same name from 1985. It wasn't released until the remastered CD came out. 'We All Stand Together' dates from before Tug Of War, but wasn't released until 1984 on a UK single (there was also a 'humming version' on the B-side). It comes from the animated short Rupert and The Frog Song, which was released with Give My Regards To Broad Street. I think it's probably the best track on the CD - McCartney was really good at these fun kiddie tunes. 'Simple As That' dates from right after Press To Play (it was on a various artists album in the UK called The Anti-Heroin Project), so it really doesn't belong here. Nevertheless, it's one of the best tracks.

Not yet on CD is 'Ode To A Koala Bear', the somewhat forgettable B-side to 'Say Say Say'. Speaking of 'Say Say Say', there was also an extended mix of that song on the 12-inch single, as well an instrumental mix. The only other track that should have perhaps been here is 'The Girl Is Mine' (which I could do without anyway), but it's part of the Michael Jackson catalogue, so don't hold your breath waiting for it to turn up on one of Paul's CDs.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

Why do you dismiss it? It's no masterpiece, I agree, but it's still good, at least in my opinion. 'Pipes of peace' (song) is Paul's 'Give peace a chance' (though I don't really understand why it came out so late. I can't remember any conflicts back in 1983). But while Lennon's version was a kind of protest (like in 'We will rock you' many people are shouting 'All we are saying is Give peace a chance'), Paul's version is more melodious.

Surely, 'Pipes of peace' is the best song here (and it took the first place in British hit-parade), but other songs are good,too (OK, this phrase isn't adrressed to the last two songs). Unfortunately, some songs (like 'Say, say, say') were ruined by Jackson's voice (I hope you'll never write anything good about this ...big...err...fat...err...pig which bought licence on Beatles' songs). But still they're enjoyable ( 'Say, say, say' even took the first place in the American parade (thanks to big fat pig) and the 5-th in the British one).

'Sweetest show in town' and 'Average person' are rather cute pop numbers. 'Keep under cover' is really great (what a wonderful melody!) and 'The other me' is okay. I like 'The man'(pretty little gem), too and even 'So bad'. Though 'The man' could be twice better without big fat pig's grunting. Plus, Paul had to delete last two songs (and that big fat pig, too) because they are really DULL.

Well, I'd give it 8/10 but I hear big fat pig here and, besides, there's a foretokenof 'Press to play'(Paul used rythm-generator instead of real drums on most tracks). So my final rating is 7/10.

Didier Dumonteil <> (13.03.2001)

You baffle me!Paul has done worse than this pleasant harmless album:Speed of sound red rose speedway,and to top it all,so to speak,the worthless MCCartney II.It was Paul's first album to miss the American top 10,in spite of a very successful single -but not as good as the one with Wonder-"say say say".The title track is MCCartney to the core:you can't like McC. if you don't like that!"so bad " is very haunting and the last track "through our love " is a ballad in the grand tradition with an optimism so glowing it would raise the dead.3 added tracks:the most interesting is "we all stand together" aka "the frog chorus",a children song .How could you resist that? "twice in a life time",on the other hand is totally bland."Simple as that" is OK but,on a serious topic,Paul can't really rise to the occasion.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

It's not so bad as you wrote, but of course it's a letdown. The title track is fine, "Say Say Say" is very good, "The Other Me" and "Keep Under Cover" are satisfactory, "So Bad" is much better done on "Give My Regards To Broad Street", but the other tracks are maximum normal, but not more. It's a big letdown!

PS. I have allready commented on Pipes Of Peace, but recently I have found out one funny thing. When digging into my father's French Chanson CDs, I noticed that the chorus in Gilbert Becaud's song "L' Indifference" dated 1977 sounds very similar to the chorus in "Pipes Of Peace" (the title song). Or say contrariwise if you like. I know, the idea of French chansonier ripping off Paul or Paul ripping off French chansoniers sounds fun, but the melodic phrases in this case are almost identical. It's strange because Paul did have the musical connections with that genre but these connections were mostly in spirit and musicwise showed theirselves only in "Michelle" and some other ballads.

Max Makovec <> (16.03.2003)

Wow, great! I have this album, and I have it without the only real reason to have it: the bonus tracks. And thus I owe one of the most boring, uninspired, weak and monotonous albums I've ever heard. What shall I say about it? There is almost nothing to say, and I admire you, George, to waste your time with such hogwash and to write such a detailed review... The songs here (and I say that indeed for ALL songs including the title track!!) have nearly no melody, are easy to forget (before I heard it yesterday, I couldn't remember even a single song), are all from the same genre (pop!) and are lousy produced (these ugly electronic drums, hell - this is the father of the bubble-gum pop we 'enjoy' today). Well. Have I forgot anything important? Oh yes, the lyrics. These 'masterpieces' are all such dumb and fool, it's almost funny. While in "Tug Of War" he leaves his thoughts about peace as the vision they really only are, here he knows that we all have to 'learn to play the pipes of peace'. I'm still waiting that someone will learn it... Further on we will only make "songs of joy instead of burn"... oh my God, this warm feeling around my melting heart... this wonderful feeling only increases while hearing "Keep Under Cover", these unbelievable boring anthem, in which we can explore Macca's deeply philosophical lines about love. HOGWASH! Throw it away and leave it behing, better listen to Wings stuff, and you will learn again what a real hook is...

Regan Tyndall <> (10.05.2004)

It's no masterpiece, but this is one of Paul's 3 or 4 best (post-Beatle) albums. I'm a bit biased because this was one of the first records I ever had when I was a little kid, but...

I'll admit that 'Keep Under Cover' and 'Average Person' are pretty stinky on the cheese-ometer (well this is Paul), but they're both catchy and melodic, optimistic and uptempo... so I can't hate them that much.

'So Bad' is fine, if you ask me. I like his voice on it, and it sounds quite sincere (unlike 70s crap like 'My Love'). 'Say Say Say' and 'The Man' are pop-collaborations, and as such they're fine. 'Say Say Say' was an huge, international #1 hit, and I think there's something special about 'The Man.' It sounds really fresh, like a sunny Sunday morning. The chorus is really uplifting. 'Hey Hey' is great. [I can't remember 'Tug of Peace' as I write this, but wasn't it just a little 1 minute jingle near the end? No harm done.]

The really good songs are 'Pipes of Peace,' 'The Other Me,' and 'Sweetest Little Show.' Tastes vary of course, but I don't know why George doesn't rate 'The Other Me', which is probably the best song on the album and one of Paul's 10 best (post-Beatles, obviously). Good lyrics, catchy, nice arrangement. It's very much like the Lennon songs on Double Fantasy, in fact. And it's nice to hear Paul simply calling himself an ass for a change, rather than his usual veneer-thin false modesty. 'Sweetest Little Show' is just class... really good stuff.


Enid Y. Karr <> (14.03.99)

Am enjoying your reviews of Mccartney's solo career, just a short note on Broad Street. You say you haven't seen it. I have, and yes, it is pretty awful, because, as all who love Paul know, he's brilliant, but he CANNOT edit himself. So the movie is fairly ghastly. But it is worth watching if only for a very short scene near the end.... where he performs 'Yesterday' as a street busker. It redeemed the whole movie for me!

Thanks again for your reviews. Enid

Robert Tally <> (12.09.2000)

So what do you do when you're Paul McCartney and you can't come up with any good songs? You redo the old ones. That way, you'll end up with something better than Pipes Of Peace. And indeed, this is better, since it includes such outstanding compositions as 'Eleanor Rigby', 'For No One', and 'Here, There And Everywhere' (plus a few that were never big favorites for me: 'Good Day Sunshine', 'Yesterday' and 'The Long And Winding Road'). Even the retreads from his solo career bring about at least one good choice: 'Ballroom Dancing' (plus some more that I could do without: 'Wanderlust', 'Silly Love Songs' and 'So Bad'). The only problem with these tracks is that none of them are as good as the original versions. In a couple of instances, Paul actually rewrites a word or two, which is like playing with fire considering how well known these songs are. And in general, he sings these tracks with a slight degree of flippancy.

The new songs are generally average. I enjoy the thirties-style instrumental 'Goodnight Princess'. The ballad version of 'No More Lonely Nights' is another in the 'Long And Winding Road'/'My Love'/'Ebony And Ivory' vein, where the writing is solid, but way too conservative. The rock tunes, 'Not Such A Bad Boy' and 'No Values' are both unexceptional, and rather forgettable. Then there's the 'playout version' of 'No More Lonely Nights', which is just a hip-hop rhythm with the song very loosely sung on top of it, and completely devoid of any depth. Some of the instrumental and spoken passages are interesting, particularly parts of 'Eleanor's Dream'.

This was the first McCartney album to first appear simultaneously as an LP, a CD, and a cassette. What we ended up with was three different versions of the album (and that's not counting the remastered CD). The LP is missing 'So Bad' and has a much shorter edit of 'Eleanor's Dream'. Both the LP and the cassette are missing 'Goodnight Princess'. Only the CD had all the tracks. The remastered CD gives us the 'extended version' of the playout version of 'No More Lonely Nights', which is from the 12-inch single. The playout version also appeared on the 7-inch single as the B-side of the ballad version. Then there was a change made, and the playout version was replaced by a 'special dance mix', which also appears as a bonus track on the remastered CD. The 12-inch was changed, too, with the 'extended version' replaced by a longer edit of the 'special dance mix'. This longer edit isn't on CD yet. Got all that, completists? Okay, 'cause the 7-inch, the cassette, and at least one of the promos all apparently have unique edits. Happy hunting.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (10.12.2000)

You know, I have many soundtracks to films but I enjoy not many from them (only Jesus Christ Superstar and Bowie's THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA). I hate soundtrack Rock'n'roll circus and I hate Broad street, too. Why? It makes me think of money I foolishly wasted. Look, I paid money for 'Tug of war' twice. Some new songs are bad, too (I even don't like 'No more lonely nights' and 'Goodnight princess'). By the way, the film itself is childish and stupid.

Didier Dumonteil <> (13.03.2001)

CD are expensive.So you will be wise to ignore this useless soundtrack of a movie rated "bomb" in all the movie guides across the universe.If you can find "no more lonely nights" on a compilation or on a cd single ,that will do nicely.

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

Why do you think, that the film is failed!!?? I always enjoyed watching this film and I enjoy watching this film now, though I have seen it hundred times before. This film has a nice atmosphere and it's a good effort! And it's undoubted! When speaking about the album, I used to consider it not as a soundtrack, but as a whole integral real and GREAT album. To my opinion, it's one of the best Paul's solo albums and why do all commentators here ignore "No Values"?! It's such a great song! It's among my favourite solo songs of Paul. "No More Lonely Nights"(with David Gilmour on lead guitar) and "Not Such A Bad Boy" are awesome and new versions of "Wanderlust", "Ballroom Dancing", "Silly Love Songs" and "So Bad" are SUPERIOR than the original versions. The re-recordings of Beatles songs are quite good and thirties-style "Good Night Princess" is enjoyable. I'd like to mention, that the idea of a medley (Yesterday/Here,there&everywhere"/"Wanderlust") is colossal and the version of "Eleanor Rigby" is interesting.

I can't understand why critics tend to dislike it!

Dan Hogg <> (31.12.2002)

Whoops, I forgot this soundtrack. Never seen Give My Regards to Broad Street, but I checked out the soundtrack at the library. I didn't listen any to the Beatles tunes, and only a few of the other tunes. "No More Lonely Nights" is a pretty good power-ballad, much better than "My Love". "Not Such a Bad Boy" is an allright rocker, lyrically similar to "Getting Better". "So Bad" was on Pipes of Peace I guess, it's an ugly adult contemporary tune, closer to Dan Fogelberg than Macca. "No Values" is rubbish, and the break-dance remix of "No More Lonely Nights" is laughable. This soundtrack doesn't give me the desire to run out and see the movie anytime soon.

Max Makovec <> (05.06.2003)

It is not very easy for me to write some lines about such a pointless soundtrack. But I'll try. First of all, the thing I dislike most on the CD is the ugly drum machine that destroys the simply beautiful melodies of "No More Lonely Nights", "Ballroom Dancing" (although the other instruments are good arranged here) and "Long & Winding Road", which is a pity, because to introduce this tune with a sax is basically a good idea. My next point of criticism is the order of songs - when I have listened to "Scrambled Egg"... ehhh, sorry, "Yesterday", I'll then have to hear something fast, rockin' or havy afterwards, but "Here, There and Everywhere", yet one of my favourite songs in the Beatles' catalogue, isn't VERY rockin' or fast... in short: totally in the wrong place. But if this weren't enough he then adds "Wanderlust", which is even more non-fitting in this position. To put the songs in the right order is one of the most important things to make an album enjoyable, and here McCartney totally failed. Anyway.

Despite of those faults there are still songs on the soundtrack I'm able to enjoy. The version of "So Bad", for example, is much more listenable for me then the older one. McCartney sings a wonderful haunting falsetto and creates a charming and sympathetic mood which lifts the song up for me and brings a totally new spirit to it. "For No One" is good arranged, although the Beatles' version is of course better. And, finally, "Good Night Princess" is a charming little piece of jazz - peaceful and quiet, just the right thing to appease one again after this gruesome piece of work. But I am not appeased, when I again listen to the pointless and silly "Not Such A Bad Boy", to the also pointless and even more silly "No Values", to the laughable variants of " No More Lonely Nights" and to the unbelievable ugly version of the (in former times wonderful and sad) "Eleanor Rigby" with its crappy appendix. A pity.


Ivan Piperov <> (09.02.2000)

You have to be quite a masochistic Beatle-fan to enjoy this album. But if you're a "Modern Talking" fan you'll love it! (I'm certainly not!) It includes three very standart-stuff ballads which are good, but not very impressive. At least it shows Paul was still keen on electronics and experiments.

Darren Bowers <> (20.06.2000)

The only reason a person would ever want to purchase this album is if they were completing there collection of Beatles or McCartney albums. And even then it's still a waist of money. This album is god awful. I can only think of a few album which are as bad as this one. This would be by far one of the worst rock albums ever made. Although there are a few half way decent song which are 'Press' and 'Footprints'. And even those songs would only make good B-sides. They should put a sticker on the album cover stating "WARNING THIS ALBUM IS A WAIST OF YOUR TIME AND MONEY." Best out of ten, I would have to give this album a 1. And even that is being generous. If your still contemplating on getting this album, don't say I didn't warn you.

<> (17.08.2000)

OK. I've spent the morning reading your McCartney reviews so I'm trying to get some context. I stopped at Press To Play, and haven't yet gone ahead to see what you think of everything else, but I must say this album is NOT his worst. I can't decide if that honor goes to Pipes of Peace, Broad St or Red Rose Speedway. And don't get me started on 'Mumbo' and 'Bip Bop'. Like most of his albums, it hasn't improved with age, which makes one think it wasn't that good to begin with but... 'Stranglehold' is satisfactory, as are 'Footprints', 'Busker', and 'Angry'. 'Only Love Remains' is gorgeous. The rest vary from wince-inducing to just not good. His worst album? Hardly. But still not his best. Crowded House put out two fine albums before Macca's next real album, and I like those better. OK. Back to reading.

