C/D Paul McCartney Solo

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I don't hate that much of his studio solo stuff (don't love it either, most of it) but that new live album...the man's lost his voice and won't quit trying. Please, please stop, Paul, for your own sake. You suck like Billy Joel.

matt riedl (veal), Monday, 17 February 2003 16:05 (seventeen years ago) link

I meant the Pipes of Peace album, RJG. I heard only two tracks off it in your car.

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:45 (seventeen years ago) link

There's a PIPES OF PEACE album?!

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:59 (seventeen years ago) link

It is not all remixes of the title track, sadly.

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 17 February 2003 19:33 (seventeen years ago) link

It has 'Say Say Say'!

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 17 February 2003 19:34 (seventeen years ago) link

Are those the two tracks you heard in the car?

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Monday, 17 February 2003 19:42 (seventeen years ago) link

Yes. It was RJG's famous 'All the best'. But I think 'The Man' is also 'the best'. 'Average Person' is not so good, as I recall.

Does anyone else like 'Hope of Deliverance'? I think it has a haunting melody.

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 17 February 2003 19:46 (seventeen years ago) link

Yes. It's on heavy rotation in my head, helping me face up to the darkness that surrounds us.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Monday, 17 February 2003 20:10 (seventeen years ago) link

N, did you know that eric stewart of 10cc played on the Pipes of Peace album?

p.s. 'for your love'+'bus stop'=gouldman.

RJG (RJG), Monday, 17 February 2003 20:21 (seventeen years ago) link

I was thinking of Bobby Gould.

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 17 February 2003 21:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Wasn't Pipes of Peace the one with Stanley Clarke?

dleone (dleone), Monday, 17 February 2003 21:42 (seventeen years ago) link

Weren't you actually thinking of Graham Gouldman, Nick?

robin carmody (robin carmody), Monday, 17 February 2003 23:12 (seventeen years ago) link

Yes, a mixed solo/Wings career, yet on the whole good I would say; the 1970-75 period produced generally excellent records, likewise 1978-83 (though not the poor 'Back to the Egg'...). 'McCartney II' (his best 'solo' album; most experimental and consistently engaging) & 'Pipes of Peace' (some lovely McCartney pop here) are very underrated albums. 'Tug of War''s best material is much as fine, yet it has some glaringly awful tracks which let it down. 'Red Rose Speedway', of the Wings era, is overlooked; probably the most Beatles-esque of all his post-Beatles albums, with a splendid 'Abbey Road'-like medley to close. Also 'Single Pigeon', 'When the Night' & 'One More Kiss' are deceptively slight, charming compositions. 'My Love' is a majestic McCartney ballad with wonderful guitar breaks... 'Little Lamb Dragonfly' ornate and richly produced melancholy.
'Venus and Mars' (increasingly getting some credit; good to see) and 'Band on the Run' are excellent as well. As is 'Ram' of course, a one-off record, pre-Wings, and yet with a superbly ramshackle focus to it; some very good material - a far better whole than 'McCartney'. 'London Town' - overlooked classic, with mostly fine material; 'I'm Carrying' is sublime... some good upbeat numbers here as well.
So, all of the above 'Classic' really... oh, plus 'We All Stand Together'; light-hearted whimsy given grandeur and grace... 'Once Upon a Long Ago'; amusing, quotable lyrics; a great production, sound and musical invention; fine single. 'Golden Earth Girl'; far and away ahead of most of 'Off the Ground', a majestic, atmospheric song. 'Wanderlust'; prime McCartney, would have graced a Beatles record... indeed George Martin's production and the arranging of the counter-melody harmonies bolster what is already a fine song into something special... 'Tug of War'; a song that gets in your head - brilliantly conceived melody and again production.

Dud: 'Wings at the Speed of Sound', 'Flaming Pie', 'Driving Rain' (a little better than 'FP'), 'Press to Play' (interesting yet not successful experimentation from Macca in 1986...) & 'Back to the Egg' (consistently average, only 'Old Siam Sir' makes any real impression).

