Album in Depth: Ex-Beatle Debut Month: McCartney by Paul McCartney

Hi, I’m JotaKa. I’m a rocker by birth and grew listening to rock discs and long plays by the dozen. Let’s get this on with, this is Ex-Beatle Debut Month!

#1 – Sentimental Journey by Ringo Starr

#2 – McCartney by Paul McCartney

#3 – All Things Must Pass by George Harrison

#4 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon

Second edition: let’s take a look at McCartney’s one. McCartney. Yeah, McCartney. What? Oh… so, a little background is required.

Paul McCartney was the Beatles bassist and, as most songs were composed by him with Lennon, you can say that the majority of the Beatles songs had at least a bit of his finger in it, may it be compositional or in an idea. To name the songs that made him famous in the Beatles would take a paragraph, so I’ll just pick my favorites: I Will, For No One, You Never Give Me Your Money… Sir McCartney had indeed done so much since he started the Beatles with Lennon back in 1960. And well, let me be just straight forward about this… he is my less favorite Beatle. I’m of the few people in the world that blame him for the disunion over Ono (although I know that she had a big part over it too) and think that it was because he tried to keep Beatles under his stride for so long that it became unbearable. You can see by his work after that he was the one Beatle that almost did not change with their debut solo album, showing that he was somewhat of a false leader, as they had their ideas as well. He’s even trying to take fame for songs that aren’t his by a long stretch: In the Back in the US tour, he said that he helped writing “Something”. My ass he did. He says that now because the guy who wrote it probably alone can’t defend himself. And when the Beatles broke up, he didn’t even want to wait for Starr’s album or the last Beatles album, Let It Be, to be released. He was probably trying to cash in on the Beatles fame while he still could (and I know that the other Beatles had released solo works before the break up, but they, mostly Harrison, weren’t able to make what they wanted because of McCartney). Sorry for that little rant, back to normal.

After the Beatles disunion, he released 14 solo albums, 1 with his then wife Linda McCartney, 7 albums with the Wings, 3 with The Fireman, some electronic and classical albums, toured a hell lot of times on his own, with bands and people, and is known as a vegetarian and an animal rights fighter. I won’t go into details of how I’m not exactly in favor of that kind of thought, just let’s say that most people I know that are vegetarians are just some guys that found a way into a niche of society and use that as a way to be superior to the mass, looking with certain disdain as people say “I eat meat and I’m happy about it”, as, well, I do.

I don’t get the cover. I have no idea of what it is: I guess it’s a spilled bowl of cherries, but… it’s so strange. It looks as if it’s a bowl of tomato soup with balls of red all over the thin white table. I’ve found that it may be a reference to how the Beatles had become a spilled bowl of cherries but… I don’t get it. I just don’t know. The album plays it all with only 32:05… really? Even less that the Starr one… why? Well, whatever… longest song: the outro track Kreen-Akrore with 4:15 and the shortest track is the intro (convenient), The Lovely Linda, with only 0:45.

The album got double platinum and stayed in #1 in the US for three weeks, and didn’t get the first in the UK because of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. As we got through it all, let’s get into the meat of the subject: McCartney by… well… by McCartney.

1st track: “The Lovely Linda” – The album starts… boringly. I don’t know who thought this out, but I would bet that this was Linda’s idea. Yeah, for those that don’t know, Paul’s first wife was named Linda, and this song is for her. I know it’s difficult to see because it’s subtle, but it is a kiss ass song to his wife. Wow. You know how I said last blog that Starr made a lame rock ‘n roll move that worked making homage to his parents? Well, McCartney did a lame rock ‘n roll move that didn’t work whatsoever. To boot, the music is boring and completely unimaginative, as it sounds like a bad mix between “Lovely Rita” and “Her Majesty”. So far, not impressed.

2nd track: “That Would Be Something” – With a more bluegrass tone to it, the song comes in… boring. Oh my god, not even McCartney in the Beatles was this unimpressive. Is like he showcased us with examples of what he has done better on the Beatles. This song is basically a more animated Sun King. A repetitive Sun King, singing by someone who, I swear to god, is McCartney trying a Presley impression. And… it is a good impression, but I would prefer… you know, originality. The blandness of this album so far is astonishing. And this was one of the songs that George Harrison said was great, while the rest was flat. I hope to see the rest of it.

3nd track: “Valentine Day” – With almost no chance whatsoever from the previous song, this is an instrumental track that completely falls back on its back. I guess he wasn’t the most suited of the four boys from Liverpool to write a successful instrumental, but so far, I’m agreeing with Lennon in the lack of quality that this album has. I mean… so far, this album has really been piss poor boring for a Beatle album.

4th track: “Every Night” – Finally, a good song. It’s not great, but it’s good, at least. The song has a redneck feel to it, but is a pretty good ballad. I wouldn’t put it up as a great ballad, but it’s a good, quiet and, why not, filled with love and tenderness. It’s a good song to serenade someone with or to wake up your loved one, and that’s not something I’d say without thinking hard about it. This song is the first song on the album that I would recommend to someone, even if just for special occasions: I don’t think it should be on someone’s iPod.

5th track: “Hot as Sun/Glasses” – Another instrumental: and a tame one at that. The only time where I think an artist can really shake off every boundary set by himself in his work is in instrumentals, and McCartney, at least in this album, isn’t doing anything when that time comes. Hot as Sun sounds like a beach song done wrong, with some very lazy keyboarding when it could’ve more inspiring. It’s up spirited at least: it could’ve been creepy without a reason… like the second part. The second part just gives you goose bumps… without any reason for that. So, even if you enjoy the first part of it because “at least it is cutesy”, you will fucking hate the second part. If you are like me, and actually somewhat think the second part has some quality in it, if further explored, the first part will make this song a pain in the ass to listen through.

