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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCartney is very much back on form! Superb.
An admission. I haven't bought a Paul McCartney album since Venus and Mars 30 years ago. Another admission. This album is like 13 Beatles songs have been unearthed from a vault; they are superb. The guy sounds full of enthusiasm and confidence, the lyrics are sharp, the arrangements are clever. From the opening track 'Dance Tonight' right through 'Mr Bellamy' and 'The...
Published on 4 Jun 2007 by John K. Gateley

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so Deluxe
It must be me,

but I really don't know what's going on here. Being a life long follower of Paul McCartney I am becoming more and more disappointed with his offerings. Since the wonderful "Flaming Pie" and the losing of Linda he seems to have lost his way. I thought he was on his way back after a few good songs on "Chaos and Creation" and when I heard that this...
Published on 6 Jun 2007 by Kevan John Kite


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to his best!, 14 Jun 2007
By 
After the impressive Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, Macca returns with another on form album. After his troubles with his personal life I was worried about how this would affect the quality of his music. But having worries and problems seems to bring out the best in songwriters.

There are hints at experimentation like when he was in a band you might have heard of, The Beatles.

There are no bad tracks like on previous disappointing McCartney albums. Stand out tracks for me include Gratitude, Vintage Clothes, Mr Bellamy, Ever Present Past and the catchy Dance Tonight. After several listens this album continues to improve and it is now a regular in my CD player.

Highly recommended.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who needs Nigel Godrich?, 18 Jun 2007
By 
DanHersh (Northumberland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
Some of the reviews on this site for this album make my blood boil. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, those reviewers who trashed this album because it is different to the last one and the saintly Nigel Godrich isn't on it, need their ears syringing out. And are these all supposed to be reviews of the album?- some of them (the ones who aren't doing an assassination of it) read more like bubble-gum entries on a My Space blog. And the reviewer who really takes the biscuit here is the one who compares "Mr Bellamy" to "some of ELO's records"- does he know anything about the Beatles and McCartney? Even the most uninformed of listeners could tell you that ELO openly stole their entire sound (not "some ELO records") from Abbey Road-era Beatles, especially McCartney's songs. I don't think McCartney would bother stealing the sound back from them- he invented it. You may as well say he's stealing the Beatles sound from Oasis.

"Memory Almost Full" is naturally a very different affair to "Chaos and Creation" where Nigel Godrich (quite rightly on the whole) put him in a musical strait-jacket to produce something less indulgent than the messy and overblown "Driving Rain" (which nonetheless had some decent numbers on it). Before the release of "Memory Almost Full" my worst fear was that McCartney would, as he has in the past, lurch from one great album like "Chaos", where he is carefully controlled and channelled by a producer who isn't afraid to tell him what is good and what isn't, to being demob happy and doing something sloppy and indulgent (as he did when he followed up "Flaming Pie" with "Driving Rain" or, even further back, the superb "Flowers In the Dirt" which was followed by the lacklustre "Off The Ground").

But thankfully age has brought wisdom and we are living in an age where Macca is a lot keener to protect his legacy. "Memory Almost Full" manages to make a run of two very strong albums in a row. Yes, it is a return to the Wings sound on the whole, and Wings in my opinion where not always that great, especially early on, but this is Wings on a very good day, with some excellent songs that mix an earlier sound with the quality of writing seen on" Chaos". And I love hearing McCartney writing more about his early days in Liverpool, as on "That Was Me" which is long overdue.

I had to laugh at the review here by Mcfabb's Emporium- are you really a lifelong McCartney fan as you state, or are you Nigel Godrich writing under a pseudonym? It reminded me of Nigel Godrich's patronising attitude when he said in an interview about the making of "Chaos and Creation" that he had sat Paul down at the start and played him a selection of his past songs and albums, pointing out which ones he thought were good and which ones hadn't worked and why! ("Sorry Paul, said Nigel, but I really don't think "Hey Jude" cut the mustard as a single -too long and indulgent- perhaps you'd like Uncle Nige to delete it from your back catalogue for you?") And then he went on to imply that he had wanted to produce a decent album for Paul, because the poor lad had produced so much mediocrity of late and wasn't capable of producing something passable without Uncle Nigel's help. The nerve of the man!

Well Nigel (and Mcfabb's Emporium) - David Kahne has produced something just as good in its own way with "Memory Almost Full", and Paul has managed to put together a superb collection of songs without your patronising help! And while I wouldn't deny that "Chaos" is a great album, there was on the whole much more of Nigel Godrich on it than Paul McCartney, which a lot of us real McCartney fans don't always appreciate. "Memory Almost Full" is a top notch album precisely because it sounds like Paul McCartney, at his best. And he sounds more cheerful which does us all good- "Chaos" was a bit miserable wasn't it?