Many albums of his i'm mixed about... yet, overall 'Classic', I maybe go towards this strongly as the general consensus is so unfairly a 'dud' opinion. You have to look deep into his work, and will find much that is good...

Tom May (Tom May), Thursday, 20 February 2003 22:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Macca on tour alert! Let's all go! Hits BCN at the end of March, must be in a town near you around about the same time. Well, same year. Hopefully I will be in a different town by then, but I might come back specially.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Friday, 21 February 2003 22:14 (seventeen years ago) link

So who wants to start a McCartney II viral revisionist campaign? It's only a matter of time before MOJO picks up on it.

mike a (mike a), Friday, 21 February 2003 22:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Only if people promise to biggie up 'Waterfalls'.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Friday, 21 February 2003 22:58 (seventeen years ago) link

why did ally cook lie and say he'd answered this thread?

RJG (RJG), Saturday, 22 February 2003 01:26 (seventeen years ago) link

OK. Given All The Best by father also. Heard it again in Richard's car. Silly Love Songs perfect. I like other songs also.

Ally C (Ally C), Wednesday, 26 February 2003 21:36 (seventeen years ago) link

So who wants to start a McCartney II viral revisionist campaign? It's only a matter of time before MOJO picks up on it

Too late, it was in the issue with Santana on the cover.

dleone (dleone), Wednesday, 26 February 2003 21:38 (seventeen years ago) link

No one mentioned 'Arrow Through Me' from Back to the Egg. Other than that, side one of 'Ram', 'Maybe I'm Amazed', bits of McCartney II... yikes, though. yikes.

If one's scratching one's head about how badly Paul's solo cheese wears on the nerves, try the following experiment: program disc one of the white album to only play Paul's tracks. Starts off okay but the unrelenting 'Ob-la-di' to 'Martha My Dear' to 'Blackbird', by the time it gets to 'Rocky Racoon' you'll be clawing your face off.

Jon Leidecker, Thursday, 27 February 2003 18:34 (seventeen years ago) link

'So who wants to start a McCartney II viral revisionist campaign? It's only a matter of time before MOJO picks up on it'

Search ILM for 'Coming Up' and see how many times I've mentioned it, and how far back these mentions go. Absolute classic

dave q, Friday, 28 February 2003 11:20 (seventeen years ago) link

"Search ILM for 'Coming Up' and see how many times I've mentioned it, and how far back these mentions go. Absolute classic."

It should be mentioned that it's the MCCARTNEY II version that should be considered "classic." The live version, which Columbia released as a single in the US, pales in comparison (though there's a very strange meteor-shower synth break toward the end).

Am I the only person who thinks BACK TO THE EGG is almost the equal of BAND ON THE RUN/VENUS & MARS? Probably.

mike a (mike a), Friday, 28 February 2003 16:33 (seventeen years ago) link

McArtney & Ram are classic. Everything up through Venus & Mars was great (but not classic), and everything since then has been a bit dodgy. Paul can definitely come on like a real lounge singer/Muzak tape most of the time.

John Bullabaugh (John Bullabaugh), Sunday, 9 March 2003 02:13 (seventeen years ago) link

That's far too sweeping a statement; there is much good in his post-1975 work... 'London Town', 'McCartney II' at least are neglected triumphs for me; and 'Pipes of Peace' and 'Tug of War' are largely very good. Otherwise, certainly a bit patchy as regards consistency in his albums, but good material is there; if being more difficult to find.

Tom May (Tom May), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:19 (seventeen years ago) link

McCartney solo would fit better in a S/D thread than a C/D thread, because it depends a lot on which album.

Most obvious cases of search:
"Tug Of War", "Flowers In The Dirt", "Band On The Run", "Venus And Mars"

"Wild Life", "McCartney II", "Press To Play", "Wings At The Speed Of Sound", "Pipes Of Peace".