Robert Tally <> (23.10.2000)

While I wouldn't rate it as low as George did, I'd still put this album on a par with Pipes Of Peace - meaning that only Wild Life and McCartney II are worse. There is one song on here that stands out for me, which is 'Stranglehold'. The rest are generally mediocre. 'Footprints' is a little better than the rest, if only for its mood. 'Pretty Little Head' conjures up some atmosphere, but is a bit dumb. 'Good Times Coming' works pretty well as a new wave parody, but is marred by being segued into the weak 'Feel The Sun'. 'Angry' is pretty laughable, but at least it rocks. 'However Absurd' does a pretty good job of sounding like a Pink Floyd tune. 'Talk More Talk' doesn't live up to all the interesting little voices you hear in it. 'Move Over Busker' is just a forgettable medium-paced track. 'Only Love Remains' is a dreary ballad in the 'My Love' vein. And 'Press' is purely mindless eighties synth pop.

The CD contains three songs not included on the LP: 'Write Away' (an okay pop song from the b-side of 'Pretty Little Head'); 'It's Not True' (a fairly dumb song from the b-side of 'Press'); and 'Tough On A Tightrope' (another okay pop song from the b-side of 'Only Love Remains'). The remastered CD also adds 'Spies Like Us' (released as an a-side a year before this album - it gets my vote for the all-time dumbest McCartney track) and 'Once Upon A Long Ago' (released as an a-side a year after this album - one of Paul's corniest ballads). Not included on this CD are 'Hanglide' (an unexceptional instrumental from the 'Press' 12-inch single) and several alternate mixes of the aforementioned tracks. For the completists out there, I'll try to summarize these. The version of 'Press' heard on the CD is actually a remix. The original mix appeared on the 1st pressings of the UK 7-inch as well as on the 10-inch single and later pressings of the LP in that country. All other 7-inch releases have the 'video edit' and the 12-inch adds the 'dub mix'. The version of 'It's Not True' on the CD is the longer 12-inch remix. The original mix appeared on the 7-inch. 'Pretty Little Head' was released as an a-side in the UK, with new remixes for both the 7-inch and 12-inch singles. The 12-inch also included a remix of 'Angry', which also appeared in the US as the b-side of 'Stranglehold'. 'Only Love Remains' was also remixed for a 7-inch, and this mix also appeared on the 12-inch single in the UK. That 12-inch also included extended remixes of 'Tough On A Tightrope' and 'Talk More Talk'. In addition to these, there are three separate alternate mixes of 'Spies Like Us' on that 12-inch. And 'Once Upon A Long Ago' appears on the CD as the 'long version' from the first of two 12-inch singles. There was also a 7-inch edit, a special edit for the UK All The Best, and an 'extended version' for the 2nd 12-inch single. Also from this time period was the Prince's Trust concert, which yielded a few different albums and CDs. Variously, three McCartney tunes have made the rounds: 'Get Back', 'Long Tall Sally' and 'I Saw Her Standing There'. So, basically, if you were to compile all of the recordings from this batch, you'd probably have about two and a half albums.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.10.2000)

Okay, it's his worst album ever and there's nothing to talk about. Only one good song ('Press') and tons of s#$t. Pail! How could you do that? You always told us in your interviews that you hated electronic sound. O.K. Still if you want to buy it, I advise you to get 1993 year edition (good idea: sell garbage while you are on comeback wave). It has two more good songs: 'Write away' and 'Spies like us'. I'd rate it 4/10 with bonus and 1/10 without it.

Dan Miller <> (12.12.2000)

Hated it when I first heard it but it has grown on me. I first heard it on the '93 CD reissue so I include all the extra tracks in this too.

I dont really have a problem with the sporadic, electronic sound, it the lyrics that make me cringe the most. Still those aside 'Press', 'Only Love Remains', 'Stranglehold', 'Footprints' and 'Good Times' are all great. Ive even grown partial to 'Talk More Talk' of late.

Definite stinkers in 'However absurd' and 'Pretty Little head', just nonsense to me. I think that tracks recorded at this time like 'Simple As That' and 'I Love This House' should have made it onto the final version, plus some of the b-sides of the time, 'Its Not True' and 'Write Away'. It would have been an all round more listenable affair that way. It is his worst album ( not including the tear inducing Broad St.), but compared to much of the crap being released at the same time, I think it is forgivable. This was Maccas mid-80's slump, no respectable artist emerged from this decade completely unscathed.

Didier Dumonteil <> (13.03.2001)

In French,we say "tomber de Charybde en Scylla" ,in English,they say "jumping of the frying pan into the fire".That's exactly what Paul did with this doomed press album,the only one that was not to collect a gold record.Proof positive,that ,there is ,from time to time,justice in the universe. A decent single could be culled from this unspeakable mess:press b/w (personnal taste) "pretty little head".THe bonus track are no godsend too:"once upon a long ago" gambles on the B. nostalgia again,with hollow echoes of a past lost in the mists of time.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

C'mon, it's not so bad! "Footprints" is a lovely great ballad and don't forget "Stranglehold", which also rules! All the tracks are rather decent (of course, only decent, not great, because great are only "Footprints" and "Stranglehold") and this record is better than McCartney II and Pipes Of Peace.

Stephen Lavan <> (19.08.2002)

Press to Play and witness mid-eighties Paul McCartney at something of a musical crisis. In Great Britain the new compact disc was finally displacing vinyl records, which saw Paul not really sure how to fill-in the new, much longer CD running time, with adequate material. Paul, along with other top artists of the day, became obsessed with remixes. In the UK Press came out as a vinyl album containing the first ten songs on the CD -but with a different (and very much better) version of the song 'Press'. 'Only love Remains' was released as a single- but remixed with a saxophone solo not featured on either the vinyl LP, or the CD. This may sound very academic but the crucial point is this: as a vinyl LP the album Press is very good. The songs flow and the album has a sense of pace and purpose. Press to Play is beautifully produced and Paul's vocals and bass guitar are excellent. The album flows wonderfully in the way that most of Wings albums flowed and climaxes with the big finish 'However Absurd'. Yep, the album works just fine. The CD however does not. The remix 'Press' is awful and the extra "bonus tracks" make the album drag on endlessly as it finally runs out of steam leaving the listener tired and bored; that is if they are dedicated enough to press on to the bitter end. My advice is to try and get a copy of the original vinyl LP and enjoy one of the few eighties albums worth listening to!

e3s8 <> (02.01.2006)

I like some of your reviews, George, and your usual pro-Wings stance, but you’re just dead wrong here. Your irrational hatred of the 1980s synth sound has clouded your judgment on Press To Play. Easily Paul’s most inspired and accomplished record after disbanding Wings. Sure, it has a dated, slick 1987 production, but Sgt. Pepper has a dated, slick 1967 production. And like Sgt. Pepper, Press To Play is loaded with catchy pop songs with an experimental edge. And unlike it’s rather lackluster, adult contemporary follow-up, Flowers in the Dirt, the 1980s production is part of the album’s aesthetic; it’s why it exists (to your dismay). Flowers in the Dirt was just Paul doing “damage control” and coming up with mid-period sounding Beatle songs, except for now they were sedated and had an over-produced 1989 sound. Press To Play on the other hand, isn’t a man just slicking up his past accomplishments. It’s a man living and vibing with the times, the present. Why shouldn’t McCartney sound like the 1980s in the 1980s? Why shouldn’t he compete with The Cure, Prince and Genesis instead of taking the easy way out and playing to nostalgia (like he’s done pretty much ever since)? You hate the way most 1980s records sound, except for The Police. Fine. Some of us are open to different sounds from different periods. Press To Play is what McCartney did best: Moving forward, evolving, yet retaining his identity while he did it. What? “Footprints” and “Only Love Remains” aren’t the same type of songs he wrote in The Beatles and Wings? Of course they are. He just has a few 1980 sonics attached to them. And the cover was just a fun ode to old Hollywood. And the lyrics are just as fun and whimsical. Paul’s cheekiness, his whimsy is an important part of his identity. And Press To Play has it, along with great melodies and musical invention, in spades. Oklahoma WAS never like this!

e3s8 <> (18.04.2006)

I wanted to revoke my comments about McCartney's Press To Play. The album doesn't stand up well to repeat listens. I still think you were too hard on it and it's better than Flowers In The Dirt, but it IS a little too slick and 1980s for its own good. I'm starting to think the 1980s did kind of suck. But the 1990s and 2000s are even worse. Let's face it. Music peaked in the late 1960s, started to taper off in the early 1970s; picked up a tad in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and it's been down hill ever since (with an exception here and there). I still dig McCartney II though. THAT album managed to mix in synth, New Wave elements without losing its heart. That is, McCartney II is far more organic. And funky. If only Press To Play had a pop moment as kickin' as "Comin' Up".

Maybe Oklahoma WAS like this.


Dmitry Jilkin <> (29.05.2000)

Where doyou live, boy? Not in Russia I bet. So you can say nothing about CHOBA B CCCP album. It was made ONLY for USSR people, who knew only about one Paul's album - Rubber soul. They've never heard Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley! Melodia(it is our company that published CHOBA B CCCP in Russia (1989)) did a great job. Half a million records were sold in three weeks (only in Moscow and Leningrad). People got another small peice of Paul McCartney and Beatles. Everyone who bought it was thankful to Paul for such records, because at first it was hard to be published in USSR even for native groups (there was a plan -- one album in two years) and at second rock-n-roll was VERY popular in USSR in those years. So please take your words back. It is not fair to talk about present that wasn't made for you.

P.S. My rating is 8/10 because I really liked 'Don't Get around much anymore' and 'Cranin' up'.

[Special author note: two notes, actually. Number one: those who would like to find out where I live should check out the introduction page to the site (actually, it is advisable to check the intro page before mailing flames anyway). Number two: it is not fair (and certainly not intelligent) to rate an album based on its social value rather than its musical one. The record had a large impact on the cultural life of the Russian people, it's sure, but so would Britney Spears' latest album were it introduced to the aborigenes of a cannibal-inhabited island in the Pacific Ocean.]

Robert Tally <> (25.10.2000)

My opinion of this album is pretty much the same as George's. It would be nice to say that this excursion into McCartney's past yielded an inspired bunch of music - but it didn't. On the positive side, I think the musicians sound pretty good. The performances are both unpolished and professional. And the sound is clear and simple. On the negative side, there isn't a version of any song on this album that tops the original, or for that matter, certain cover versions done previously by other artists, most of whom George already mentioned. McCartney just doesn't have what it takes to sell these songs. When you're dealing with early rock 'n' roll songs (or c&w or r&b or blues), the performance is everything. Paul sings these songs with style, but without passion, and ends up sounding smug. In addition to that, he no longer can hit the notes on the Little Richard material without getting that strain that became a hallmark of his World Tour period of the late 80s and early 90s. I'd also like to make one little nitpicking point: the echo on 'Ain't That A Shame' cheapens an otherwise reasonable track. Basically what we have here is a mediocre album. Nothing more and nothing less. And now, here's some technical info for those who are interested, including perhaps Dmitry, who may be surprised to know that five of these tracks came out in the UK before anybody else got them. Now, as many are aware, the original Russian LP had only 11 songs on it. Four of these had already been released a year earlier in the UK on the CD single and two separate 12-inch singles of 'Once Upon A Long Ago'. These were 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' (my favorite track on the album), 'Kansas City', 'Midnight Special' (now there's a dull rendition!) and 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'. A couple of months after the 11-song album, the Russians got a 13-song album, adding 'I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday' (which was accidentally left off of some copies, resulting in a very rare 12-song version) and 'Summertime' (which not only is topped by the Joplin version, but the Porgy And Bess version as well). A couple more tracks ('I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday' and 'Ain't That A Shame') appeared in the UK, as well as the US, several months later on the 'My Brave Face' CD single (and UK 12-inch). There were also a couple of tracks that appeared in the UK that weren't on the Russian LP at all, both of which were on the 'This One' CD single and 12-inch. These were 'I'm In Love Again' (which eventually was included on the CD version of the album) and 'I Wanna Cry' (a dull blues tune written by Paul himself). This latter tune also turned up on a US promo CD called Paul McCartney Rocks (along with 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore'). And, finally, there is a dull version of 'It's Now Or Never' which appeared on a various artists album called The Last Temptation Of Elvis.

Teresa Juarez Guzman <> (26.11.2000)

Nothing to say except that going through this page is a fun way to forget my personal troubles. Nothing to add to your review, "George"?, on Back to the USSR. It's a so-so album. 5. Oh... and... as you'll see in my comment about Flaming Pie, sometimes we get carried away and simply our comments sound like complaints. Take them as they are. We're not going to change each other's toughts. Nice page I must say again.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

My brother Dmitry is a little bit mistaken here (I write 'a little bit' only because he's my brother, otherwise I'd have written 'deeply'). He says that the Russians had only small part of Paul's solo career and Beatles career, too. It's not true. Actually, there were 7 singles (two, three or sometimes four songs on every single-disc) and one album released (Band on the run) before 1988. In 1988 there was first variant of Back in USSR without 'I'm in love again', 'I'm gonna be a wheel someday', 'Don't get around anymore' and 'Summertime'. On the 1989-variant there were no 'I'm in love again'. I searched for information about release Back in USSR in UK or USA. BtheW (Sorry man, I don't know your real name so I'll take it from your address) is completly right but still I want to stress that these songs were put together firstly in USSR.

O.K. Now let's get to the album itself. It isn't bad at all and it sounds well. But it's one-time-use thing. I don't want to listen it once more, really. I've heard all these songs many times before and Paul's performance doesn't bring anything special. Still if you are compelist, Macca's fan or just want to see what people in USSR liked back in 1988 buy it. You won't be much disappointed if you lower your expectations. By the way, I don't know how you could say that 'Just because' is the best song here cause to me it's so dull. In my opinion 'Crackin' up' is the best one here. Well, let's get to the ratings. I think it's 9/15 but this nine is rather strong.

P.S. Did you really like Janis' version of 'Summertime'? Tell me it's not true!


Sergey Zhilkin <> (01.10.2000)

McCartey's most overrated album. But not by you. I heard some critics saying it was better than Band on the run. Nevertheless it's great comeback for Paul, isn't it? Songwriting surely improved after Press to play (yuck!) and lyrics are great, too. I can't define the best song here. They are all so different (oh well at least the first ten songs from 'My brave face' to 'That day is done') and so wonderful, charming. I love them! But I think that album is so good because of Paul's strong support-team. H.Stuart, D.Rhodes, St. Lipson and D. Gilmour (is it the same Gilmour, the member of Pinhk Floyd? If it is no wonder that 'We got married' has such ending) play on guitars, post-punk rockabilly Elvis Costello helps Paul with vocals, Ch.Whitten and D.Mattacks play on drums while while M.Froom, C.Hawkes and T.Horn with D.Foster play on keyboards. And don't forget about Linda who learnt how to use harmonies. How many instruments do you think there are on 'Figure of eight', 'This one', 'My brave face' or 'We got married' (Hey! Why didn't you write a word about this beautiful song? Very calm beginning and what unexpected ending!) The only two songs I don't kike here are 'Motor of love' and 'How many people' (you're right, it's political filler. Paul! How about selling T-shirts with sir Paul giving a kick to Saddam Husein? Or protesting against Soviet soldiers in Afganistan. Or...). Most of songs on Flowers in the dirt are very complex. Does the fact that there're three men playing on the sax (Ch.Davis, Ch.White and D.Bishop) tell you something? Despite the fact that there're so many different songs, the album leaves the feeling of blues one. Why? I don't know. This album is true 8 out of 10!