He can do it without you, Nigel! Long live "Memory Almost Full"!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Song Is MACCA at his best !, 21 Jun 2007
By 
Brien Comerford (Glenview, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
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This wonderful Paul McCartney "Memory Almost Full" CD includes a bonus disc with three extra songs and an interview. The bonus songs are stellar including an instrumental gem. "Memory Almost Full" has many fantastic songs including rockers "Only Mama Knows", "House Of Wax" and the riveting "Nod Your Head". Catchy and melodic marvels include the excellent "Vintage Clothes" "Gratitude" and the somewhat spiritial "End Of The End". The song that grows on you is the country folk oriented "Dance Tonight" because it is such a surprising and ultimately good track . 16 out of 16 songs is very good for the peerless 67 years old former Beatle icon.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic poprock album, 25 May 2007
By 
M. M. Kneppers (Utrecht, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
After the dark Chaos & Creation album from 2005, McCartney returns with a more later period Wings-like popalbum in 2007. The songs sound fresh and are cleverly arranged. Macca seems to have found his popsensibility again, without losing his edgy side.

8 songs on the album are great, the other 5 are less stellar, but no drag either.

Here is a song-by-song review of the album:

"Dance Tonight" is an upbeat simple popsong, written and played on a banjo. It gets three stars ***

"Ever Present Past" is more substantial than DT. I especially like the chorus bit... "I think I do I did...". Reminds me a bit of the "Driving Rain" title track. The guitar bit in the middle is also interesting. Note the flute at the end, which sounds like the one The Beatles used on the Magical Mistery Tour album. I rank this 4 stars ****

"See You Sunshine". Starts similar to the song "Tiny Bubble" from Driving Rain, but it is more satisfying than that one. It has a nice laid back feel. I rank this ***,5 stars

"Only Mama knows". When I saw the title, I didn't expect the song i was about to hear. This is great!! Think "About You" from Driving Rain. Intelligent hooks, great guitars, great speed and great voice!! He can still do it! I rank this ***** stars.

"You Tell Me" Nice song (a slow Blue Bird), but I am not a fan of Macca using his falsetto (high Voice). Ranking: *** stars (one point less because of the high voice)

"Mister Bellamy" Another unexpected song. Does not sound like anything he did before. Interesting arrangement, great voice and melodic. Reminds a bit of the old 10cc. A strong **** stars

"Gratitude". Great voice, and arrangement. Reminds me of a slower version of the song "Souvenir" from Flaming Pie and of the song "Call Me Back Again " of Venus & Mars. A grower! ****.

"Vintage Clothes". Sounds like a song from the Wings album "London Town" called "Famous Groupies",. It has an interesting rythm, harmony and guitar arrangement. ****

"That Was Me" starts similar to his song for the "Vanilla Sky" movie. The chorus is fab. A strong ****!

"Feet In The Clouds" Not the best lyrics, but the song is great musically (fab vocals arrangement). In spite of the lyrics I give this ****.

"House Of Wax"... woow! Macca goes Ozzy! A very powerful ballad, with a lot of echo, orchestra and guitar distortion. *****

In "End Of The End" he sings about his moment he will die and the way he whish the things will be at his funeral and about him going to the other side... very nice atmosphere. Reminds of "This Never Happened Before" from Chaos & Creation. Nice. ***

"Nod Your Head" Great, great ending but much too short! It leaves wanting more. ****

Special note: the bass playing of Paul on this album is very good!

Conclusion: an interesting album, with a good mix of ballads, uptempo pop and rock. It surely wil end up as one of better albums of Macca. My overall score is about ****, which means "good".

Recommended to both Macca fans and people who 'just' like great pop/rock music.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super Record, 6 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
First of all, I would like to address the critics and individuals who continually slate McCartney's records for "not being of comparable standard to the Beatles". I find this attitude both negative and unintelligent. The Beatles split up over forty years ago and much of their acclaim comes from their social influence as opposed to their music. They were of their time and about their time - that isn't now.

This album is an excellent record. Full of depth, complexity in both music and production and variety of material it is a real showcase for McCartney's work and very impressive given that it has come at the later stages of his career.