Other than the disastrous "Wild Life", even the worst albums contain at least one or two great tracks each though.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:22 (seventeen years ago) link

You should give Pipes of Peace a listen and Report Back, N. The tablas make it curiously modern in the current climate. And the sentiments are obv. very much in vogue.

The production on that album is definitely classy, but the songs are just too weak for it to avoid the dustbin. "Tug Of War" has the same marvellous production, and contains almost exclusively great songs. (Yes, even "Ebony & Ivory" isn't that bad, really)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Only if people promise to biggie up 'Waterfalls'.

"Waterfalls" is the only really good song on that album. "Coming Up" is a dud IMO. Just because John Lennon liked it doesn't automatically mean it was good (in fact, most of Lennon's solo work sucked anyway)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:27 (seventeen years ago) link

The lyric: 'I acted like a dustbin lid!' never ceases to crease my features in laughter. This is from 'The Other Me', one of many enjoyable pop songs on 'Pipes of Peace'. Give it a listen in a light-hearted mood I suggest, and it will reward.
'Tug of War': indeed 'Ebony & Ivory' is pretty decent, certainly likeable, admirable in tune and sentiment, if no McCartney (or indeed Wonder) masterpiece single. 'Wanderlust' is utterly beautiful; surely appreciated by any Beatles fans looking for the inventive balladeering of his heyday in that group...
'Tug of War' has some *awful* tracks though, IMO; 'What's that you're do-ing?' (which goes on for nearly *7* minutes) and 'Get It'.

'Flowers in the Dirt' has a far worse production than 'Pipes of Peace'; it really lacks focus and sympathy for the songs. There is some fine material on there, but much of it is middling.

Do *not* destroy 'McCartney II'... it's a revelation frankly! Such a massive step up from 'Back to the Egg' and more cohesive and compelling I believe than 'McCartney' (though 'Junk' & 'Every Night' are sublime). It is McCartney very interestingly going down the route of electronic music; which sadly he didn't continue so much on his next two (nevertheless good) albums. 'Summer's Day Song' is among McCartney's most beautiful, as is 'Waterfalls'... 'Frozen Jap' and 'Front Parlour' see a Kraftwerk-type influence beautifully used to make jaunty, expressively melancholic electronic pieces. 'Dark Room' is oddball in a great manner... 'One of these Days' is a masterful close to the album.

'Press To Play' possibly does... but it is mis-produced and really inadequate in its music and songwriting (will have to give it another chance, mind).
I fully agree on 'Wings at the Speed of Sound'; apart from 'Silly Love Songs' (a badly produced and sounding recording of it) and the towering pop of 'Le 'Em In', it is a seriously mediocre record and the one with the most detrimental influence of the other Wings members.
'Ram', 'Band on the Run', 'Red Rose Speedway' and 'Venus and Mars' are unreservedly recommended as an fine early quartet of albums.

Tom May (Tom May), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:40 (seventeen years ago) link

'Tug of War' has some *awful* tracks though, IMO; 'What's that you're do-ing?' (which goes on for nearly *7* minutes) and 'Get It'.

Wouldn't call any of them awful. Although they are clearly tracks that seem like partly failed attempts to copy his duet partner's musical styles.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:42 (seventeen years ago) link

'Flowers in the Dirt' has a far worse production than 'Pipes of Peace'

I love the production on that one too. But, then again, I enjoy most of what Mitchell Froom and Trevor Horn/Stephen Lipson have ever done sonically.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Hmmm, I may need to listen to 'FitD' again, as it is a while since I heard it, but it just didn't impress me with its production. Is it actually Horn himself involved?

Tom May (Tom May), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:51 (seventeen years ago) link

Is it actually Horn himself involved?