But wait! If you get it with bonus you'll be more satisfied! 'Back on my feet' is great and 'Flying to my home' really blows my mind. It's 9/10 with bonus.

Robert Tally <> (29.10.2000)

A clear comeback, this album easily beats out everything McCartney had done since Tug Of War, and I think it's the equal of that album in terms of quality - if not better. My favorite tracks tend to be the collaborations with Elvis Costello, particularly the strange 'Don't Be Careless Love' and the amusing 'You Want Her Too'. I'm also very partial to the gospel-oriented 'That Day Is Done' and the hook-filled 'My Brave Face'. Plenty of the material McCartney wrote on his own is top-notch here as well: 'We Got Married' is an excellent piece of writing and arranging, and 'Put It There' is downright charming. There are also a few tunes that I like only moderately: 'Distractions' is a nice jazz-ballad; 'How Many People' is a decent pop-reggae tune with a soft message; 'This One' is an infectious pop song that perhaps sounds too much like a TV ad; 'Rough Ride' is a decent song that somehow doesn't grab me. The only songs that I really don't care for are 'Motor Of Love', which is just a little too airy and doesn't have that great of a melody, and 'Figure Of Eight', which I guess is supposed to be a highlight (it opens side two), but Paul sounds obnoxious and the melody ain't much. The CD version of this album also contains 'Ou Est le Soleil?' (from a US 12-inch and cassette single, as well as some of the 'Figure Of Eight' singles in various formats), which is a return to the more syncopated type of stuff Paul did on Press To Play - and yet, I find it strangely appealing. The remastered CD also contains the very catchy 'Back On My Feet' (another collaboration with Elvis - from the b-side of 'Once Upon A Long Ago' in the UK), the bizarre but infectious 'Flying To My Home' (from the b-side of 'My Brave Face') and the somewhat unexceptional ballad 'Loveliest Thing' (from the 'Figure Of Eight' 5-inch CD single in the UK). There were several songs from this period that didn't appear on this CD: 'The First Stone' (a disjointed and mediocre song from the b-side of 'This One'); a remake of 'The Long And Winding Road' (from the 'This One' boxed single and the 'Figure Of Eight' 5-inch CD single in the UK - didn't he already do this one on Broad Street?); 'Good Sign' (little more than a dub mix, it comes from the 'This One' 12-inch in the UK); 'Party Party' (little more than a groove, it comes from the bonus disc of the World Tour Pack of the album); 'Same Time Next Year' (a hopelessly corny ballad from the 'Put It There' CD single in the UK); and 'P.S. Love Me Do' (sounds 'Love Me Do' and 'P.S. I Love You' got married and had a kid - and the kid grew up to be Madonna; from the double CD version of the album in Japan). There was also a duet with Johnny Cash called 'New Moon Over Jamaica', a gentle country waltz from Cash's album Water From The Wells Of Home. It should be noted that the version of 'Figure Of Eight' on the countless single releases is an entirely different recording than the one on the album and appears in 3 different edits (not counting promos). The version of 'Rough Ride' on the 'Figure Of Eight' 3-inch single (in the UK) is also a different recording than the album version. There is a 'Club Lovejoys Mix' of 'This One' on one of the 'Figure Of Eight' 12-inch singles in the UK. 'Ou Est le Soleil?' appears on various singles only as a remix, and four different edits (not counting promos). There is also a 'Dub Mix' and an 'Instrumental Mix'. The Japanese double CD also contains a spoken message not found anywhere else. Happy hunting.

Didier Dumonteil <> (13.03.2001)

The first thing to bear in mind is that Costello's heyday had become a thing of the past in 1989,with a lot of classics under his belt,but BEHIND him.So if this album succeeds(and IMHO it does),it's because of Paul alone.In 1989,"my brave face" " figure of eight" and "this one" were beautifully crafted pop."Put it there" is to Paul what "forever young" is to Dylan,and it's got a very nice tune at that."how many people?" displays an exotic charm and "motor of love" is the orchestral ballad de rigueur."Où est le soleil? Travaillez"is weird ,and features the first French words since "Michelle" (Unless you count the radio in "Picasso's last words")

Eric Rogozin <> (17.04.2001)

It's second famous McCartney album after Band On The Run. I don't share George's opinion about Press To Play (I think, that Press To Play is satisfactory, quite normal album), but in any case "Flowers In The Dirt" is a comeback, not only because the album itself is very good, but also because it was at last not ignored by critics. I will not consider every song, but I want to say, that the best one here is "We Got Married". This composition is a masterpiece and one of McCartney bests! This album is very exciting, this feeling begins with the opening track "My Brave Face", continues with "Rough Ride" and goes further. And the lovely ballad "Distractions" is VERY beautiful and charming.

John Ashfield <> (19.01.2006)

I disagree with your assesment of the b-sides.

"Flying to my home" would have been the best tune on the album. But it was dumped as the b side to "My brave face".

"Flying..." isn't really deep lyrically but it rocks along in a nice bouncy way (after starting with the wall of paul chorus), with some wacky variations on the bridge, and some great slide guitar at the end. It should have been on the album.


Robert Tally <> (01.11.2000)

The obvious comparison here would be with Wings Over America, which is notably superior to this second triple-live album from McCartney for one main reason: on the earlier album, the live versions are often better than the originals. Not the case with this long-winded release. Not that these are necessarily bad versions. In fact, to somebody who isn't familiar with the original versions, this would be a pretty impressive collection of songs. But McCartney's voice is consistently strained and the band is too often flabby-sounding, even with all their professionalism. Good examples of this would be 'Birthday' and 'I Saw Her Standing There', both of which lack the authoritative wallop of the Beatles versions. Mostly, though, the songs in this collection sound close enough - in fact, sometimes too close - to the originals. The Flowers In The Dirt material in particular is virtually indistinguishable from the studio recordings.

The only really bad moment is the additional vocal harmonies on 'The Fool On The Hill', which reduce a really great song to, well, a really great song with really dumb vocal harmonies added to it. 'Got To Get You Into My Life' also suffers from some cheesy harmonies.

Ironically, my favorite track on this album is actually 'Matchbox', which I always considered to be one of the Beatles' weakest tracks. In this case, McCartney and band give us a good driving rhythm and decent harmonies. The slide guitar solo on this track (as well as 'Ain't That A Shame') is outstanding. The guitar also makes 'Get Back' a standout on here. Generally, I kind of like the unique tracks on here - meaning the ones that weren't on earlier McCartney albums: 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' is pretty solid; 'Sally' and 'If I Were Not Upon The Stage' are both amusing; 'Inner City Madness' is mildly interesting; 'Together' is a bit dull.

Here's some technical info for those who want it: 'Sgt. Pepper' on this album includes not only the regular song, but an instrumental passage similar to the solo section of 'The End', as well as the reprise. 'Put It There' includes the coda from 'Hello Goodbye' added at the end. Not included on this album is 'Good Day Sunshine' which was the B-side of 'Birthday'. A UK CD single and 12-inch of that added 'P.S. Love Me Do' (yep - that's the actual title) and 'Let 'Em In'. There's a one-CD version of this album called Tripping The Live Fantastic Highlights! which is no better and no worse than the double CD. The UK version of Highlights replaces 'Put It There' with 'All My Trials', a decent tune that isn't on the double CD, and which was an A-side in the UK. The B-side of 'All My Trials' was a pretty good version of 'C Moon', while the CD single and 12-inch added 'Mull Of Kintyre', which is interesting because the British crowd goes apeshit over it. There was a second 'All My Trials' CD single that included a medley of 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'Help!' and 'Give Peace A Chance', which are all rendered into modern muck. There was also the various artists double album called Knebworth: The Album, which included 'Coming Up' and 'Hey Jude', both of which are only minutely different from the Tripping versions.

I'd like to point out, too, that 'Coming Up' holds the record for most versions of a Paul McCartney song to be officially released. There's five: the studio version, the Glasgow version, the Kampuchea version, the Knebworth version, and the Tripping version. If you count the Beatles, then 'The Long And Winding Road' surpasses it: the Let It Be version, the Anthology version, the Wings Over America version, the Broad Street version, the This One version, and the Tripping version. Is that overkill or what?

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

Paul'd better call it 'Ripping the live fantastic'. This record is one of the most weakest live albums I've ever listened to. Let's start from the fact that Paul sings too many Beatles' songs and I can't say that live performance is better than LP's one. Then Paul put two really stupid numbers: 'Inner city madness' and 'Together'. Were they written in five minutes? It seems to me so. Next disappointment is that we hear too many dinosaur-rocks. They are not bad but a) Paul sings them badly and b) They don't get together with songs from Flowers in the dirt. By the way, I know why Paul stops singing 'If I were not upon the stage': crowd (concert was in Germany) was going to boo him off! Can you imagine it?

And here's another minus: second live version of 'Maybe I'm amazed' fails. I won't explain you why just go and listen it again. List, let's count Paul's solo-career songs which aren't taken from Flowers in the dirt. Err... ONLY 5 songs? Oh, I'm so depressed...

Didier Dumonteil <> (14.03.2001)

It had to be done!Paul couldn't retire without performing once in his life his tremendous catalogue live.In wings over America,there were only 5 B. tracks,and on concerts for Kampuchea (not available on CD) only two "Got to get you into my life" and "let it be".So everyone ,please gather for the feast.And a feast it is ,at least for the spectators.Hear the crowds'singalong in "hey Jude",the screaming at the beginning of the great classics.Maybe it's only a nice souvenir,but that kind of souvenir is priceless.

Margaret Phillips <> (03.04.2004)

It seems that there is a lot of disappointment both with Macca's recorded efforts and his constant battle to present himself as Lennon's creative equal (or superior!). I agree with all of that, but I am amazed that people aren't more impressed by the extended 'Sgt Peppers' on the live album.  I can vividly recall being blown away when I first played it!  I just kept re-playing it. I have a secret wish that one day someone will unearth a bootleg of the original Beatles session where they jammed the guitar link that inspired this version!


Sergey Zhilkin <> (05.09.2000)

Your review disappointed me very much.Not because you gave it high mark (it's fair) or said something wrong.Well, I'll try to explain.I have 'Unplugged: the offical bootleg' on one disc (as you I think) but there are only 17 songs of 22 you reviewed.The cover is the same as yours and I haven't heard it was remastered (when and for what? 1991 is rather fresh).I checked three other sites on Web and all were reviewing 17-songs version.Please judge us.And one correction: 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' was written by Bill Monroe(well, maybe it was sang by Elvis later).

And now about album itself.TONS of fun!At first I thought that it is 8/10 at least.Then I realized (no, not that I lost my little girl) that many of these songs are old(it doesn't mean I don't like them) and I've heard them before.Paul just recorded them on his program.Yeah, you are right 6/10 is enough.

Robert Tally <> (30.11.2000)

I think the appropriate album to compare this to would be The Russian Album, since there are so many rock 'n' roll oldies here.  I far prefer Unplugged over that earlier release.  Most of the songs here are sung well and generally have a good atmosphere - although I'll admit that I'm kind of a sucker for acoustic performances. It's refreshing to see so many tracks from McCartney here, with both 'Every Night' and 'That Would Be Something' being standouts.  Most of the oldies work well, with perhaps 'Hi-Heel Sneakers' being the best.  If anything, it's the Beatles tunes that are inconsistent (I mean the versions - not the songs themselves).  Nevertheless, I would still rate 'She's A Woman' as one of the best tracks on this album, even though the Beatles' version never did much for me.  I'm also fairly shocked that Paul wrote the harmless but catchy 'I Lost My Little Girl' when he was only 14.  But then, he's Paul McCartney, isn't he?  I'd also like to give a thumbs up to Robbie McIntosh for his work on the dobro, which gives a whole new dimension to 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', 'San Francisco Bay Blues' and 'That Would Be Something'.

Okay now, I don't have the version of this CD that George has, but I've got all of the songs, so I'm going to attempt to straighten out the facts here.  First of all, both the 22-song version and the 17-song version are called Unplugged - The Official Bootleg.  However, the 17-song version is not a bootleg.  It's an official release.  In fact, no release can really be both, since 'official' and 'bootleg' are opposite to each other.  My best guess is that George has an actual bootleg of the original performance.  The five songs found on the 22-song version, but not the 17-song version are the following: 'Things We Said Today', which was actually released as the b-side of 'Biker Like An Icon' a couple of years after this album; it was also included on the Dutch 'Biker Like An Icon' CD single with 'Midnight Special'; and both of these songs appeared on a UK promo CD single of 'Biker Like An Icon' with 'Mean Woman Blues'.  That leaves 'Matchbox and 'The Fool' (which I kinda like), both of which were performed but not broadcast and not officially released.  It should also be noted that the 17-song version has only one of the two false starts on 'We Can Work It Out', so it doesn't come across so pathetically, and a shorter edit of 'Ain't No Sunshine'.  The bootleg called Plugged And Unplugged has all of the missing material.

Didier Dumonteil <> (15.03.2001)

The unplugged paraphernalia fits Paul like a glove.The tracks from the very first album rejuvenate.There's a cool intimate atmosphere .And anyway "here there and everywhere " is so strong a ballad that it would shine even with the worst treatments."Singing the blues" is no blues at all,but there's no time for the worrying blues.


<> (05.03.2000)

I agree with your views about this album... and I'd like to mention that Macca released a two-disc set called Off the Ground: The Complete Works in the Netherlands. It can cost a pretty penny (you'll likely only find it on ebay) but having the second disc is worth the expense. Disc two is just as good as, if not better then, disc one. It includes a lot of B-sides and rarities, including a full version of "Cosmically Conscious." Excellent material in the same vein as the US version. It's quite a shame that he intended these songs for such a limited release.

<> (17.08.2000)

Now THIS I can stomach! This is the closest he's come to the Wings sound since Wings. I always liked 'Biker' despite the lyrics, and even the worst songs are better than those on Press to Play. Still, I don't listen to it as much as I did when it came out.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.11.2000)

Nice cover. Maybe the best one of Paul's albums (just look at the legs of Linda (second from the beginning)! He-he-he!). Still good cover doesn't mean that album is good itself. I don't want to say that Off the ground is crap or big misstep after Flowers in the dirt (though I think it's a letdown after that comeback-record). Your reviews about these two albums are OK but I still don't understand why did you rate Flowers lower than Off the ground...Stop! My brain is going to break down if I don't stop... Whew... Yeah, it's alright. You know, I feel the mess in my head so I'll try to show my ideas step by step, OK? Now, see, Flowers is a very complicated album. It's not concept but tunes are ...well, not progressive, but I'm sure you know what I mean. Paul returned to form back in 1989. But on Off the ground we hear another Paul who is more simple and more poppy (I'm not sure that there's such word in English but again you know what I mean). Though I have to admit that Paul tries to repeat Flowers. But, unfortunately, misses the mark. Just listen to such songs as 'Mistress and maid' or 'C'mon people'. Paul tries hard to make melody more serious and complicated but something is wrong. Surely, this record is a letdown. Other songs like 'Biker like an icon' (well, it's good and catchy but nothing serious), 'Off the ground' (awful chorus), 'Hope of deliverance'(I'm getting sick and tired from Paul's vocal here) and 'Get out of my way' are good and catchy (yes! I found the right words at last! Catchy and jolly!) but they remind me Ringo more than Paul.

