This Is The Thread Where We Praise And Canonize Paul McCartney's "Ram"

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I've never heard the thing, but I really need to hear some effusive praise for Ram so that I can hear it, get really pissed off about how much it sucks and then buy Kill Your Idols and feel that somebody understands.

Bring on the Ram love.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

it's really really bad.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:24 (seventeen years ago) link

I loved Ram. When I was 14.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:26 (seventeen years ago) link

you people should start a Ram hate thread. This is the Ram love thread.

HERE WE GO!

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:30 (seventeen years ago) link

way before i clicked
i knew this was anthony.
i bet we all did.

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:39 (seventeen years ago) link

The goodness of McCartney's solo work is directly proportional to how much pot he was smoking at the time he put the record together. Ergo, the two that he did by himself at his house ("McCartney" and "McCartney II") and the two that he did when he wasn't concerned with a band identity ("Ram" and "Red Rose Speedway") are the best. The next candidate would be "Wildlife", wherein he was only marginally concerned with being in a band.

Go ahead and buy "Ram". It can't be that expensive, and you'll probably like it. It has the most extensive Beach Boys homage of his solo work, and some good examples of that sort of linear song structure at which he excels (where it's just a progression of bits rather than verse-chorus-verse). Yes, there's some goofy and even embarassing bits on it, but anyone buying a Macca record knows to expect that. It's a totally unpretentious and, at times, charming album.

Nice haiku, Begs2Differ!

Nom De Plume (Nom De Plume), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:41 (seventeen years ago) link

Hmm. The Amg review doesn't exactly back up the five star rating does it?

de, Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:42 (seventeen years ago) link

That review is actually in the AMG book I have, but I KNOW the album didn't get a five-star rating then. At best it was four, and I wanna say three. They've changed star ratings a lot (Weezer's first two albums were just four stars in the book, now they get fives!)

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:44 (seventeen years ago) link

A numerical star rating from a website that employs a hundred or so reviewers can't mean that much as barometer of quality. My five-star rankings wouldn't be expected to correspond to those of a reviewer that had very diiferent tastes yet worked for the same entity (and vice versa).

Nom De Plume (Nom De Plume), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:47 (seventeen years ago) link

ok actually it looks like it original had a three star review by William Ruhlmann and that Mr. Erlewine replaced it with his five star "rave."

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:49 (seventeen years ago) link

i like any beatles solo stuff where they just say fuckit i'm rich on drugs/drunk i'm making this album in my bathroom and i don't care how it sounds. Ram has moments like that.

scott seward (scott seward), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:51 (seventeen years ago) link

More critical love for Ram:

"Fluff, sure, but darn catchy fluff!" - Roger Catlin, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

"Brimming with melodies and intriguing ideas!" - William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

"Most of the songs are so lightweight they float away even as Paulie layers them down with caprices!" - Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

"There are some nice moments...It's like watching someone juggle five guitars!" - Playboy, 9-71.

"wailing sentimentality!" - Billboard, 1971.

"I don't see how someone can play it and take in all that stuff and say 'I don't like it!" - Paul McCartney

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:53 (seventeen years ago) link

it's really really bad.

?!

Jody say it ain't so! It's a decent record. I don't LOVE it or anything, but it's ok. I got a vinyl copy for free. "Too Many People" is a great song.

Broheems (diamond), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:55 (seventeen years ago) link

if not the worst album i've ever owned, certainly the most ANNOYING album i've ever owned. if i recall, what bugged me most was mccartney's inability to keep from doing that annoying needless backup scatting - "do do do do do do do do!" etc - in every single fucking song!

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 10 April 2004 21:03 (seventeen years ago) link

It is the sound of someone who simply doesn't care what others will think of his corniness and mediocrity. Strange production and song twists, a bit like Sly Stone in that way--just not nearly as good. But for its weirdness quite enjoyable to me, only heard it recently, probably doesn't wear too well.

no opinion, Saturday, 10 April 2004 21:29 (seventeen years ago) link

'Eat at Home' is almost cool but it's a minute too long.

'Heart of the Country' is a nice jazzy thing that if it had been on the White Album and had some input from the other beatles would have been 10x better.