It is a very different record to "Chaos and Creation", itself another good album. It is more positive in lyrical and musical feel and has more variety. My track-by-track summary:

1. Dance Tonight: Pleasant and catchy opening ditty - but nothing more.

2. Ever Present Past: Catchy electro-pop single - slightly silly chorus but enjoyable.

3. See Your Sunshine: Quite a modern feel with a great bridge and good harmony vocals.

4. Only Mama Knows: Superb Wings-style rocker but with a number of suprising musical twists.

5. Mr. Bellamy: Strange, mid-period Beatles style track. Very like some of ELO's work (see "Mr. Blue Sky" or "The Ballad of Horace Wimp")

6. You Tell Me: A beautiful, moving ballad sung in a strong falsetto voice.

7. Gratitude: A little difficult to get into for me - a bluesy slow rocker with a bit of a Queen feel.

8. Vintage Clothes: Start of a long medley in the style of that found on "Abbey Road". Super track with a very modern feeling chorus and Wings harmonies. Lots of unexpected musical twists.

9. That Was Me: Super song with list-style lyrics about highlights in McCartney's life. Rocking feel.

10. Feet in the Clouds: Very affecting song with loads of twists and turns. In places, very similar in feel to Brian Wilson's "SMiLE" album. Quite haunting in those places.

11. House of Wax: Enormous prog-rock number - totally unlike anything he's done before.

12. End of the End: Emotional album closer, musically and lyrically impressive.

13. Nod Your Head: Album ending rave-up.

A further comment would be that his singing voice is back and stronger than it has been in some time, after the weathered and frankly, elderly vocals on "Chaos". There are some dodgy lyrical moments which should have been ironed out and the odd moment where the music doesn't quite gel.

Overall however, I highly recommend this record to anyone and find it to be an extremely impressive and enjoyable record that rewards repeat listenings.

A lot like Beatles records did strangely enough.....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Improvement, 20 Jun 2007
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As a die-hard McCartney fan I've been disappointed with his last few albums - they never quite sparked the fun of his earlier work. McCartney at his best can create songs that seem to have been around forever, but sadly he seems to have lost this skill... Having said that, this album is a big improvement on the last couple of albums - who is Mr Bellamy? (when I first heard it I thought of a man going through a bad moment in his relationships not the reported suicide jumper in the McCartney interview?! Interesting!)
Has anyone spotted the "nod" to his other "hidden" work - on the 2nd CD is the track 222; check out Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest
~ The Fireman track 444!! (oh and The Fireman is McCartney [2nd album is called "Rushes"])
I still keep hoping McCartney will produce one last belting album to finally seal his position in world music as one of the greatest artists ever!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is Your Life, 16 Jun 2007
By 
Dl Fairey "ousetunes" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Listening to 'Memory Almost Full' for the first and second time was like leafing through the pages of Paul's life as detailed in that big red book Eamonn Andrews used to present on This Is Your Life. Immediately, I heard bits of early Paul, Beatle Paul, Paul-and-Linda Paul, early Wings Paul, and of course, Paul Paul. There are the hook-lines, the melodies, that voice - stronger here than I imagined it would be, and as always, there are the songs.

Of all the guises listed above, it is the Wings Paul which is most to the fore on this album. Indeed, (and it would probably be possible with modern day sampling) one expects to hear Linda and Denny's backing vocals on 'See Your Sunshine' and 'Vintage Clothes'.

The Wings/early solo Paul connection continues with 'Mr Bellamy' which reminds me somewhat of 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey'. Likewise, 'Feet In The Clouds' is a piece of simple acoustic Macca and the album's opening track, 'Dance Tonight', sees Paul stepping into George's shoes on the banjo. Whilst this track is simple, it sticks in the brain and the production is quite impressive, slowly building up and filling out (listen through the headphones). Not only does a banjo or ukelele remind me of George, but this song sounds a little like George's 'Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)' in places. I think George's influence on Paul is more notable on Paul's last two albums than at any other time before his death.

As for the subject of death, where George mentioned the next life, no doubt spent in God's presence, Paul's 'End Of The End' looks toward another form of life after life here on earth, but noticeably one without mention of any God, god or deity. Reflective and sad surely, but to me a bit like some requiem minus the religion. George approached the end of his life looking toward God; Paul is approaching his looking toward who-knows-what?

Paul keeps up the refective mode going back in time with his backing band having a blast on the late 50s rock 'n' roll piece 'Only Mama Knows' (a live recording, surely). Paul is in fine voice and the song is topped and tailed by a classical hook, quite unique, but it works. Also, there's more gawping through the family photograph album on 'That Was Me' which is a synopsis of Paul's life (with tongue placed firmly in cheek). It's likeable if a little forgetful.

'Nod Your Head' sounds like the last track on 'Chaos and Creation..,' with 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road' thrown in. Again, I'm surprised by Paul's voice as it reaches high notes without screeching or straining, something noticeable on loads of his albums from 'Press To Play' onwards.