My main point is about that you gave Off the ground higher mark that Flowers in the dirt (and not that you gave it 8/10). Please compare these two albums again and, maybe, you'll change your opinion. I'd give Off the ground 7/10 and that's enough for it (remember, that I rate Flowers 8 or 9 out of 10).

Please, just say what are the reasons of giving pop album higher rating than to nearly prog one. Ah, it's useless, you can always say that you just liked it more, that it's your page and you're host here and that you just want Off the ground get higher rating (and, actually, you'll be right).

[Special author note: actually, the reason is very simple - where FITD is a slick 'return to formula' rather than to form, an album where most of the material is slick and smooth and mostly follows the same pattern (mid-tempo semi-catchy pop song, apart from maybe two or three numbers), Off The Ground is more diverse and less predictable, not to mention more rocking.]

Robert Tally <> (07.12.2000)

The followup to the big comeback album Flowers In The Dirt.  This should be an ominous situation, since the last time there had been a big comeback album (Tug Of War), it was followed by a real dog (Pipes Of Peace).  So it should be considered a major accomplishment for McCartney that this followup (Off The Ground) is almost as good as the comeback. To my ears, it sounds like a continuation of Flowers In The Dirt. Again, the strongest material is the Elvis collaborations, in this case 'Mistress And Maid' and 'The Lovers That Never Were', both of which are melodically adventurous and sophisticated.  (But has anybody noticed that, of the seven Macca/Elvis numbers released on Paul's records, four of them are in waltz-time?)  And again, Paul's solo compositions are generally strong, with 'Off The Ground' (a simple tune with a big fat sound) and 'Peace In The Neighborhood' (a genuine feel-good tune) being my favorites of those. I'm also quite partial to 'Biker Like An Icon' and 'Golden Earth Girl'. Most of the others are nicely written tunes that don't quite matter much to me, such as 'I Owe It All To You' and 'Hope Of Deliverance.' Which brings me to the rest: 'Get Out Of My Way' (which has some nice guitar work and a snappy brass motif, but just doesn't rock intensely enough); 'C'mon People' (a decent attempt at an epic if you just slice off that ridiculous 'oh yeah' section); 'Winedark Open Sea' (a little too melodically dull for me); and 'Looking For Changes' (the weakest track, not only because the melody is kinda dumb, but because the lyrics achieve the exact opposite of subtlety).

Off The Ground - The Complete Works, released only in Japan, contains various b-sides and CD single bonus tracks not included on the regular album. The b-side of 'Hope Of Deliverance' was 'Long Leather Coat', the grittiest rocker McCartney had produced in a decade or two. The CD single also contained 'Big Boys Bickering' (a mediocre countryish political tune) and 'Kicked Around No More' (a somewhat dull jazz ballad). The b-side of 'C'mon People' was 'I Can't Imagine', a very mediocre pop song. The CD single also contained 'Keep Coming Back To Love', (a reasonable pop collaboration with Hamish Stuart) and 'Down To The River' (a good idea for a song that never went beyond being an idea). The b-side of 'Off The Ground' (which was a single in the US, but not the UK) was a full edit of 'Cosmically Conscious', which appears in abridged form on the regular album. It was apparently written in India in 1968, and gets a lot of psychedelic mileage out of threadbare material - bottom line: it's damned enjoyable. The CD single also contains 'Style Style' (a shamelessly sappy pop song), 'Sweet Sweet Memories' (a much better pop song) and 'Soggy Noodle' (a very short guitar improvisation with the perfect title).

Not included on even the Japanese double CD is 'Deliverance', which was released in both regular and dub mixes on a 12-inch single with 'Hope Of Deliverance' (little bits of which appear in 'Deliverance').  Both mixes then came out on an alternate UK CD single of 'C'mon People'.  They basically represent a return to the many overlong dub experiments McCartney indulged in during the eighties.

Didier Dumonteil <> (15.03.2001)

IMHO,it's a comedown after flowers in the dirt.Here the "serious" "meaningful" "social" topics get the upper hand.And this is not Paul's forte (remember "give Ireland back to the Irish")So "looking for changes" "biker like an icon" and "peace in the neighbourhood" may seem generous ,committed,actually it sucks.Paul ,in a grand gesture ,comes to rescue cats,blacks,women,rabbits.HIs intentions are good ,no one can deny it,but the lyrics are at best mundane ,at worst laughable ,with inexistent melodies at that.An artistically-muribond Costello lends a helping hand but the collaborations are weaker than on flowers.Ah had he come in 1980 ,at the heights of his powers(Armed forces,Get Happy),he would have spared us McC II

Eric Rogozin <> (17.04.2001)

It was my first McCartney album and since the first time I heard it I liked it very much. I remember saying to my friend "Listen to it. Paul's vocal sounds like it sounded thirty years ago, and, in general, this stuff is awesome!". And I was right, it's a damn good album. Yes, it's very diverse and interesting, although Paul always used to write diverse and interesting music. The best songs? I like all the songs here (like I like almost everything Paul does) , but the bests are tracks 2-6.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.06.2002)

I'm not the biggest Paul McCartney fan on the plan but this Off The Ground release is pretty special. What odes it for me is the instrumental definition throughout the record. Paul uses varying keyboards, guitars, brass, strings, and special effects to give each track a unique flavoring. Like yourself, I enjoy 'Golden Earth Girl' very much. Really touches the soul. 'Peace In The Neighborhood' stands out strong with its hopeful lyrics and gorgeous piano runs. 'Biker Like An Icon' was well deserved of its single status with snappy rhythms and cute lyrics. Call me different but I like the words.

'Get Out Of My Way' is a catchy upbeat rocker with a nice blend between the guitars and piano. 'Hope Of Deliverance' has a fairly catchy hook. As a matter of fact most if not all of these songs have catchy melodies. The last two songs get a bit repetitive but at least the sappy qualities are minimal if non existent.

Maybe not as strong as Band On The Road, but certainly at least as creative. This release may give me hope that Paul has some other good solo works out there. 


Sergey Zhilkin <> (22.08.2000)

This time overall rating should be smaller than the record rating. Paul is taking highlights from Off the ground (this is VERY good album but do you want hear it once again) and some Beatles songs which are better on original LP. He just prooved that he still had voice but we knew it. Only one pleasant thing for me is another version of 'Good rockin' tonight'(Do you remember fast version on Unplugged). 'New' 'Drive my car' and 'Looking for changes'(a little bit faster than original) are useless. The concert is over but we still have empty space on disc. What will we do? Yes, we'll put 'Kansas city'(Paul! We've heard it on CHOBA B CCCP), silly 'Hotel in Benidorm', another version of 'I wanna be your man' and another surprise - 'A fine day'(Ooh! Better). I don't really know how to rate it. Let's forget about it.

Robert Tally <> (11.12.2000)

It is indeed very curious that McCartney released yet another live album at this time. This sounds like a continuation of Tripping The Live Fantastic. There's a whole cartload of Beatles tunes, all different from the ones on Tripping. There are three earlier McCartney solo tunes: 'My Love' and 'Let Me Roll It', which were both aired out on Wings Over America, and 'Live And Let Die', which has the distinction of being the only song to appear on both Tripping and Paul Is Live (as well as on Wings Over America). And instead of several note-for-note copies of songs from Flowers In The Dirt, we now have several note-for-note copies of songs from Off The Ground.  And, of course, we also get a few 'surprises', although these are mostly letdowns: 'Good Rockin' Tonight' isn't much of a surprise, since we just heard it on Unplugged (which also had 'We Can Work It Out' and 'Here, There And Everywhere' - included here); 'Robbie's Bit' is a solo acoustic piece by Robbie McIntosh, which is actually pretty good; 'Welcome To Soundcheck' is just crickets buzzing before we get to 'Hotel In Benidorm', a pointless jam with Paul trying to make up a song on top of it; and 'A Fine Day', a pointless jam with Paul trying - wait, didn't I just say that?  The rest of the album is okay, though - nothing great, but okay.  I will say that I think 'I Wanna Be Your Man' is pretty cool here, with its Bo Diddley beat, and that 'Magical Mystery Tour' is downright sluggish and, well, kinda crappy.  Luckily, it's only one CD (the UK got also got a vinyl version which was a double album, but hey, Tripping had been a triple album in its vinyl incarnation).

For all the completists out there, I should point out that there was another McCartney album put out at around the same time as this one, but most people don't know about it because it's credited to The Fireman, which consists of McCartney with mixing engineer Youth.  It consists of nine tracks that all have separate titles, but are actually nine different mixes of the same recording.  The recording itself is pretty much a drum beat with a bunch of synth and sound effects piled onto it.  Each of the nine mixes lasts anywhere from eight to nine minutes.  To put it another way, the vinyl version of this (released in the UK) was a double album. Now, hold on - I know you're all jumping from your seats to run out and buy this thing right away, but I forgot to give you the title.  It's called strawberries oceans ships forest (yep, that's all lower case - and so artsy-fartsy, too!)


Rich Bunnell <> (25.08.99)

Yeah, a forgettable album, though I admit that I like "The Song We Were Singing" and "Beautiful Night," though the former only has maybe 2 or 3 lyrics. And I LOVE "The World Tonight." Rough-edged, at least for McCartney, and very ear-catching. But nothing else really jumps out. Yes, that's right, I don't like "Young Boy;" it's banal and boring and I can't believe it was listed as a highlight on the cover sticker. The only other song I remember (I no longer own this album) is "If You Wanna," and that one doesn't excite me too much. I DID give this one a few chances, but it just didn't impress, and while I'm sure Paul had tons of fun hanging around with Jeff Lynne and Steve Miller during production, he didn't convey that fun into a way where the listeners could feel it or enjoy it. And if Paul's gonna title the album after John's inspiration for the name "The Beatles," why couldn't he at least make the title track good? A 3.

Stanislaw Kozlowski <> (22.09.99)

Oh, no, no, You are completely wrong. After first listening to the record, just after first few notes I was sure that I can return to old good days of Beatles serious music that penetrates the minds of listeners.

On Flaming Pie You can feel that lately Mc Cartney, for a lot of time was immersed in Beatles old music feeling. Therefore quality of his songs visibly improved. The first four songs can be listened in one take without any distraction, or disgust. I cannot remember an McCartney album in many years to achieve this. And the overall quality of this work had made it's mark on commercial ratings - Flaming Pie was in five best sold albums. Again achievement not reached in many years. Jeff Lynne's additions are scarce but very nice.

Of course there are some mediocre songs - personally I do not like dull rock'a roll played just for the sake of pounding on instruments.

But in my opinion Flaming Pie had risen to heighs that Paul McCartney had not reached for a long, long time ( possibly near Beatles mood in some places ) - and I am very happy that this was even possible.

Scott Aubertine <> (27.11.99)

I have been a Beatles fan since the Ed Sullivan show and a McCartney fan since the same time. The more I listen to Pie the more I feel that song for song, it may be the best McCartney album yet.

Mats Fjäll <> (28.11.99)

This is his best record, at least of the ones I've heard.

The fun rocking title track, the simple 'Young Boy' and the lovely 'Beutiful Night' is all songs that should appear on a Macca greatest hits collection. The nice laid back 'Heaven on a Sunday', 'Souvenir' and 'If You Wanna' are great too.

But of course there's some weak moments: the first song co-written with Ringo, 'Really Love You' and the album closer 'Great Day'. Maybe 'Calico Skies' isn't one of the greatest moments in music history, but yet full listenble!

mjcarney <> (28.06.2000)

I almost agree with you here on this album.  I cannot understand why this album was so strongly praised, and Paul's previous release (which isn't all that great either Off The Ground) was panned as strongly as it was.  Sure Flaming Pie has some great moments, which is why when I first bought it a few years back I thought it was a tremendous return to form, yet further listens show the typical flaws of any McCartney album and then some.  However, the excellent songs such as  "The Song we Were Singing" which has a good strong melody, "Calico Sky"--with its beautiful George Martin production, "Souvenir" (I especially like the 20 second ending on this one for some reason) and "Great Day"--which are classics in and of themselves, and yes George "Great Day" has enough of a melody and a hook on it to be one of my favorite Paul solo songs, as it has everything a typical Paul McCartney song has always had, a great hook, a feel good melody, despite some meaningless lyrics.  It works well and ends the album terrifically.  So with these songs on here I was--even on the first listen-- astounded with the record at first.  But, although I am not dissapointed that I bought it, there are some God-awful numbers here which further listens helped define.  These would include songs such as the Steve Miller collaboration "Used to Be Bad" and the even worse (which is tough to beat) Ringo collaboration on "Really Love You".  Also the typical McCartney overproduced and overly sappy "Beautiful Night" really really Stink!   These numbers, along with some other relatively weak tracks drag down the album further.  It had some signs of promise, but does not work overall.  I would rate it a 5/10 and that is only for the highlights mentioned here. I would reserve this one mainly for completists only.

Dmitry Jilkin <> (26.07.2000)

Why? why is it so low? There are many good and VERY good songs, such as 'The world tonight' (ooh! I love this electric guitar), 'If you wanna', 'Young boy', 'Flaming pie'(Maybe the lyrics are stupid but the melody is fantastic), soft 'Heaven on a sunday', rockin' 'Souvenir' and beautiful 'Beautiful night' (sorry for play on words). The closing 'Great day' is maybe too soft but listenable, too.

At the first sight it looks really dull but just give it one chance not more, it will be enough. Try to listen one song completly and maybe you'll understand that this album is another comeback after Off the ground.My ratings are: record rating = 8, overall rating = 12

<> (17.08.2000)

I hate Steve Miller so I skip his duet, and 'Really Love You' was an easy way for Ringo to get some royalties. But easily half of these songs are as good as any of his other good songs, and 'Beautiful Night' is another in a long line of GORGEOUS tunes he could write in his sleep. His best album of original tunes since Egg. But not as good as Run Devil Run.

Paul Stadden <> (03.09.2000)

This is one of the most underrated albums ever. I loved this album. Every song was fantastic.

<> (10.09.2000)

To be honest I disagree with most of your reviews. Pink Floyd is great and the Rolling stones are overrate. However this review takes the cake. Flaming Pie is a fantastic album, one of Pauls best. There are a few flaws here and there like the title track and 'Somedays' but songs like 'Beautiful Night', 'Souvenir', 'Young Boy' and 'Little Willow' more than make up for any flaws.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.10.2000)

I'm not going to argue with you, George.So many people tried to persuade you but the rating is still the same. It's clear that nothing will make you love this record (except hard brick or bottle of vodka) and I'm not going to ask you to make rating higher. In my opinion it deserves 8/10 and fourth place in chart of Paul's best albums (I goes after Ram, Band on the run and London town).