Paul's 'wigging out' moments like around 3'20 of 'Too Many People' are fucking deadly.

de, Saturday, 10 April 2004 21:41 (seventeen years ago) link

I like the self-titled debut better. The underdeveloped nature of Macca's songs on that suits the snappy disposability and homemade charm he's trying to evoke more effectively.

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Saturday, 10 April 2004 22:14 (seventeen years ago) link

Agreed. To use the dreaded dreaded word, it sounds more authentic.
The lo-fi, even rootsy feel is much sweeter. The overproduced glampop/rock on Ram mostly sucks. Sorry Anthony.

de, Saturday, 10 April 2004 22:24 (seventeen years ago) link

I've never heard this album because I figure that if I ever found myself in the situation of wanting to hear a McCartney solo album then it's time to end my life immediately

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Saturday, 10 April 2004 22:31 (seventeen years ago) link

"Agreed. To use the dreaded dreaded word, it sounds more authentic."

Haha. Yuppers.

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Saturday, 10 April 2004 22:34 (seventeen years ago) link

well, there's a higher percentage of listenable songs on this one than on any single one of the later unending nightmares. I like 'too many people'.

I think I said this on another thread once, but I can only listen to Paul in moderation. I like many of his songs on the White Album, but if you listen to them all in a row, you'd be dead by Blackbird > Rocky Racoon.

(Jon L), Saturday, 10 April 2004 23:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Fuck all that, Ram is his best solo record.
Every song has at least one instance of beauty, either in the production or in the melody. He sounds like songs were just pouring out of him and he just casts them in all directions. Its loose and without any seeming agenda - no comeback, no back-to-my-roots, no attempt to sound like - or not sound like - the Beatles. Plus it has the best ever use of a ukelele in Rock on "Ram On". Plus the Beta Band ripped it off mecilessly on the 3 EPs. Plus the current cd version has "Another Day" as an extra track. Plus the artwork has that photo of one Beatle fucking another Beatle. Arf arf arf.

David Nolan (David N.), Saturday, 10 April 2004 23:40 (seventeen years ago) link

"Too Many People" isn't so bad. This was actually one of the first albums I ever bought. I don't think it's too bad, but I wouldn't say it's abominable. "Ram On" isn't so bad either come to think of it. (I have to read posts to jog my memory. I haven't heard this for a long time, and am not about to buy a CD reissue.)

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Saturday, 10 April 2004 23:42 (seventeen years ago) link

I used to love "Hands across the water," or whatever it's called, when I was a kid. I think I'm over it.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Saturday, 10 April 2004 23:44 (seventeen years ago) link

"Back Seat of My Car" is...something.

Ian Grey (Ian_G), Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:48 (seventeen years ago) link

I think this album is literally a masterpiece.

Tim Ellison, Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:52 (seventeen years ago) link

Meaning it's horrible?

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:52 (seventeen years ago) link

No. Anyone read Barry Miles' Many Years from Now McCartney bio? I think that book can turn the head of anyone who thinks McCartney is corny or a moron or whatever. There's an interesting new book called The Unknown McCartney or something that looks pretty interesting also. I think Ram is one of his best albums.

Tim Ellison, Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:55 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm one of the hardcore Beatles fans around here, but solo McCartney is pretty dismal, in my opinion.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:57 (seventeen years ago) link

Have you read that book, though??

Tim Ellison, Sunday, 11 April 2004 01:58 (seventeen years ago) link

No. I don't think I'm interested enough.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 11 April 2004 02:14 (seventeen years ago) link

Great songs on Ram:

Too Many People
3 Legs
Ram On
Dear Boy
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Smile Away
Heart of the Country
Monkberry Moon Delight
Eat at Home
Long Haired Lady
Ram On (Reprise)
The Back Seat of My Car

Tim Ellison, Sunday, 11 April 2004 02:20 (seventeen years ago) link

"Plus the Beta Band ripped it off mecilessly on the 3 EPs."

*SNICKER*

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Sunday, 11 April 2004 02:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Smile Away: is a great tune. It's nice to hear Paul get excited.