The hits are mainly produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, early 90s Elvis Costello). But Trevor Horn produced "How Many People" and "Figure Of Eight"

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:54 (seventeen years ago) link

'Figure of Eight', 'Distractions' and 'Put it There' seemed to me the best overall songs there... thinks like 'You want her too' and 'My Brave Face' are *good*, but somehow sound unwieldy to me.

Tom May (Tom May), Sunday, 9 March 2003 19:57 (seventeen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
i have heard that 'temporary secretary' is a good song. and, 'secret friend', i think?

i have heard neither, and know very little about mccartney solo. what are these songs like?

gareth (gareth), Monday, 24 March 2003 14:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Hey, how come nobody ever talks about Firemen?

dleone (dleone), Monday, 24 March 2003 15:11 (seventeen years ago) link

Especially since it was a collaboration with Youth. Alex in NYC to thread to honour the fire!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 24 March 2003 15:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Apart from 'Coming Up', solo McCartney's about as appealing as a whack on the head from Heather's falsie.

russ t, Monday, 24 March 2003 16:23 (seventeen years ago) link

"Coming Up" is the most overrated of his solo material. However, every single one of his solo albums has contained at least 1-2 really classy wonderful melodic ballads, which remains what he is best at.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 24 March 2003 18:38 (seventeen years ago) link

i just bought 'ram' last weekend for $3 and so far it's great. the way linda mccartney's voice is processed is totally fucked. i've always dismissed post-beatles mccartney unfairly - this stuff is really great lo-fi pop/psychedelia. olivia tremor control sound more like this than the beatles, i think.
i should get the first one (with the bowl of cherries on the cover) next....

j fail (cenotaph), Monday, 24 March 2003 19:18 (seventeen years ago) link

What about 'Back in the World/U.S.' ? Backstage hi-jinks are promised.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Monday, 24 March 2003 20:58 (seventeen years ago) link

one month passes...
I got 'Back in the U.S.' from ASDA but I don't like it very much. It hasn't got as little booklet in it. Is this an oversight on the part of ASDA or PAUL McCARTNEY? The singing is bloody awful and there is too much emphasis on crowd shots. On the plus side, said crowd shots do make me feel very young.

Would anyone care to share their thoughts? You can make them up if you like. I'm just trying to get better value for money.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Friday, 25 April 2003 18:59 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
i have spent the last few days listening to a large amount of this stuff; of course as a kid I was a huge, huge Beatles fan but by the time I got to the solo records, I pretty quickly realized that aside from the obvious classics (plastic ono band, ram), they weren't really for me. The last McCartney album I bought was the Give My REgards to Broadstreet soundtrack. Anyway, Off the Ground: largely pretty bad. Flowers in the Dirt: some great songs but bad performances and annoying production. Press to Play: meh, bad. The surprise for me was Flaming Pie which really is as good as fans were saying it was when it came out; the jeff lyne chunkachunk production works pretty well for him; these songs are all mostly slow or acoustic and let the melodies show though. It's the kind of sophisticated album someone of his age should be making. A lot of Driving Rain is pretty good too but some of it isn't. Run Devil Run is fun but maybe not quite as good as I want it to be. If he's really been working in LA with Jason Faulkner, I'm excited to hear that stuff if it ever comes out, because McCartney is pretty much ripe for some kind of revival, the guy is capable of writing wonderful tunes, his lyrics let him down sometimes. Maybe Rick Rubin should do his next album.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 25 November 2004 19:04 (fifteen years ago) link

the other thing that is surprising to me is that no-one ever stops him when he's making these bad albums (or bad songs on relatively good albums). I mean, no-one in the studio stops and says, "dude, that song is terrible. stop."? no-one at the lable refuses to release it? I mean, he's only damaging himself and he can do better. I guess no-one says no to the guy who wrote Yesterday.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 25 November 2004 19:10 (fifteen years ago) link

Jason Falkner? I thought I read somewhere that he is currently working with Mitchell Froom.