Teresa Juarez Guzman <> (26.11.2000)

This album was nominated for a grammy (not that this should be a compliment) for album of the year. Two of the other competitors were Radiohead's nice but over, and I mean overrated OK Computer and Bob Dylan's astonishing Time Out Of Mind. Now, I'm not much of a music expert, but a fan. And I disagree 180 grades from your perception, George, from Flaming Pie. It's not a masterpiece. O.K. and it surely wasn't meant to be one (just like Pipes Of Peace, which was following a comercial trace hat didn't do a lot of good to Paul in terms of critical acclaim, but that I sure can smile upon its playing!) While Dylan's masterpiece deserved "the gold" (or... "the gold" --that is, the Grammies, of course-- hasn't done a lot to deserve Dylan and McCartney... perhaps Radiohead, but what the hell...), McCartney didn't even bother to appear or reprise his songs in the ceremony. Flaming Pie isn't a crafty record but a fun one (even if it is in a kitschy manner for some listeners... certainly nor for me). I don't think of it as some sort of guilty pleasure (I'd leave that to any country anthem), but as a confirmation of Paul's succesful way to create pop music without sounding like a rehab act. How can you like "Maybe I'm Amazed" or "One Of These Days" (OK.... maybe you didn't like that one...) and do not have a sense of pleasure towards "Beautiful Night". Maybe I'm a product of nostalgia, but I know when an oldie's effort is worth to attend. (And don't give me that nineties' commercial punch as some sort of "selling out" sign. This album hasn't sold numbers near to ... agh... Celine Dion... When we discuss all those Billboard acts like... a double agh... Pavarotti and friends... then we can sure demand that their albums should have never been released, as you seemed to have meant in your 4 points review.) Or maybe Townsend and cia. were right. Rock is dead. Boo-hoo.

<> (16.12.2000)

Your coments about flaming pie, and run devil run are so out of site its a wonder you know anything about music.I can tell your not any where near being musically talented, if you were maybe you could be a music critic after all.But I dont think you are so leave it to musicians who know better. [Spetiel othor noat: am I supozed to leeve it to Pol himself, then?]

Robert Tally <> (27.12.2000)

I guess I could partially agree with George inasmuch as I think fans and critics made a little too much out of this album.  However, I can think of more than one song that stands out for me.  The three that I like the most are 'The Song We Were Singing' (which really captures the feeling of talking with friends into the wee hours), 'Flaming Pie' (a very amusing tune both musically and lyrically) and 'Great Day' (a typically catchy folk tune from Paul).  I also think the A-sides, 'Young Boy' and 'The World Tonight' are both pretty solid pop songs.  'Souvenir' works well in the R 'n' B vein. 'Heaven On A Sunday' isn't really my style, but it's still fairly strong.   The folk ballads tend to sound a little rigid, particularly 'Somedays' and 'Little Willow', with 'Calico Skies' perhaps a little looser and, for me, mildly enjoyable.  One song I can do without is the perfectly-crafted and overly-formal 'Beautiful Night'.  Every album has to have one of these, though, doesn't it?  The two improvisations, 'Used To Be Bad' and 'Really Love You' simply are no big deal, although Steve Miller's voice sounds refreshing on the former.  My least favorite track is probably 'If You Wanna', which is too redundant for me.  Generally, I guess I prefer Flowers In The Dirt and Off The Ground, but this one isn't far behind, and it can be said that McCartney was still keeping safely away from the depths of his mid-80s output.

For the completists out there, there are several CD singles associated with this album.  In the UK, there were two each of 'Young Boy', 'The World Tonight' and 'Beautiful Night'.  Each had non-album tracks: 'Looking For You' (a weak improvisation from the 1st 'Young Boy' single as well as the US 'World Tonight' single); 'Broomstick' (a really good blues tune from the 2nd 'Young Boy' single - it shouldn't have been left off the album); 'Love Come Tumbling Down' (a pretty dumb pop ballad from the 1st 'Beautiful Night' single); and 'Same Love' (a bland ballad from the 2nd 'Beautiful Night' single).  Each CD single also contains a special installment of 'Oobu Joobu'.  For those not familiar, this was a radio series from 1995 in which Paul played a lot of unreleased material and interview clips.  Basically, he made six shorter episodes especially for the CDs, which all feature the rather dorky but infectious 'Oobu Joobu Main Theme', along with various tidbits too irrelevant to mention - except that each segment contains a full-length song: Part 1 has a mediocre techno-pop song called 'I Love This House'; Part 2 has an amusing techno-tropical rap called 'Atlantic Ocean'; Part 3 has an overlong but reasonable instrumental called 'Squid'; Part 4 has a decent falsetto reggae ballad called 'Don't Break The Promise'; Part 5 has the original (blander) version of 'Beautiful Night'; and Part 6 has a dopey pop song called 'Love Mix' (as well as a rather hilarious mellotron demonstration).  And if that's not enough, there's a CD called Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs Of Noel Coward on which Paul does a subpar job of singing a really good song called 'A Room With A View'.

And - what luck!  Why, there's a second album from this period by The Fireman (Paul with engineer Youth) called Rushes, which actually is more interesting than the first one (strawberries oceans ships forest), because it's more textured and is actually several different recordings, rather than mixes of the same recording.  It's still purely for hardcore fans, though (and for acid freaks, I guess).  I kinda like it.

Didier Dumonteil <> (18.03.2001)

Something has definitely changed here.THe music seems light pop,but the tone is different.Linda's health problems have occured and Paul's proverbial optimism seems to vanish into thin air.Of course there is the occasional cheerful tune ("young boy" ,and cool at that!),but listen to the wonderful "little willow"-IMHO,the best cut-:Paul tells us he's speaking about a friend,but we know it reflects his own situation too:that's why this song is among the very few of solo Paul that can move to tears.The last song is intriguing too:an old ditty that "we used to sing in the kitchen".You've got to remember that Paul lost his mother at such an early age that it's hard to get over this lost;that's why the family values were/are so dear to him.The gorgeous ballads "beautiful night" and chiefly "sometimes" are wistful,nostalgic to the core.And in "the world tonight",Paul's brooding."souvenir" sounds ominous when you know the rest.And look at the back of the artwork:Paul seems to say goodbye ...Should he end  on this one-run,devil is not a real new album-,he would retire gracefully.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

You're absolutely wrong! I completely disagree with you on this point, because Flaming Pie is one of the greatest albums of Paul! It's a masterpiece! Songwriting of Paul was always amazing and on Flaming Pie he proves another time, that he's a great songwriter! Hey, it's perfect! "The World Tonight" and "Somedays" are gorgeous! Other tracks, especially "If You Wanna", "Young Boy", "Heaven On A Sunday", "Beautiful Night" are also excellent! And it's Ringo who plays on "Really Love You" (another groovy song) and "Beautiful Night".

How can you be so wrong!

Nick Dell'Oso <> (30.01.2002)

Flaming Pie it's a decent pop album, far better overall than his previous 3 or 4. I think it could be better and more interestingly produced, but if he was after greater simplicity then it's understandable why it sounds a bit "simple". My best picks are : "Heaven On A Sunday" - a very nice song, although I don't like the way it ends; but I'll get used to it - eventually. "Beautiful Night" is also very good and there are 3 to 4 others that are better than average and better than he's done for years. However I keep on coming back to "Used To Be Bad", it's an excellent song and doesn't pretend to be anything beyond what it is - also Paul sounds like he's having a good time singing it, and that's very important for any singer/songwriter. The indisputable dud is "Souvenir" - oh, what a shocker...

I would rate the record a 6 or 7 and the overall rating an 11 - but certainly NOT your 8; it's too good for an overall 8. His album Driving Rain is a 8 - no, I'm lying - Driving Rain is REALLY a 5. Anybody who gives Driving Rain more than a 6 needs a brain transplant, and quickly. Anybody who gives Driving Rain more than a 7 has been long dead and is somehow listening to it from inside their coffin, six feet under on a miserably cold, grey and rainy winter day...oh! sorry if I've offended anybody!

Bruno Müller <> (04.05.2002)

Hi, George

My name is Bruno Müller, I'm brazilian, 22, and I've been reading some of your reviews for some time. I took a look around some bands ana artists I particularly like, such as Beatles, Who, Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Frank Zappa, Lennon, McCartney, and some I would like to know, like Caravan. But I hesitated too long before sending comments. Why? First of all, because I've had some pretty nasty experiences about e-mail conversations. The chances of misundertanding seem to be very high. I must admit some of your reviews scared me (easy to find out: FZ, PF and KC). I've no problems with criticism, but you're sometimes very hard on expressing your opinions, which can be a little discouraging when it comes to dialogue. And, finally, with so many people commenting, what else could I say that would justify the effort?

Nevertheless, after reading your "guide" I felt some kind of confident. I could try to expose my opinions on albuns I love so much and you don't, like The Wall or Larks' Tongues in Aspic, but I guess I've chosen the easy way and comment a not-very-good album from an artist we both like, Paul McCartney.

Introductions made, let's get to it. I chose Flaming Pie because I thought I could have something else to bring into the discussion. I think you were a little bit unfair, crashing this album in such way. But I guess that what's more unfair about your review is your questioning on Paul's skills as a songwriter. Of course, he's no Lennon, Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young or Roger Waters when it comes to writing lyrics (guess you disagree about the last two, don't you?).But he's able to create such unusual, beautiful, surrealistic images that are hard to be equaled for the whole majority of lyricists in rock. And he can also express certain feelings that are so ordinary that one might make it look banal. In Paul's cases, he drives you into that feelings with him. OK, many times, this is not the case of Flaming Pie. But I'm just trying to make a point.

Just think about the recent "Rinse the Raindrops". It's quite creepy the way that the same words can express such mixed feelings as anguish and hope at the same time. The confusion, it seems obvious, is in his own state of mind since Linda's death. But, even so, how many people are able to do the same thing, and with the same beauty that those lyrics have? The way he sings helps you to move from one feeling to another, which shows also he's talent as an interpreter. Listening to "Rinse the Raindrops" is a disturbing experience, in the good sense. It would bring me to tears if music was able to make me cry. I guess this song is the final prove of Paul's talent as a lyricist.

Sorry for this long digression. Now, back to Flaming Pie, though he was not in such a good shape, you can still find some flashes of his talent in lines such as "everybody's got a handful of fear/ But tomorrow, it may only be a souvenir/ Of the way it was 'til it went away". Or the lyrics of "The World Tonight", to me the best song in the album, and it's a really good song, not a highlight of a minor effort. Try to listen to it again: "I saw you swaing to the rhythm of the music/ Caught you playing, caught you praying to the voice inside of you (...) I don't care what you want to be/ I go back so far, I'm in front of me (...) I can see the world tonight/ Look into the future/ See it in a different light". These lyrics not only have a great meaning, they are also well constructed, with some good images and play with words.

The other lyrics might be ordinary, but I don't suppose they're banal as well. "The Song We Were Singing", "Somedays", "Young Boy". Yes, they are common, but we feel they are sincere, Paul's interpretation avoid that they sound fake or corny. He really means what he says - he's not tricking us. "Beautiful Night", with its bombastic arrangement, doesn't work that well - this one sounds really corny, there's nothing we cand o about it.

The main problem with Flaming Pie is that it is monotonous. You study languages, so you know better than me - if we "translate" monotonous we find out the major fault of the album: it has the same tone, so, after half of it, you're already tired. Plus, I must agree it has two of the worst songs ever written by Paul: "Flaming Pie" and "Really Love You". These two really suck! They're awful, he should be ashamed of them.

Nevertheless, I'd still rather listen to this one than to McCartney II, which is not only monotonous, but also annoying, sometimes, with its tons of synths. After all, I would give Flaming Pie a 6. Though it doesn't work quite right as whole, it still has some good stuff. Some of its songs would certainly work in a more varied album, when mixed with different moods. My suggestion is that you should take your time: don't listen to the entire album, it'll bore you. But if you catch some songs at a time, some might surprise you, at least as not so bad as you think they are.

So, to me, the lack of creativity in production and arrangements is a fact, but you still can find songs well written and arranged, like "The World Tonight". In an album without the variety that defines Paul's work, though, they lose weigh. Maybe he should have saved half of this songs to expose in a better album and spare us of the worst songs that make it repetitive. After all, that was always the main quality of Paul: his ability to change moods and surprise the listener.

Dan Hogg <> (31.12.2002)

Flaming Pie used to be a big deal to me. It came out right when I was getting over my Beatles obsession, so that summer after 6th grade I listened to this album non-stop. Now several years later, my opinion isn't so great, but I don't think it's as bad as you did. The acoustic ballads don't hold much water: "Somedays", "Calico Skies", "Heaven on a Sunday", and "Little Willow" all are OK but forgettable, even if the last one became a Princess DI tribute later on. Even worse are the jams "Used to be Bad" and "Really Love You", which I didn't like even during that summer. At least the former has Steve Miller, the other one is 5 minutes of nothing. The epic "Beautiful Night" is also a bit cringe-worthy, especially the LOOONG ending. But "The World Tonight" and "Young Boy" are perfectly fine pop-rockers (the latter was recorded in Steve Miller's studio at my home state, Idaho!!!). Not "If You Wanna", the 'hooks' are laughable, especially the one about 'making arrangemen! ts for the trip.' The title track is funny boogie-woogie, "Souvenir" and the Paul Simon-esque "Song we Were Singing" are minor gems, and "Great Day" is a fun closer, sounds like a front porch singalong.

Gerard Nowak <> (09.01.2003)

I'm rather indifferent to McCartney so I couldn't get insulted by the review and I think there's nothing wrong with it. I agree that the faster tracks are disappointing, but I really like some of the ballads: "Somedays" is my favourite McCartney solo track (maybe because I don't know many), I admire the semi-religious tone of it. As for the show closer, I've heard hundreds of acoustic songs in my life, and 'Great Day' DOES sound original to me, the melody is pretty wide, so to say, and the mood is uplifting, this is a nice one.

David Dickson <> (30.04.2004)

This is a good album. Hopefully not one of his "best", but still definitely good. I will admit to being a lazy motherf&@!&? and not listening to any of his albums except those that the All Music Guide deems "Best-Of-Artist." So that means that I've listened to this one, Ram, Band on the Run, and Tug of War. Ram is a masterpiece, and Band on the Run and Tug of War are pretty darn good. (None of those, however, hold a candle to Plastic Ono Band.) This one. . . well, it's got its merits. I think it just came out at the right time, so critics went hogwash over it. To tell the truth, this thing actually DOES move me in places. Just not enough to call it a "masterpiece."

Let's be honest--the Steve Miller jams universally blow. I didn't like that on All Things Must Pass, and I don't like it here. What I DO like is when Macca fleshes out the arrangements, as on the title track and "Beautiful Day," and comes up with some decent-enough melodies for them. He's not in a very melodic mood overall, but he does manage to keep up a mood throughout the LP--one that you'll like if you're into that stuff, and which you won't if you're not. Kinda like Sea Change--but without the focus or good arrangements of that album. You just have to forget that this guy is the "king of melody" and let him be unmelodic for an hour or so. Sorry if this comment seems terse and to the point--I only listened to the dang thing once, and I have to write another damn paper for Western European Democracies in two hours.

Overall, it's an overrated album, and critics are crazy people (have you read the AMG review for Ram? Boy, George wasn't kidding when he called them "schizoid". They give the album five stars, and then turn around and call it a piece of shit. Weird. . .), but it's still a mild pleasure. I give it 7.5 out of 10.

P.S.: George. It's interesting that you remark on Paul McCartney's "bad rap" amongst the cynical masses in the introduction. Many people ignorantly consider his entire catalog bad after reading what some critics have to say about him and hearing "Silly Love Songs" on the radio. And naturally, you don't like that. But you're guilty of the same, homie znakomie. Right here in this review.