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 11 April 2004 03:21 (seventeen years ago) link

ugh. (and props to Miccio)

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Sunday, 11 April 2004 04:26 (seventeen years ago) link

It has to perform two miracles.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 11 April 2004 04:28 (seventeen years ago) link

Its one of the few things I have on vinyl -- part of my parent's collection.

I tried listening once. It wasn't very good.

David Allen (David Allen), Sunday, 11 April 2004 04:31 (seventeen years ago) link

"Yellow Submarine" = Good
"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"=Bad?

Me no understand.

"Get Back" = Great
"Eat at Home" = Stinks?

Me no understand.

"Lady Madonna" = Classic
"Monkberry Moon Delight" = "The nadir in the decomposition of the sixties?"

Me no understand.

Tim Ellison, Sunday, 11 April 2004 17:53 (seventeen years ago) link

I think Ram is fucking classic and the only mccartney solo album I can listen to all the way through. there are moments of cheesiness, yes, but they're outnumbered by some excellent melodies and little bits of genius (I absolutely love the first 30 seconds of Uncle Albert, for instance). Back Seat of My Car, people! And Dear Boy is his best jabbing-at-Lennon song and sounds like it's straight off the White Album.

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Sunday, 11 April 2004 18:18 (seventeen years ago) link

three years pass...

Has 'Monkberry Moon Delight' ever been sampled in a hip-hop track? 'Cause it damn well should be.

G00blar, Friday, 9 November 2007 23:54 (thirteen years ago) link

this record is great, my favorite Macca solo work

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 9 November 2007 23:59 (thirteen years ago) link

Absolutely.

G00blar, Saturday, 10 November 2007 00:09 (thirteen years ago) link

Surely a great album, although he has done several better ones after he broke up Wings again.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 10 November 2007 00:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Lately I've been wanting to add Big Barn Bed (from Red Rose Speedway) to Ram...it's got the weird catchy pot-smoking Ram vibe so much. I wonder if it was recorded at the same time?

dlp9001, Saturday, 10 November 2007 00:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Ah, it was. I thought I remembered a snippet of it on Ram.

dlp9001, Saturday, 10 November 2007 00:39 (thirteen years ago) link

i really like "ram".

the next grozart, Saturday, 10 November 2007 02:06 (thirteen years ago) link

the album with the bonus song "oh woman oh why" is the one to get, simply cos that song's a really funky stones-y dirge.

the next grozart, Saturday, 10 November 2007 02:12 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Perhaps some will find this interesting, perhaps not...

...but I'm rerecording "Ram" all by myself, track by track. Have a listen!

The Ram Project

Davey D, Monday, 5 April 2010 18:53 (eleven years ago) link

Can't listen right now, but nice idea. I haven't ever heard Ram, i should probably track down the original before checking out your version anyway. Oh, and i've read that book, Tim, it's really good.

Ismael Klata, Monday, 5 April 2010 20:16 (eleven years ago) link

Hehehe... well yeah, that's true, but I don't think either of those artists have created anything quite like Plastic Ono Band. It's still tiresome to hear, though. I totally agree about the sound of those first couple of Lennon albums, though... I enjoy how simple and uncluttered the arrangements are.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:33 (four years ago) link

yeah the combination of strict economy and minimalism with the slapback echo is so striking

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:38 (four years ago) link

It's the most un-Spector-like record with Spector's name on it!

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:39 (four years ago) link

i fucking love plastic ono band

I look forward to hearing from you shortly, (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:40 (four years ago) link

i love ram as well. and all things must pass. those beatles were pretty good!

I look forward to hearing from you shortly, (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:40 (four years ago) link

It's the most un-Spector-like record with Spector's name on it!

nah that's Some Time in New York City, his contributions (if there actually are any) are literally inaudible

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:42 (four years ago) link

I love the roughness of that guitar tone on 'I Found Out'

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:45 (four years ago) link

goddamn when the backing vocals kick in and the bass jumps up an octave (I think that's what's happening?) at 2:45 on the coda of "Smile Away", that is some quality rockin

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:15 (four years ago) link

according to what I've read, Spector was hardly involved on JLPOB; it's a Yoko-John production.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:33 (four years ago) link