Your last comment is OTM btw.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 25 November 2004 22:33 (fifteen years ago) link

the album is being produced by nigel goodrich; faulkner might be involved in this (first google search yielded this).

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 25 November 2004 22:37 (fifteen years ago) link

From the Billboard article:
Falkner Eyes Solo Album, Plays With McCartney

Versatile pop-rocker Jason Falkner, five years removed from the release of his last full-length solo album, "Can You Still Feel?" (Elektra), is nearing completion of its follow-up while balancing multiple side projects and musical endeavors.

Among his recent musical adventures was a recording session earlier this year in Los Angeles with rock legend Paul McCartney. "That was amazing," Falkner tells Billboard.com. "It was just me and Paul and this drummer, James Gadson, who was the original drummer for Bill Withers."

Falkner was called into the sessions by producer Nigel Godrich (who produced "Can You Still Feel?") and he played guitar on a number of songs with McCartney. "He's doing different sessions with different producers," Falkner says of the former Beatle, "but nobody knows ... if those sessions are gonna be his record."

McCartney wasn't familiar with his collaborator's musical history when they met, so Falkner gave him a copy of "Bedtime With the Beatles," the instrumental children's lullaby album Falkner released through Sony/Wonder in 2001. He admits it "blew his mind" after McCartney gave him a glowing review of the disc the next time they met.

If one suspects (as I do) that Falkner has been disappointed/angry/disgruntled over the way the industry has treated him these last several years, essentially reducing him to a sideman/cover-artist/enhancer-of-others'-work, it follows that the Paul love must do his heart good. A moral victory of some sort, I suppose.

The larger point, though, is interesting, regarding Falkner/Godrich working with Paul for material that may or may not be on his next album — it's exactly what you'd expect from Paul, that searching, persistence and sort of endless curiosity. It's funny — because it's exactly what makes Paul's output so maddenly elusive, frustrating and inconsistent for some, while making others (well, me) love him so. For the latter crowd, he's the quintessential restless artist, which is why so many are still waiting for—expecting even—that late-period masterpiece.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 26 November 2004 20:00 (fifteen years ago) link

that late-period masterpiece
But NTI, didn't he already deliver that with Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, by Paul McCartney and Carl Davis?

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 26 November 2004 20:13 (fifteen years ago) link

I think you mean Standing Stone.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 26 November 2004 20:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Perhaps, although it appears that by this time Macca had ditched Carl Davis as collaborator and replaced him with a new guy, somebody named Foster.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 26 November 2004 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link


Seriously, though — even those (what I assume are) half-assed "serious" works don't come off remotely as pompous and ill-considered as those of, say, Billy Joel, Paul Simon or—most embarrassingly—Elvis Costello. Where those guys seem to be deluding themselves about where their talents lie and what constitutes "serious" composition (as if pop doesn't), with McCartney, the impetus behind his experiments in pop or otherwise has always seemed like geniune curiosity and a love for music. I mean, you can almost hear him going, "Oh yes, well, that's interesting. Perhaps it's something I can try," whether it's him doing a take on Little Richard ("Long Tall Sally", "Get On the Right Thing"), Eno ("Summer's Day Song"), The Orb (his Fireman project), Joplin ("Honey Pie"), Steely Dan ("Arrow Through Me"), John Lennon ("Too Many People"), Brian Wilson ("Back Seat of My Car"), Elvis Costello ("Getting Closer"), or whoever else. The orchestral pieces—which I've never heard, btw—seem very much cut from that cloth.

At the end of the day, there are really just a handful of artists who are capable of pulling off this sort of thing with any measure of success (and no, Stephen Merritt, you're not one of them). So, I'll tolerate the misfires — even if there seem to be an awful lot of them in his discography.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 26 November 2004 21:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Mono Ram may be a fold-down?

timellison, Monday, 27 January 2020 18:09 (eight months ago) link

two months pass...

Nice interview with Alan Alda:


timellison, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 22:06 (five months ago) link

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