Now, you probably wrote it years and years ago, so I can forgive you your youthful exuberance in the matter. But dude. Dude dude dude. What's with the obligatory Marilyn Manson jibe? I swear, this must be the sixth or seventh time I've encountered it on your site. Maybe you feel you need a reference point for what you assume to be "dreck". God knows it's a very common--and ridiculous--thing to do for members of the WRC to lump Manson in with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and O-Town, thinking that the image, as huge as it is, must be far greater than the actual musical talent. You might understandably assume that since the image is so up-front and overpowering, the music must, naturally, be shit.

But--but but BUT--I have a strong suspicion that that's just what it is: assumption. Based on the media coverage you've seen and, perhaps, hearing "The Beautiful People" relentlessly on the radio. As a matter of fact, I just checked your recently-posted list of 10 kajillion albums that you own, and surprise, surprise--not one Manson album to be found. Yet you consistently refer to his music as "generic hogwash", "modern dreck" and a "talentless thug." I could forgive this if you had evidence to back it up.

Now please keep in mind, I am NOT ASKING YOU TO REVIEW HIM. IF I DID, THEN YOU WOULD DELETE THIS COMMENT WITHOUT REMORSE. ALL COMMENTS ASKING YOU TO REVIEW SO-AND-SO ARTIST ARE DELETED AS PER YOUR NEW RULES, I KNOW. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REVIEW MARILYN MANSON IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO. IT'S YOUR SITE. (Phew.) But until you OWN at least one of his albums, then I'm afraid I can't allow you to talk trash towards the man for no reason. Once you DO own one, THEN you may call him the talentless corporate money making scum of the Earth if you feel that to be the case. Until you have evidence to back up your claims, it does neither of us any good to make sweeping generalizations about artists we are not familiar with.

And I'm not exactly innocent in this matter, either. In fact, I've done the same to countless other artists. Like Barry Manilow? Can't stand the man. Wish he would disappear. And I've never heard a single one of his LPs. Same goes for Pete Cetera, Bay City Rollers, and Oscar the Grouch. Maybe I'll be cured of that syndrome, as we all should be at some point in our lives.

Anyway, good album, this. Manages to Not Suck. I give it a 7.


Ivan Piperov <> (30.03.2000)

Paul McCartney rocks with Pink Floyd...that album is simply fun! Just listen how really hard he rocks all the time. And listen how he proves that he's still one of the finest rock-vocalists around.

mjcarney <> (28.06.2000)

George, I have to disagree strongly with your review here.  Sure a return to roots for McCartney might seem like a bad idea, what with is Back in the USSR(which I have never heard) and even Unplugged(which is also enjoyable) releases, but this one is actually quite good.  I was as skeptical of this album, as you seem to be--maybe even more so, as Paul has in my opinion had the most disappointing solo career of the main three Beatles- he,Lennon, and Harrison.  I have bought over half of his releases (because there are always enough songs to drive me to spend my money and ultimately in time wishing that I hadn't), but this album was different.  I was curious enough to go ahead and buy the album, not reallly expecting too much. On the first few listens, I was thinking in my typical cynical Paul McCartney way--oh boy isn't this crap--but then it clicked with me. There is enough material on here to make this album pretty good.  "Blue Jean Bop", "Movie Magg" (which is great!!!), "Brown-eyed Handsome Man", "No Other Baby"and the natural Fats Domino cover "Coquette" are the highlights of the covers.  His originals aren't half bad either with "Try Not to Cry" being the stand out there.  This album is ultimately rewarding, even if it really isn't a substantial or artistic statement, or progression in Paul's music.  It ultimately works, and is fine overall.  I would rate it a 7.5/10 it's fun, energetic, but really not ultimately essential unless you are a fan.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.10.2000)

Oh, come on! It's not so bad as you say. Paul is surely having fun here and performance is okay. Why people dislike it so much? There are only four Paul's songs but they have their drive and tunes stay in your head for days ('Run devil run', 'What is it' and 'Try not to cry'). Don't take this record seriously, it's only fun! You don't expect anything groundbreaking from Ringo, do you? The same situation's here.

Surely this record is easy way for Paul, but why do you dismiss it? The same thing hapenned to Stones' It's only rock'n'roll - you said that it was too simple way for Stones. Maybe. No, not maybe - it's fact but say that you enjoyed it and enjoyed 'Run devil run', too, didn't you? So you lowed ratings only because of most critic's opinion? Strange, I've just learnt that you gave Harrison's Extra Texture 7/10 though most of critics dismiss it.

Well, maybe I'm missing point here because I was blasted by this record. You know, I needed shot of rock'n'roll and I got it! Surely you wasn't moved by 'Run devil run' so much (better to say: at all) but look: You gave it 7/15 which means it's bad while it's somewhat mediocre at least. PLE-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-SE, make it a little bit higher. My rating is 6/10.

Robert Tally <> (08.01.2001)

I was profoundly shocked when I first heard this album. I was completely expecting a continuation of CHOBA B CCCP, which was a collection of generally well-played but uninspired covers of '50s tunes that didn't stack up against the original versions. Not so here. The most striking thing about this album is that the rockers are so fast and hard. My favorite is 'She Said Yeah', which I'm dumbfounded to try to explain being on a Paul McCartney album. He's never rocked this well before (except maybe as a Beatle). Also in the fast and hard category are 'All Shook Up' (a great version!), 'I Got Stung', 'Party', 'Honey Hush', and two originals, 'Run Devil Run' and 'What It Is', both of which fit in really well with the oldies. Rocking hard, but maybe not so fast are 'Shake A Hand' and another original, 'Try Not To Cry'. There's a part of me that really wanted the whole album to be like this. It's the same thing that I liked about the first Clash album, or the early X albums. But there are actually some more laid back tracks here. Luckily, they're all pretty cool. 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man' is pretty upbeat, but calm compared to the big rockers. It's nevertheless a great version. 'Blue Jean Bop' basically bops, and with great style. 'Movie Magg' is a very charming Carl Perkins rockabilly tune. 'Lonesome Town' really captures the emotional content in its lyrics. 'No Other Baby' is the simplest, most stripped down arrangement on the album, and is downright cool in my estimation. 'Coquette' is a faithful rendering of a Fats Domino tune, which, I guess, is my least favorite, but we're talking about an album which doesn't have any songs I don't like.I can think of only one other McCartney (post-Beatles) album that I like all the songs on, and that one also has the word 'run' in its title.

For anybody who wants every song, there's a CD single of 'No Other Baby' and 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man' which also includes a track called 'Fabulous', which bops in a style similar to 'Blue Jean Bop', and which is just as enjoyable. There's also a mono version of the CD single. Also, just released, is a version of 'Maybe Baby' from the soundtrack to the film of the same name. This was produced with Jeff Lynne, and sounds a lot like a Traveling Wilburys track (which, I guess, isn't a bad thing at all). There's also a Denny Laine CD called A Tribute To Paul McCartney & Wings which includes some Wings recordings sung by Laine. One track, 'Send Me The Heart', is a reasonable-sounding country tune sung by both Paul and Denny, so it's sort of a Paul McCartney song. The Run Devil Run CD is also available with a bonus interview CD for those who don't mind paying extra. And for the hardcore completists out there - well, he's done it again. Another techno album, this one called Liverpool Sound Collage, and made with Youth and Super Furry Animals, and including bits of studio chat by The Beatles. Certain stretches of this CD are very annoying.

Eric Rogozin <> (11.04.2001)

George, here I also disagree with you. Run Devil Run sounds very fresh, cheerful and life-asserting. I just love this album, it's brilliant; I was very glad, when I bought it, it proves, that Paul WILL NEVER lose his musical talent. He is GENIUS, he just can't lose his musical abilities. Run Devil Run is superb! And it features David Gilmour and Ian Paice(!!!!!). Remember all Paul's works with David (who is a good guitarist): "No More Lonely Nights", "We Got Married", these songs are masterpieces. And when it also features Ian Paice on drums (who is one of the greatest drummers ever), it must be a masterpiece. What a collaboration!

This record proves, that rock music can not be revived without a help of Paul McCartney. C'mon, this guy is a palladium of rock! Let's make a rock'n'roll revival with Paul McCartney and others!

Dan Hogg <> (31.12.2002)

Run Devil Run threw me off-track at first, I wasn't prepared for mostly '50s covers. Once the initial shock was over, I was able to enjoy it. Can't compare it to the USSR one, I never heard it. Only 3 originals here, but they are all good. The title track is best: authentic Berry-esque rocker. 'Try Not to Cry" and "What it Is" are nice little rocker tributes to the late Linda. Everything else: covers. Paul pulls off amusing impressions of Gene Vincent ("Blue Jean Bop"), Carl Perkins ("Movie Magg"), and Fats Domino ("Coquette"). The mellow "No Other Baby" is an awesome obscurity, better than the more well-known "Lonesome Town", despite the latter's "Let it Be" homage. Simple rockers range from great ("She Said Yeah", "Honey Hush") to just OK ("Party", "I Got Stung"). My favorite of them all is "Brown-eyed Handsome Man", probably on account of the accordion. However, the Little Richard impression "Shake a Hand" is too long and not so great. Plus, "All Shook Up" is the only familiar tune here, where you can tell its inferior to the original. Heck, if I were more of a '50s buff, I might have similar attitude towards the rest of the songs. I'd rather leave it be and like this album for what it is.

John Ashfield <> (19.01.2006)

Oh please! This album has interesting production, it's in mono and is highly compressed, but hi fi, almost like a modern 50's sound. Paul sounds energetic and engaged. The band is really rocking, and 2 of the 3 new tunes are great. "Run Devil Run" is a great Chuck Berry style tune lyrically, but the music veers off the berry formula in the refrains, and "what it is" is a great stomping pop tune.

It's a fun album.


Bob Josef <> (14.09.2000)

An interesting experiment. I do tend to agree that the lengthy pieces with the symphony, while listenable, are kind of formless. It's as if he was trying to say, "I better not write any of those pop melodies, 'cause I'm a SERIOUS composer now." When actually, many of the great works have, lets face it, catchy melodies. (otherwise, stuff like Mozart's "The Magic Flute" wouldn't have been so popular -- but I digress..) If Paul had applied his natural gifts to these pieces, who knows what he could have come up with? The only thing that really stands out is a section of "Tuesday" that is rather dark and disturbing -- hardly the happy, trippy "Tuesday Afternoon" of the Moody Blues!

The quartet stuff is better. I actually think that "Warm and Beautiful" and "My Love" do surpass the originals. In this intimate setting (and without the hopelessly corny lyrics), the superslick sentimental sappiness of the former and the overblown , overproduced sentimental sappiness of the latter are stripped away. And "Maybe I'm Amazed" sounds really out of place her. It doesn't sound like a serious classical piece -- it's more like a bunch of git fiddlers are down on the farm for a hoe-down. Not that that's so bad -- it's the only thing fun about the album. Otherwise, the album is just OK background music.

Robert Tally <> (18.01.2001)

I think it's a good thing that McCartney ventured into the world of classical music. Even the Liverpool Oratorio, which has its share of dull stretches and uninspired melodies, works well in spots. And everything McCartney has composed since then has been a lot better. The piano piece 'A Leaf' was pretty listenable most of the way through, and had at least a couple of parts that were quite good. Standing Stone was (for the first three-quarters, anyway) surprisingly primeval and intense, with little by way of melody (it was more like an impressionist piece). With Working Classical, we get a mix of new compositions and several string quartet arrangements of well-known (and some not-so-well-known) Paul McCartney songs. All three orchestral pieces ('Tuesday', 'Spiral' and a new version of 'A Leaf') sound generally good to my ears. I'm not blown away, exactly, and there are a couple of moments that sound questionable, but most of the way through, I can honestly say that I enjoy the music. The two new string quartet pieces are definite highlights for me, but then I like string quartets. 'Haymakers' has a good spirit to it, and 'Midwife' is perhaps the best piece on the album, with a very strong melody and somewhat whimsical nature. Of the familiar material, I think the standouts are 'Warm And Beautiful' and 'Calico Skies', which I like this way, but didn't think much of on the original albums. 'Junk' and 'Golden Earth Girl' both sound good here, too, but they're both songs that I liked in the first place. 'My Love' and 'Somedays' are not exactly helped by the new arrangements, but also are not marred. 'The Lovely Linda', 'She's My Baby' and 'Maybe I'm Amazed' don't sound like string quartet pieces to me - just a little too bouncy for that.  In general, though, I'll give a thumbs up to Paul for opening up a whole new part of his brain (that's creatively - not surgically).

If anyone's curious, there is also a newer piece by McCartney called 'Nova', which appears on a CD called A Garland For Linda. It's a very haunting choral piece stuck in the middle of a bunch of other very haunting choral pieces by other composers. It's one of those CDs that you listen to only when you're really in the mood to feel desperately lonely.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (08.03.2001)

Unfortunately, the only thing I can do here is to agree with you. In fact, that's not Paul's first experiment with classical music as you probably know. WC was preceded by Liverpool Oratorio (1st line in the charts), Thrillington and Standing stone (1-st place, too). WC was on the third line two months after it's release which is a great result, too. From the list above I like only WC and Thrillington, which is tolerable only because it's the classical version of my favourite Ram. Oratorio isn't music at all. And Paul isn't present there! He just wrote the lyrics that look like a bad parody on Floyd's The wall (not that Paul meant them to be a parody but it happened so) and that's all! Err.. going off topic, I suppose.

To tell the truth I expected great orchestra with lots of instruments and etc. But what I got instead? Old fart playing on a single fiddle? Well, in most cases there're two or three instruments and they make every new version sound worse than its original. And I don't quite understand how you could say that 'Old stuff is awesome...'. For me all Paul's experiments are just a waste of time and money. Well, maybe except Thrillington, which is good only for Paul's big fans (not hardcore, though).


David <> (09.01.2002)

Hi, George. First of all I would like to apologise for my English.

I've been expecting your review of Driving Rain since I bought the CD. And, well... What can I say?

Like the first time I wrote you (I don't do it very often because I'm ashamed of my English. I haven't practised for years, and I'm amazed at the mistakes I do) I told you the Beatles were my favourite band. And after all, Paul is a Beatle as everybody knows.

I like the record. It's pretty diverse, it is McCartney's way, sure. But I see no problem since I adore the man (well, I could tell you the same I told you about The Beatles... I'm not a fanatic, but my friends are sick of hearing me praising the man all the time...) And although my favourite McCartney's records are the ones from (the sixties doesn't count, I suppose).. the seventies (his best moment in my opinion after The Fab Four) I like almost everything the man has made. Well, I don't listen very often to Standing Stone, Press to play or Paul is live as much as to the older records (but I like I like Flaming Pie, and Working Classical... I mean, I wouldn't give them a 4 and a 5. Better than you think IMMO).

I have listened to almost all his records (except the Oratorio, Run Devil Run, Thrillington and rarities) and I'm buying again all his CDS since I gave my collection of tapes to my friends (I know someday I will have to buy again McCartney II or Give my Regards... But in the meantime the last I've got is: Driving Rain.