Lennon asked Spector, who had produced Lennon's hit "Instant Karma!" earlier that year,[4] to co-produce the album. Spector played piano on "Love",[5] but Lennon and Ono produced the album largely on their own, as Spector was unavailable during most of the recording sessions. Spector mixed the album for three days towards the end of October.[2]

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:34 (four years ago) link

yeah that's discussed in the Spector productions thread

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:41 (four years ago) link

although fwiw I don't consider mixing "hardly involved", mixing is a big deal

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:41 (four years ago) link

true

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:42 (four years ago) link

I get the sense that some of the critical hate for this album came from a general disillusionment with the 60s ideal that McCartney represented. Lennon was more in tune with the creeping cynicism and "aren't the 70s a drag" vibe, while McCartney was still spinning out whimsy. It made some listeners question if his music was ever as serious as they had believed, like somehow the tossed off Uncle Albert medley cheapened the medley on Abbey Road.

I love this album; had no idea McCartney had so much Beatle-juice left in him. I always imagine Dear Boy would be a fun one to bash out on a baby grand in some hotel lobby.

dinnerboat, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:44 (four years ago) link

Ram [Apple, 1971]

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is a major annoyance. I tolerated McCartney's crotchets with the Beatles because his mates balanced them out; I enjoyed them mildly on McCartney because their scale was so modest; I enjoy them actively on "Monkberry Moon Delight" because it rocks and on "Smile Away" because it's vulgar and funny. But though nothing else here approaches the willful rhythm shifts and above-it-all silliness of the single, most of the songs are so lightweight they float away even as Paulie layers them down with caprices. If you're going to be eccentric, for goodness sake don't be pretentious about it. C+

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:45 (four years ago) link

Ram On came on my Discover Weekly Spotify playlist this morning and I'd forgotten how great even some of the tossed off bits on that record are.

Darin, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:47 (four years ago) link

Ram On is the eye of the duck of that album. So sweet

TARANTINO! (dog latin), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:02 (four years ago) link

The vocal harmonies all over this record are really lovely... you can really tell Paul worshipped The Beach Boys.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:10 (four years ago) link

I dislike the album, even after giving the reissue a few years ago several chances (and I loathe "Uncle Albert," for me the worst major solo Beatles single). But "Eat at Home" is still a good cunnilingus song.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:27 (four years ago) link

as cunnilingus songs go

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:59 (four years ago) link

he's got a few

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 23:18 (four years ago) link

"Eat at Home" vs. "She's My Baby"

Darin, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 23:20 (four years ago) link

It's a bonus track on the Special Edition of Ram, but anyway I was previously unaware of Little Woman Love vs. TVC15. I'm pretty sure there's a common ancestor, but I don't know what it is.

dlp9001, Thursday, 12 May 2016 00:47 (four years ago) link

The vocal harmonies all over this record are really lovely...

there's some grating stuff though. "Long Haired Lady" would be the worst song on any album it appeared on. sometimes if I'm in the right mood the twee charmingness of it is okay but if it was on a Beatles album i would say yeah the Beatles suck.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 12 May 2016 01:02 (four years ago) link

i've come to really love both of mccartney's first two albums a lot -- the self-titled one has a genuinely melancholy feel, even the instrumentals feel laconic and lonely, like paul's sitting in a room by himself, picking up one instrument after another and messing about with it, trying to cheer himself up. whereas this one is bursting with fun and playfulness, maybe a bit too much ("uncle albert" is at once dazzling and empty, like the abbey road medley without the emotion), but lots of it is on par with paul's late beatles work ("smile away" could have fit onto abbey road, i can easily imagine a great lennon backing vocal for it). and yeah like someone said upthread i wish this album had gotten better reviews so paul had kept making records like this instead of starting wings.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 12 May 2016 01:05 (four years ago) link

"Long Haired Lady" would be the worst song on any album it appeared on.

whaa?

The "Bees are buzzing" bit with the phased, space echoed acoustic guitars is just all kinds of amazing and totally worthy of the Beatles.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 12 May 2016 03:02 (four years ago) link

"I get the sense that some of the critical hate for this album came from a general disillusionment with the 60s ideal that McCartney represented. Lennon was more in tune with the creeping cynicism and "aren't the 70s a drag" vibe, while McCartney was still spinning out whimsy."

