Monday, August 08, 2005

I heart Macca...sometimes

Although George is my favorite Beatle by far, I am a sucker for a good pop song. Therefore, I'm a big fan of certain Paul McCartney albums and songs. I'll do my best to lead you down the right path and help you avoid all the crapolla he's put out over the last 35 years.
First off is his second solo album called Ram. This was his response to the critics who had panned his first lo-fi solo effort simply called McCartney, which was literally recorded in his living room(I'll get to it later). Here, Paul went in to a real studio and turned out a whimsically produced album of ear-candy. Granted most of the songs on the album are fluff, they are an enjoyable lot with plenty of marshmallow filled center. While most have heard the mini suite 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey on classic rock stations over the years, some of the most outstanding tracks have rarely, if ever, graced the airwaves. The opening track 'Too Many People' is a nice little jab at his old bandmates dressed up inside a sweet pop wrapper. 'Smile Away' is a very pleasant blues rocker with its memorable(and hysterical) line, "Boy, I can smell your feet a mile away!" The closing track 'Backseat Of My Car' is another mini suite that also manages to throw in a backing vocal barb aimed at his estranged fiancées. I'm also a big fan of the segue tracks called 'Ram On'. Very simple in their message and delivered nicely on a strummed ukulele. A great road trip album. Just push play and soon you'll too have that white line fever.
Next up is probably his biggest selling solo album entitled Band On The Run. The recording of this album nearly cost Paul and lovely Linda their lives while in Lagos, Nigeria. They arrived to find that the studios construction was far from being complete and were held up at knife point by locals who were not exactly thrilled to have a pop star flaunting his wealth in the third world country. The attack had him screaming to the thieves, "I'm Beatle Paul!", which obviously made no impression on them. The title track has become the world wide hit we've all known it to be, while others such as 'Jet', 'Let Me Roll It'(a response to Lennon's venomous 'How Do You Sleep'), and 'Helen Wheels(one of my all time favorites) never did get as much airplay as they deserved. The last two songs of the album have a similar feel to the suite on the second side of Abbey Road. While falling a bit short of that high water mark, the production and grand scope of the songs give them both a feel of epic proportions and are sure to put a smile on your puss.
The last great album to come from the pen of Macca was released shortly after John's assassination. Tug Of War showcases Paul in a variety of different styles and moods. Reuniting with producer George Martin, Paul turns out one of his strongest efforts to date. There are terrific pop songs 'Take It Away' and 'Ballroom Dancing', playful folk tunes 'Tug Of War' ,'Get It'(a duet with Carl Perkins) and 'The Pound Is Sinking', blockbuster piano tunes in 'Ebony & Ivory' and 'Wanderlust', and a hauntingly beautiful tribute to John with 'Here Today'. The production is majestic, even if sometimes dated. Even psuedo disco songs like 'What's That You're Doing'(w/ Stevie Wonder) and 'Dress Me Up As A Robber' are sure to grow on you with multiple listenings.
Other singles/songs of note through the years include, 'Maybe I'm Amazed'(McCartney), 'Wild Life'(Wild Life), 'Let 'em In' & 'Silly Love Songs'(Speed Of sound), 'Arrow Through Me' & 'Getting Closer'(Back To The Egg), 'Mull Of Kintyre'(single), 'Wonderful Christmastime'(single), 'Waterfalls'(McCartney II), 'No More Lonely Nights'(Give My Regards To Broad St.), and finally 2001's 'From A Lover To A Friend'(Driving Rain). Drop any or all of these in to your iPod's shuffle mode and you'll be well on your way to cotton candy bliss.

iPod Song of the Day: 'Someone Who Is Cool' from The Odds album Nest


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