Have you notice the similarity between "All the worlds a tiny bubble Floating inside ..."and "Have you seen the little piggies Crawling in the dirt..."? Eeerr, to be honest, I didn't notice it. I heard it on the radio (I don't usually listen to the radio, but that day was especial, you know... kind of homage ... I'm not a fanatic, but my friends are tired of hearing me praising George Harrison all the time, and much more after the man has passed away...)

I like 'Your way', 'I Do', 'Magic', 'Heather', 'She's given up taking', 'Your loving flame', 'From a lover to a friend'.... I could carry on... I thought it wasn't going to be like the first time I listened to Ram, Red Rose, Band in the run, or Venus and Mars (and it wasn't!)... But, anyway, little by little the record has grown in me, and I think it's very good (I don't like so much 'Spinning on an Axis', or 'Back In The Sunshine Again'). But I like even 'Freedom' (it sounds okay if you forget why it's on the record, although you're right when you say it has nothing to do with the rest.)

I would say and 8, and a 12. But that's me.

Bruno Müller <> (05.05.2002)

I hope this won't become a habit, because if I start reviewing all the albums from artists I like, I guess I wouldn't do anything else in the world. But I also have some things to say about Driving Rain. I never had much hope that Paul would really come back to such a good shape.

Driving Rain is the real comeback I expected, cause most everything he released since 1982 was disappointing or even revolting. And even in its better moments, Paul's most recent works weren't that strong. This one no, it's really impressive. It features lot's of "the most (anything) since (anytime)" expressions.

It's the most powerful and, to me, the best release since Tug of War. It's got the most "rock" feeling (not pop, electronic, or anything else) since Back to the Egg. It's full of guitars rocking really hard. It features his best lyrics since... Tug of War again. And it's he's most disturbing album EVER!!! Paul's songs, 90% of them at least, were always optimistic uplifting songs, while this one is more about hope aguish, sometimes despair, and even the ballads have some kind of dark feeling (guess why!). The instruments themselves sound darker most of the time.

Driving Rain is not only a powerful album, but also an original one, at least in Paul's career. I'm not saying that it's revolutionary, but it certainly is surprising.

In a certain way, it achieves the simplicity he wanted from Flaming Pie. It's almost entirely Guitar-Bass-Drums based music, even when the keyboards sound a little louder. I can finally hear Paul's bass again, and it sounds great again! The guitar is sometimes stunning, like in "Lonely Road" or "Rinse the Raindrops". The album doesn't have much guitar solos, but it's got quite nice riffs and rhythm-guitar.

The concept of the album is unique, darker, like I said, and simpler, not fulfilled with instruments or styles. Well, maybe not everyone will appreciate the album, but its uniqueness to me is so evident that even those who dislike it must admit it.

Of course, conception is nothing without accomplishment. And this album reaches its goals. It sounds great, it's not boring, though not very diverse, and it really rocks! Of course, it has its weaknesses. "Driving Rain", the title song, ironically, is the weakest song, I think. The lyrics are so dumb, it reminds me of "All Together Now", with the difference that the latter was intended to be naive, childish. "Riding into Jaipur"... he'd better leave these experiments to George Harrison. If it hasn't been recorded before George's passing, I'd say it is a (bad-conceived) tribute. It's not a bad song, but it's nothing new. On the other hand, "Lonely Road" has a beautiful, tear-inducing lyrics and it's a great opening song. "She's Given Up Talking" is also a great song. "Heather" - beautiful melody and arrangement. "Magic" - a great ballad. But the peak of the album must be "Rinse the Raindrops". I've already said how great and disturbing are the lyrics of this song, when reviewing Flaming Pie. I've said how great is Paul's singing, here. It's a pure classic and I KNOW it'll be recognized as so in the next ten years. To me, it's he's best song in more than 22 years, which means it's even better than the greatest songs of Tug of War - and here we're talking about his last great album. OK, this last statement is only an opinion, my opinion, and quite a polemic one. But believe me, "Rinse the Raindrops" IS a classic. Nothing more powerful than that was written in the whole nineties or in the beginning of this decade. Powerful and beautiful! The first great song of the 21st century! Guess I'm getting carried away, but I suppose time will prove my point.

But what I like the most is Paul's shutting up his critics - mediocre composer, dumb lyrics, dumb ballads, pop crap: we're not talking about the artist that made this album. It's time to realize that no-one is good all the time. Critics get the worst of Paul's career (he's got a lot of it, I know) and presents us as a whole picture of the artist. What this people have to say now? They might have forgotten or ignored his albums of the seventies, but they can't ignore Driving Rain. A rock'n'roll album, well written and produced. They'll have to break their heads to find some good statements to write-off this one. And they won't find!

Finally, Paul proves us he's still got something to present - and surprise - to the audience. After all, this album should be called Back in the Sunshine Again. It resumes its significance and refers to a much better song...

Dan Hogg <> (31.12.2002)

I sure wouldn't have expected Paul to come out with a new original album, after the passing of his wife Linda. But he did, with Driving Rain. I guess his new wife Heather has become an inspiration, esp. in the OK ballad with her name. This album isn't his best, but at least it has some experimental moments. "Riding Through Jaipur" is a bit pointless attempt to sound like George Harrison. "Rinse the Raindrops" is like nothing else McCartney's ever done, it exceeds 10 minutes and doesn't seem too long. Back to conventional McCartney, his sound is a bit more modern, but it doesn't get in the way of his sound too much ("Tiny Bubble", "Spinning on an Axis"). As far as ballads go, "From a Lover to a Friend" and "I Do" are nice, "Your Loving Flame" isn't. "Lonely Road" is a good rocker, "Your Way" is a nice ditty, and "She's Given up Talking" is another out-of-character move, brooding but great. Unfortunately, a lot of tracks are just there, without much to say ("Magic", ! "About You", and especially "Back in the Sunshine Again"). The title track is probably the worst title track to an album ever. Lame lyrics about going out, the album's "If You Wanna." Were it not for the musically-inept bonus track "Freedom", it would be the album's weakest track. But good for Paul, for rebounding with an album that isn't run-of-the-mill.

Carla Marie Sams <> (18.01.2004)

This is the most experimental album i think hes done.he surrounded himself with some top class musicians, plugged in his bass and there you go.some of the songs are brilliant e,g 'From a lover to a friend', 'I Do', 'About You' and dare i say 'Heather'. 'Magic' is probably one of his worst songs the vocal is bad but i like the ending. 'Lonely Road' is average as is 'Back in the sunshine'. I love 'Your Loving Flame' and 'Your Way'. But most of all i appreciate the sound of this album. i know it charted badly but i hope when hes spent precious time with his daughter hell record again.

Javier Mora H <> (20.11.2005)

driving rain is a great rock album.hey, this for everybody, PAUL wasn't supporting bush with 'freedom', look what paul said about that wrong interpretation:

"Freedom" was written post-9/11. Immediately post-9/11. And I wasn't talking of a military response. I meant it like it's civil rights. I will fight for the right, I meant. I'll argue, I'll shout, I'll complain, I'll vote. I don't mean I'll punch you in the face . but unfortunately that kind of meaning did get a little hijacked. I think President Bush had a lot to do with that. He talks about freedom, but it's not the same kind of freedom I'm talking about.

Actually, it's so unfortunate because it's like . I'm not sure I'm going to do that song on my new tour, but I'd love to because I know what it means. But there is this doubt now as to how it will be taken. Is this just supporting any future military effort in Britain or the U.S.? That, I think, clouds the original meaning. When you sing "we shall overcome," you don't mean "we will overpower."


Bill Slocum <> (31.08.2004)

C'mon George, this is a fine McCartney live album. He paces the show very well, he doesn't give the Beatles songs such prominence that they bury the rest of his recorded output, yet he manages to honor the memories of two fallen Beatles, John and George, with very affecting performances of "Here Today" (for John) and "Something" (for George, of course; if McCartney had tried to sing it in a more polished fashion you might have suggested he was trying to steal the Quiet One's thunder; the Beatles took a lot of cues from England's music hall tradition, and I see Paul's solo with ukelele as a step in that direction.) Unlike you, I didn't have the chance to see this particular Paul tour, but I like the result here better than that from the tour I did see, Tripping The Live Fantastic, as the Beatles performances on Back In The U.S. weren't perfunctory and there was a real appreciation for the whole of the man's catalog.

I like the fact he puts forward three Driving Rain tunes in a row, great songs from a great album. He puts forward a lot of different elements from his songwriting catalog, yet there's no dampening of the total presentation. Also, I love the fact he puts forward some terrific solo numbers that weren't hits and have some age on them, like "Let Me Roll It" and "C Moon." Never before was Paul as eclectic in his song choices, and it really gives his live set a character it didn't have before.

Two things seem to dampen your enthusaism for this fine, often superb, highly original disc. One is that McCartney moves the writing credits around on the songs he "co-wrote" with Lennon. I'm with you there; it's petty and pointless. We all know what Paul did, and what he didn't do. But attitudes like yours, that it wasn't Paul's right to do such a thing because it tramples on John's grave or whatever, is hyperbole. [Maybe I'm guilty of hyperbole, but it's not like Paul didn't do this before, and got fried for it, on Give My Regards To Broad Street.] It's lame of Paul to play with the credits, but it's not enough to slag the guy's entire record for.

The other thing is you hate "Freedom." You made the point already, in your Driving Rain review, only now instead of a question of taste you accuse Paul of "jingoism," as if he's Donald Rumsfeld on bass guitar. I voted for Bush in 2000 and will again in 2004 if I get the chance, but I never would make the mistake of thinking Paul as being copecetic with my politics, nor would anyone else who knows his music (and I'm sorry you don't seem to get that, George, which I will assume is more in the interests of you making a fashionable anti-Bush point than bashing the Cute One's philosophical leanings, which if anything are anti-military to the point of soft-headedness.)

Frankly, I think it's a shame that the only way Back In The U.S. can be redeemed in your eyes is if John Kerry gets elected president, though it's nice to think there might be some actual benefit from what would otherwise be unmitigated disaster.

[Special author note: WHOAH! Politics and music truly shouldn't mix, because political anger is the only possible reason I can come up with to explain such a striking inadequacy of this particular reader comment. Well, I might as well retort:

a) Everything just spoken in favour of this live album applies to any other given McCartney live album. I reiterate: I'm taking the record in context, judging it through the eyes of somebody who has already experienced Wings Over America, Tripping (short version), Tripping (long version), Unplugged, and Paul Is Live, as well as been to an actual McCartney concert and watched several live videos of the man. Paul's shows are regularly well paced; Beatle songs are always cleverly interspersed with solo material; 'Let Me Roll It' can be found on Paul Is Live; there's zilch that makes the album any more eclectic than Tripping; and calling this disc 'highly original' is a mortal insult to the very notion of 'originality'. Finally, even if the album does contain a couple dubious advantages over its immediate competition, I'm simply not interested. I'm interested in Paul as a composer; I'm interested in actually seeing Paul in concert, at least once; but I'm NOT interested in Paul's mass production of live albums, since the live versions never add anything to the studio perfection. When was the last time I actually put on a McCartney live album not for the sakes of reviewing it? Maybe Wings Over America a couple times. That's all.

b) I have not penalized the record at all for the silly credit reversal thing. It's got quite enough going against it as is. It's just a lame thing that has nothing to do with the music.

c) I'm far from calling Paul McCartney a "Bushist" or a "Donald Rumsfeld on bass guitar", believe you me. Yes, Paul McCartney is not a politician, nor is he somebody who understands politics well or is even mildly interested in it. Which is exactly why every political statement he's ever made, in his music or simply under the camera's eye, has been at best lightweight and at worst stupid. I've never been a fan of his "socially active" phase that started around the time of Flowers In The Dirt, and 'Freedom' is simply a logical - and ugly - culmination of everything I dislike about it. Truly, it has nothing to do with John Kerry (where did I even mention John Kerry? or Bush, for that matter?), and if you thought the main aim of my Back In The U.S. review was conducting anti-Bush propaganda, well, putting it mildly, you were mistaken.

Sorry if I hit a bad nerve here.]


Acarreta, Carlos <> (24.11.2005)

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is McCartney's most consistent album in ages, and also his best since at least 1989's Flowers in the Dirt. It is certainly full of the best melodies and catchiest hooks Macca has managed to come up with for a long time.

I have to explain first of all that if you are expecting a full rock-on Macca album you will be strongly disappointed: this album is not as rocky as Driving Rain or Flaming Pie. It is instead a slow, very mellow and dark album, mainly piano-led, with only two rock songs in it. Me, I don't particularly care how slow or fast the album is as long as it's good, and this album is a gem.

On first listen you may think this is the least McCartney-sounding of all his albums but, while that may be true, after you listen to it a couple more times you find that the melodies are vintage McCartney, only that this time the sound behind is more sparse, and also darker, more atmospheric, with unusual sonic textures (the work of producer Nigel Goldrich, of Radiohead, Travis and Beck fame) lurking behind Macca's melodies. Helped by the sparse arrangements, McCartney sounds very close, like he's right there in your sitting room. The album has an intimate, close, reflective feeling throughout.

I don't usually like to review song by song, but the songs in this album are so strong that I feel compelled to do so:

A Fine Line: The first single and opening song of the album, and one of only two rockers in the whole album. Very strong and catchy melody. Great piano. It sounds bouncy and playful, and Macca sounds youthful all over again.

How Kind of You: You may be puzzled by this song after the first listen, I know I was. It sounds strange, weird, like it's going nowhere. However, after the second listen it begins to unveil its strong melody and the dark atmosphere surrounding it.

Jenny Wren: A masterpiece to rank among Macca's finest songs. Just McCartney with acoustic guitar and a "duduk" (an instrument which sounds halfway between a strange flute and a trumpet). Hauntingly beautiful, GORGEOUS. Macca at the top of his game, at what he does best. The best song in the album. There is certainly a bit of "Blackbird" about it, only it is even more haunting. It's so good it sounds like an outtake from "Rubber Soul" or "Revolver". It's one of those songs that, after you have listened to it for the first time, you feel like you have always known it.

At The Mercy: Another beautiful piano-led melody. The melody in the verses is irresistible. You will have it in your head before you even notice.

Friends to Go: Acoustic, simple and sweet, this is indeed McCartney "doing a George Harrison" as Macca himself has explained. It sounds just like an outtake from "Brainwashed" or "Cloud Nine", you can almost hear George singing this one. Like Macca covering a Harrison tune. Very catchy indeed. One of many highlights in the album.

English Tea: Macca doing what Lennon described as "grannies' music". Me, I have always liked Macca's "grannies music". It's a string-laden 2-minute song which sounds Elizabethan, so quirky and charmingly old-fashioned, so English. Again, one of those playful melodies which sounds so simple you feel you have known it all your life. Strong homely feel about it. You can almost picture yourself in an old English house having tea, smelling cakes and staring into the garden: "miles and miles of English garden / Stretching past the willow tree".

Too Much Rain: One of the best songs and melodies in the whole album. Sounds dark and melancholic, sad, the lyrics expressing the feelings of anybody who feels they have had too much sadness in their lives. Another highlight

A Certain Softness: One of my favourites in the album, I can't get the melody out of my head. This one has a strong Latino and jazzy feel about it (the percussion). Sounds like McCartney doing a Latin-American "bolero".

Riding to Vanity Fair: Absolutely beautiful, dark (the darkest song in the whole album), eerie, with that glockenspiel creating a menacing atmosphere well-suited to the lyrics, which are basically about being let down by a friend. Top stuff.