6th track: “Junk” – So… when you openly admit what the albums going to be, is it any fun to joke around? Just kidding… as a short song, this song is another love song. I guess that is his forte, and he was in love (admittedly, anyway), so you couldn’t really blame it. As a two minute song, yeah, it kind of works, but… it fits with the mediocre works of his past. I guess it goes wrong when you think of it as an Ex-Beatle… if he was just Paul Ramone, I guess this album would be better in my point of view… it’s just that for a Beatle, it is a huge letdown.

7th track: “Man He Was Lonely” – Promising start to a sort of Queen’s ’39 song… and believe me that is good. I guess this song isn’t better than Every Night, but it has some style to it: it tries to catch the oldies feel of the fifties and the redneck spirit, with some cool lyrics. Add that with a somewhat tame guitar solo and you have something to keep it going. However, the lack of evolution breaks this song, as it is has the spirit of “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”, but without its humor, leaving not so much left. In the end, the only thing that this song has to show is a country feeling guitar and some good back vocals.

8th track: “Oo You” – I would consider this to be a rock blues, but a real tame one at that. It has some strong points: the singing, for the first time, is really good, even for McCartney standards, and the guitar is inspired while rocking of. The lyrics are strange but makes you want to know what is behind them. It is definitely a fun song, but it falls short when compared to other blues, of course that doesn’t mean it is a bad blues, just a subpar blues with good guitar and vocals.

9th track: “Momma Miss America” – Creepy instrumental that reminds me of Gnarls Barkley on his more discrete songs… it also reminds me of Flying, disputably the worst Beatle song in my opinion, but this time, it really sounds better. This song is one of the good instrumentals in the album, with its deep piano, drums and, for the first time, a really well played bass (and it’s fucking Paul McCartney). The song has a second part where the song goes a little more rock and roll, with the adding of a guitar with some fx over it, but not so much of an evolution, more of a “meh, change”. The song is good, but it lacks a fire, a direction… it lacks the Beatle Factor.

10th track: “Teddy Boy” – Simple song with simple lyrics and simple instrumentation. This song was already in progress in the Let it Be sessions, and it was denied, in my opinion for obvious reasons. Teddy Boy was a British subculture (like hippies) that people wore Edwardian style clothing, but of course, this song doesn’t have anything to do with that, as it about a boy that behaved and obeyed his mother, till the day she found another man, and he ran away, but then he came back. Seriously, this song isn’t good in any level: average at minimum. I guess this song is just pretty bare boned and would take a lot of other people’s work to make it at least good.

11th track: “Singalong Junk” – Whoa… this song is Junk. I mean literally, this song is just the song Junk without the lyrics with the addition of a piano playing the melody and more interesting drums… and… it works. It so damn works… this is definitely the best instrumental out of the album and is miles better than Junk, as it falls much deeper than the “original”. It could be easily a soundtrack song: a great one at that. I mean, really: listen to this song over Junk. It is great.

12th track: “Maybe I’m Amazed” – I won’t economize words on this one. So far, this album has been bad to average, with only the previous track being great enough to be really suggested from me to listen. This song, Maybe I’m Amazed, could be what motivates you to buy the entire album. It may be my favorite songs McCartney wrote in his life: with the piano suggesting a simple song, McCartney’s singing this time comes as really inspired and… him. It’s like this is the first time on the album he reminded himself: “I don’t need to pretend I’m someone else. I can do my normal shtick and people will still love me”, because this song is a typical McCartney love song done miles better. The lyrics are simple, but so is Elton John’s “Your Song”, so it goes great with the song. The guitar solo was made to not turn people that don’t like guitar solos off of the song and there is some back chanting that should be brought to generations in the future. If you are going to here only one song of this album, do yourself a service and pick this one.

13th track: “Kreen-Akrore” – Just a minor curiosity, Kreen-Akrore is one of the various names given to one of the various indigenous tribes that lived here in Brazil before the coming of the Portuguese. The song is made mainly as a indigenous song, almost all made with more traditional drums, making it sometimes sound jazzy and sometimes sound boring, with some lazy vocals that try to remind you of “Indians” but fails immensely to do so. This song reminds me of Revolution 9, the song that McCartney spent years complaining about. I guess it’s only allowed to be strange and chaotic when you are. The last minute or so are pretty cool to hear, as he uses more traditional rock and roll and some guitars, but it isn’t worthy enough to hear the entire track, even less the entire album.

So, all does it all ends up? Well… this album sucks really hard. It has lack of creativity and suffers from a lack of quality in it all. It has two great tracks, one of them is complete and utter awesomeness, but it doesn’t hold up the entire album. However, these two songs should be listened to: “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Singalong Junk”. The rest is, well… only junk.

This is JotaKa, signing off.

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3 Responses to Album in Depth: Ex-Beatle Debut Month: McCartney by Paul McCartney

  1. Pingback: Beatle albums | See0800

  2. Pingback: Album in Depth: Ex-Beatle Debut Month: All Things Must Pass by George Harrison | Jotaka's Studio

  3. Pingback: Album in Depth: Ex-Beatle Debut Month: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon | Jotaka's Studio

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