Yeah, but it's not really psychedelic whimsy per se. I don't see McCartney from "Lady Madonna" on as being particularly of "the '60s."

timellison, Thursday, 12 May 2016 03:48 (four years ago) link

I absolutely adore "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," by the way. It's "You Know My Name (Look up the Number)" made into a number one hit.

timellison, Thursday, 12 May 2016 04:08 (four years ago) link

Yes.

The 'long haired lady' hate is about the intro, yeah?

I'm less keen on 'Monkberry', its too long really.

Mark G, Thursday, 12 May 2016 06:46 (four years ago) link

how come no one talks about the backseat of my car? it's better than the long and winding road. dang it's one of the best songs ever written!

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 12 May 2016 07:05 (four years ago) link

Long Haired Lady is great wtf? I think 'Eat At Home' is the only weak point, sounds like a b-side, but even that has its charm.

TARANTINO! (dog latin), Thursday, 12 May 2016 08:10 (four years ago) link

xpost oh yeah when that intro comes in it's like "A day in the life" as in "OK, last track you guys, but you ain't heard nothing yet.."

Mark G, Thursday, 12 May 2016 10:34 (four years ago) link

was introduced to this album through the instrumental bootleg (believe it was officially released as part of the deluxe reissue) which I'm sure is mentioned upthread since it's very very good - also a great album with vocals (even if Macca may be exaggerating a bit on Monkberry...)

any thoughts on the shared credits Paul/Linda - similar working relationship as Lennon/McCartney, pro forma, smth in btween?

niels, Thursday, 12 May 2016 11:00 (four years ago) link

Lennon/Macca didn't work together, mostly, sometimes did.

I would guess that Paul and Linda did work together on things, they were quite close, even though the publishers were all "You just want to keep 50% of the publishing you swines"

Mark G, Thursday, 12 May 2016 11:40 (four years ago) link

i love the long outro on 'long haired lady'

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 12 May 2016 13:21 (four years ago) link

Did you ever hear the remix?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWp80UZx64U

Mark G, Thursday, 12 May 2016 13:35 (four years ago) link

Ha, wow, that's actually not too bad -- and yes, the coda is pretty great.

Weird we're having this conversation at all -- I love this song pretty much unconditionally.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 12 May 2016 19:26 (four years ago) link

'The Back Seat of My Car' is probably the best song on the record!

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Thursday, 12 May 2016 19:46 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

CANTAWTAAAAAAAA

niels, Thursday, 26 July 2018 19:24 (two years ago) link

Cantawtaw!. what a great album.

Gâteau Superstar (dog latin), Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:35 (two years ago) link

Steen was I, from the drive
Of the enemy's HOOS

This is a total Jeff Porcaro. (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 26 July 2018 23:10 (two years ago) link

Heart of the Country is better than some Beatles songs

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 26 July 2018 23:43 (two years ago) link

the moment in Three Legs where he sings "and he can run" and the beat starts is my favorite moment on the album.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 26 July 2018 23:46 (two years ago) link

The terrible sound of TO MAH TO

ant banks and wasp (voodoo chili), Friday, 27 July 2018 00:56 (two years ago) link

“Heart of the Country” is the life I keep trying to aspire to.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Friday, 27 July 2018 01:02 (two years ago) link

Also, Thrillington...

timellison, Friday, 27 July 2018 02:50 (two years ago) link

wah wah wheeeeeeeeee

This is a total Jeff Porcaro. (Doctor Casino), Friday, 27 July 2018 03:19 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhEU7Z7HPH0

Maresn3st, Friday, 2 April 2021 12:38 (one week ago) link

clicked through that, rather slavish recreations but quite nice in places.

theres yet another reissue of this imminent, a half speed mastered version. I love this album as much as anyone but I don't know why this album needs to be reissued every other year

akm, Saturday, 3 April 2021 16:12 (one week ago) link

I figured it was so that people could keep making money off of something in perpetuity

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 April 2021 16:44 (one week ago) link


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