Follow Me: A great melody again, vintage McCartney, one of those melodies Macca can come up with in his sleep (I know I keep talking about melodies but it's only because this album is absolutely packed with them, and they are very strong). Very catchy again.

Promise to You Girl: This song is one of my favourites, together with Jenny Wren, Too Much Rain and Vanity Fair. Brilliant, this is Macca at what he does best again. It's the other rock song in the album apart from "Fine Line", but it moves beautifully between different sections, as if it was almost an Abbey Road outtake: first Macca singing those great initial verses, "Looking through the backyard of my life / Time to sweep the fallen leaves away", accompanied by slow piano chords (this is probably my favourite moment in the whole album); you would be forgiven for thinking then that what follows would be a slow dramatic song full of melancholy and sadness about ageing and the like, but straight after those first two verses comes some Because-like harmony singing, followed by fast piano chords introducing the rocky chorus which moves somewhere between "Lady Madonna" & "One After 909" this is followed then by a rocky guitar solo, more of the fast chorus and then another, this time slower, guitar solo. And to end up the song, Macca reprises those first two verses but this time with a fast-piano line. Absolutely fantastic.

This Never Happened Before: A song with a waltzy, very old-fashioned feel. Macca at his most romantic. This song has one of the strongest melodies in the album, and it sounds like it comes straight from the 1930s or 1940s, old-fashioned in a charming way. Lovely.

Anyway: A piano-led ballad to close the album. It's in the mould of "Maybe I'm Amazed" or "The Long and Winding Road", but in a more understated way. It's beautiful, and the perfect closer.

This is followed after a few seconds by an instrumental track which goes through 3 different sections: first some guitar soloing, then a nice piano melody and finally moves into Radiohead-ish psychedelic territory.

So this is a brilliant album, dark (I don't think McCartney has ever done anything as dark as "Vanity Fair" or "Too Much Rain"), slow, mellow and atmospheric, packed with strong songs full of irresistible melodies and catchy hooks. An album to treasure, with McCartney at his very best.

Joe <> (24.11.2005)

I'm glad you liked this album enough to give it a 12. It sure is easy to just pass this album off as "boring" or "ponderous", since i suppose if you're not in the right mood it could seem like that at times. However, i'm glad you were able to see pass that and judge the album on this particular mood that you don't hear from Paul very often. Needless to say, Nigel was an excellent choice of a producer for this album, and the production and arrangements are top notch. Paul obviously is not just shooting for another hit, he's genuinely putting together an album from the heart, an album that he wants to make.

There's nothing more i can say that you haven't, but i personally think this is the best album from Mccartney in a while. Since Off The Ground at the very least. The fact that he picked Nigel Godrich and came forth with an album like THIS is quite stunning to me. Yes, it doesn't sound like Radiohead meets Paul Mccartney, which is what i'd dream of it sounding like, but in a way, it's better that Paul stuck with his own way of creating an album instead of copping the Radiohead sound just because Nigel is working with him.

Even though it's the type of album i won't listen to as much as his classic material, it's still a type of album that i am really glad Paul made and will continue to respect and cherish it for what it is. Sure, there could've been a bit more diversity, but not all albums need diversity, and this has a great sound going for it all the way through. It's just a shame that supposedly it didn't do as well as expected on the charts, especially since i'd not want Paul to get despirate and try to do something stupid to try to get more attention, as i'm sure 98% of great albums these days don't exactly get top-10-on-the-billboard-chart treatment.

Marco La Manno <> (24.11.2005)

I love your review on Chaos and Creation, because something in my head was thinking that you were going to give it an average kinda score like Bigger Bang. I'm so glad you think 'English Tea' is part of the Top 3; that's my favorite song off of the whole album! The beautiful descending chords are to die for, and it sounds a lot like 'For No One', with the two verses, a chorus, a verse, a quick wind instrumental, and a verse. 'For No One' ends with the chorus, though, but overall, it sounds a bit similar in that respect. The main difference is that 'English Tea' is not in such a depressing minor key, and it has some beautiful imagery in the words. Not that the rest of the album doesn't deliver. My favorites are 'Fine Line', 'Jenny Wren', 'English Tea', 'Riding to Vanity Fair', and 'Anyway'. I wasn't surprised that you didn't like 'Jenny Wren', but I don't see what you have with his guitar songs. You had also thought 'Calico Skies' was bad, when I think it's a very beautiful song, but that's a different story. Glad you liked the album as a whole though!

Alexander Demetriou <> (24.11.2005)

Thanks for the review, many of us have been impatiently waiting for it! Change "minor triumph" to "major triumph" and turn "Jenny Wren" into red (instead of its current blue) and I'll agree with you... More seriously, IMHO, this album is splendid from A to Z and if really (really, really) I had to deprive it of a song, it would be "Friends to go" or "English Tea", NOT "Jenny Wren". Of course, it is somewhat similar to some classics, but it's just too beautiful to be ignored. You know the way people say Magical Mystery Tour is no good because it sounds too much like that other 1967 chef-d'oeuvre, well it's sort of the same thing here. I know that I wouldn't say goodnight tonight to Jenny just because I was with a black bird yesterday.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (15.12.2005)

Loved this album. I haven’t heard much by Paul yet, but this is at least as strong as Venus and Mars, a record he made 30 (!) years ago. Okay, so the diversity approaches zero, but the consistency is amusing. But speaking about McCartney, we HAVE to discuss melodies. And these are the melodies that make me picture someone like, say, Chris Martin, nervously biting his nails. Well, maybe that doesn’t say much, but the melodies here are really strong.

I have big problems with defining the best track. Any of the first 7 could well be. I’m very much impressed by the effective “Fine Line” (“Remember” Lennon?), very much charmed by the coziness of “English Tea”… If you put a trigger against my forehead I would probably call the best track either “Friends To Go” or “Too Much Rain”. No “why”, no “because”. As for “Jenny Wren”, I really like that one. I would not say “ripped off from”, but rather composed “in the vein of”. Makes me feel much better. Starting with track 8, I begin to have certain (minor) problems. “A Certain Softness” is the kind of song I can’t call bad, but it’s the kind of song I fear McCartney doing. Well, yes, it’s catchy and all, but, please, “no sugar tonight for coffee”. “Vanity Fair” is nice, but seems a bit monotonous. The rest are fine (except “This Never Happened Before”, which is the album’s weakest spot), including the hidden track (the piano is especially noteworthy).

The absolutely best moment on the record is probably that guitar line in “How Kind Of You”. Pretty too good for 2005, I’d say.

So, an excellent album overall. Excellent cover, excellent songs. Agreed with the rating.

Also, I hate what you said about Ray Davies. So, okay, it would be foolish to deny the fact that he recycled his melodies rather often. But you shouldn’t have said that in such an offensive manner. You sounded as if you meant you actually liked Paul McCartney better. No, no, I’m serious.

<> (20.12.2005)

Hi, George. It's good to see you have come back again. Before saying anything about Macca's last album, I would like to say I was a bit surprised when reading your new intro in the Fab Four page. I mean, I understand your "oversaturation". I don't listen to them as usual as I used to, either... but I know I will never get tired of them the same way I will never get tired of my wife and sons (perhaps because they are great beyond any measure and this matters so much to me?), so every now and then... Beatlemusic is welcome in my ears.

Okay, now Chaos&Creation. "Jenny Wren" is not as bad as you said. In the DVD special edition Paul says it's a Blackbird's son, so the reference it's obvious even to him. But I don't mind the reciclation, it's so difficult making a new Blackbird, having a Jenny Wren is not bad... I like "Too much rain" and was surprised when he said it was inspired by Chaplin' s Smile (Beatles and Chaplin, my favourite artists from the XX and XXI centuries). "English Tea" is so charming brittish, me (being so anti-nationalist after learnt by heart Imagine's first lines) I'm ready to ask for the English citizenship.

He also says in the DVD edition, he thinks of George when singing "Friends to go" (the way he performed). Don't mind who was thinking of, when singing (joking, it's good knowing it)... it's a good song, like the rest of them. I' m listening "Follow me" rigth now (a tipical McCartney ballad) and although the melody and the way he sings it's so familiar I don't see any problem with that. A very good album. Finally, I'm amazed at the rating you gave him in Run Devil Run... I was afraid having reading with your review about what I'd found, and come on! 'It's no so bad as you say! A high 6 and a 10 IMHO.

Rajesh Srinivasan <> (27.02.2006)

Honestly, when I first listened to this album I was tremendously disappointed. The songs seemed worn and aged, and the album was difficult to sit through at first. After a while the songs grew on me a little (especially after I attended the McCartney concert in Las Vegas) but still I was not satisfied; therefore, I avoided it for months until I finally got over myself yesterday and took another listen. And finally it clicked; every track was enjoyable (even 'At the Mercy' and 'A Certain Softness', two tracks I usually can't stand). You nailed it perfectly: it's as if Paul is telling us stories of his past, just looking back on his life. Every song is absolutely touching (even 'Jenny Wren', although like you said, it's okay for Ray Davies to reuse melodies but Macca is above that) and the atmosphere that's created is wonderful. Paul's voice is older, but as good as ever, and it is just overflowing with thick emotion. You would never guess he was 63. I solid 8, no doubt.

James Alexander <> (06.03.2006)

I have not written before, partly because I am not much of an adder-to-lists. But I think your pages on music are quite possibly the most sustained and engaging I've ever read on the subject. I agree with the prejudice that music is pretty worthless since the sixties and seventies, except for the fragments which come from the originals. My purpose in writing was to suggest, just having heard Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, that you'll eventually come to give it a ten. I'm convinced it's better than Band on the Run, which everyone always says is McCartney's best: but is actually fairly patchy and a bit dogged by wingishness. I have my own rather petty theory about Wings: which is that McCartney's instinct was always to be a King rather than a Hero. Lennon was a Hero, if not quite a working-class one. But McCartney was a King: he wanted courtiers. And his various bands were composed of courtiers. All the Wings records, and even the later Flowers in the Dirt and Off the Ground are spoilt by both rather shabby playing (in the case of the earlier records) and too professional playing (in the case of the later ones). McCartney's early masterpiece is Ram, as you say, because it is McCartney: part of the fascination with his genius, is hearing that intensive quality which even his throwaway nonsense has: those effortless confections and doodles which are an intrinsic part of his genius. The glory of Chaos and Creation is that it is both McCartney, intensively playing over and against himself, and yet it is also, as you say, fully finished. It is not just a minor triumph: it is a masterpiece. It has a conviction which most of his other records lack: exactly because it does not venture into courtliness. McCartney is fascinating: in the Beatles his interaction with the other genius in Lennon, and in those minor geniuses of Harrison and Starr (I agree with Lennon on them: that all four had some musical sense which transcended their limitations on their instruments). But his interactions with Laine, Wonder, Jackson, Gilmour, Townshend etc are just epic, or curious, or extensive: one thinks, 'Look who McCartney is playing with now'. But there is no creative tension: the tragedy of the end of the Beatles was that each of the four of them lost any tension. Lennon dramatised himself in terms of Yoko Ono, but even that was really just the unleashing of his angry egotism which felt outraged at occasionally finding itself paying music court to McCartney. Both Lennon and McCartney, after the break, were better on their own, unadorned. Lennon's interview with Rolling Stone in 1970 is a sublime reflection on the problem: what we know about McCartney is that he would never be capable of such frankness. You are right to say McCartney has lacked any suffering which has affected his music, until perhaps recently. His music doesn't age, like most modern music, actually. But not much does (one exception is Roy Harper's Green Man, which is a successful musical capturing of aged reflections). And so McCartney is, in a way, writing, it seems, like a thirty or forty year old. I tried the guitar once, and still play, but am rather glad I never succeeded with it, because of that arrested development evident in even the greatest music of this modern era. No one gets beyond it, or not far; even the supposedly mature people like Dylan and Joni Mitchell collapse at some point: it seems that this music demands a certain sort of youthful orientation which is hard to sustain with age. Every modern musician has a crisis like this: and the eighties was really just the massed crisis of what the old sixties and seventies people were going to do next. They were better writers than the younger people but collapsed into that gated reverb flat era of eighties badness. I am not sure Gabriel's Intruder was such a great development; and disagree with your views of later Kate Bush versus earlier: her early freshness, and youth, and girlish strangeness (that fascination with youth: she is the embodiment of late adolescent strangeness, and it could not last), shade off into an almost unpleasant hysteria sometimes in the later records, dressed up in an unfortunate, almost guitarless, bad drumming noisiness. Its subjective, of course. I do like what you have written for its subjectivity, although I see there's a bit of tension between that and your objective attempt to do justice to Yes, Dylan etc. But it is coherent, and requires salutation, not least because you do it so well and eruditely (do any of your readers know anything about Hegel?), despite that odd argot which I've learnt mostly from you: that cool-rocks-shredding type argot, which actually suits the subject matter. I'd like to think you could somehow publish what you have written: it leaves behind the rather pale sites which were there before yours. I came to your site, by the way, a few years ago, when I was looking for information on Family: a band so obscure only you had written about them. If you like, you can chop out what I've written above, and add it to the Chaos and Creation page. But my main purpose is to say that I've admired your stuff for a long time.


Robert Tally <> (11.01.2001)

There's one thing about McCartney hits - they make for compilation albums that are fair at best (even when they're 'all the best'). This one's no exception; about half the songs are really good and the other half are those annoying ones that make you switch to another radio station (well, okay - that's what I do, anyway).

Now, for anybody out there who is trying to complete their Macca discography, there are three important things to remember: (1) the remastered CDs in the series called 'The Paul McCartney Collection' offer more bonus tracks then the original CDs; (2) even if you collect the remastered CDs, there are still three tracks that can only be found on compilation CDs; and (3) even if you buy the compilation CDs, there's still about a busload of other tracks available only on CD singles, or worst, no longer officially available. If you buy Wings' Greatest, you'll be able to add 'Live And Let Die' (a very impressive piece of spy music) and 'Junior's Farm' (also a very decent tune - and a rocker to boot) to your collection. These two tracks are also readily available on the US version of All The Best (the UK version doesn't have 'Junior's Farm') and the Japanese compilation Greatest. The important thing to remember here is that, of these compilations, only the US version of All The Best has 'Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)' (the UK CD has the studio version).  If you bought the original CDs, then the task is more daunting, and you'll need to get more than one compilation (or rebuy some of your McCartney CDs, which completists would have to do anyway).

Bob Josef <> (19.05.2002)

This singles compilation amply demonstrates why Paul could be great, and why he could be maddening. For me, nothing saves "My Love," the dopey "Let 'Em In" and "Silly Love Songs" (get new lyrics and a new arrangement around that bass line, and you might have something, though). But a lot of people would say the same about "Uncle Albert" (which is bizarre and silly, but clever and fun and complex) or "With a Little Luck" (pretty cool melody and nice warm synth parts, actually), which is why this stuff could never be totally dismissed, even by his detractors. Still, this is definitely worth the money for "Junior's Farm," "Mull of Kintyre," "Hi, Hi, Hi" and the "Another Day," which are all singles that were well Beatle-worthy, as well as the Band on the Run tracks. Just use the CD programming to pretend Red Rose Speedway and At the Speed of Sound never existed.


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