For my money and I stress on only hearing the album twice, the stand-out track is 'House Of Wax' which left me close to tears when I played it earlier. It sums up so much of what Paul McCartney is, the name, the person, the legend and also, what Paul McCartney is to me. 'House of Wax' is epic, it's moving and it's exhilarating. The magic of McCartney is to take a song onto a different level and when he does so here, his voice almost sounds like an old man groaning - but it's that man's voice which moves me so much: it's almost having to accept that Paul is getting older and won't be around forever. A chilling thought, but by the time you've concerned yourself about that, Rusty Anderson's wicked, gnarled and slightly haywire guitar solo comes crashing in.

I honestly feel a bit of Elgar in here - the build up and the tension. 'House Of Wax' is already one of Paul's most haunting pieces of work.

'Memory Almost Full' is not 'Chaos And Creation'. The albums are quite a distance away from each other and I loved the latter. I'm sure the former, the one I'm talking about here, will be a real grower and when that sad day finally arrives, it might well be the album we reach for when we want to know what 'Paul McCartney' singer, songwriter, performer was all about.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first Macca album, but not the last, 14 Jun 2007
By 
D. Evens "genocidefish" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
I've been a Beatles fan for ages, but I didn't check out the Fabs' solo careers for a good while, having heard bad things. But then I ran out of other albums to buy, and decided that, well, critics are probably sniffy about solo Beatles because of the huge standards set by the band rather than the intrinsic quality of the music. Plastic Ono Band, Imagine and All Things Must Pass all proved me right, but I was still a bit wary of solo Paul for some reason, mainly the fear of total cheese.
Hearing 'Ever Present Past' in a shop changed my mind - great melody, bouncy bassline, imaginative production, great fun - everything I loved about Paul's work with the Beatles, though in slightly dilute form. I bought the album, and enjoyed it. It can't get five stars because I don't rate it as any kind of major work, and even four seems a tad generous - three and a half is more like it. As a quality pop album for all the family (despite "Mr Bellamy"'s possible drug references, which aren't blatant and could be interpreted differently), though, this works very well. Certainly beats the likes of Coldplay and Keane for imagination and songwriting, and don't even start me on manufactured pop. Actually, second thoughts - Girls Aloud are much better than Keane. Keane suck.
The arrangements are wonderful; a little twinkle here and there, lots of acoustic guitar, Paul plays unmistakable bass on 7 of the 13 tracks, "Mr Bellamy" and "House of Wax" in particular have some wonderful piano work, and the vocal harmony arrangements are sparingly applied, and add a nice little Brian Wilson-esque touch in places, a little like Abbey Road but not as good. There's easily enough musical depth here to reward repeat listening, though - after all, this is Paul McCartney from the Beatles I'm talking about, as George Starostin frequently remarks in his Macca reviews.
The mood varies from lightweight mandolin-led pop ("Dance Tonight"), to slightly druggy art-pop ("Mr Bellamy", "House of Wax") and a couple of nicely-written ballads with slightly trite lyrics ("See your Sunshine", "Gratitude"). The album finishes with "The End of the End", a cheery little song about death, and "Nod Your Head", a fun two-minute retread of "Helter Skelter" with some "do do do"s that remind me of Pavement a little (not sure about the horns though).
There's nothing earth-shattering going on here, but it's impossible to grudge the quality of the writing (the lyrics are no great shakes, but they don't grate nearly as often as, say, Coldplay). The album contains no filler as far as I can tell; every track has something individual to offer (unlike Chaos and Creation which I also bought recently - it's a better album but doesn't possess that quality), though none are classics or standouts. Everybody who listens is going to have a different favourite track from this album - I'm not sure which is mine.
Some classy pop, then. I'll accept that gladly. There's not nearly enough of it about.

Further thoughts: after more listens - this easily deserves the four stars, actually. A genuinely fine album. The review above is possibly a little stingy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unselfconscious, 4 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. D. Robinson "The Man at the back" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
For me the most enjoyable Macca album since Tug of War .... you can't help but feel that the criticisms of Macca (overly sentimental,too melodic, lyrically naive) had been weighing heavily on his mind for 20 years .... and the first sign of the chink in the armour was Press to Play (unfairly maligned) and that unlike the (unjustified) criticism of Back to the Egg that he had started to believe the criticism and it had knocked his confidence. Suddenly from somewhere it seem a light bulb has gone on saying " i don't give a rats arse about what others think" and "who cares if its not as good as the Beatles ... what is!" and we have a Macca who has poured out what ive always loved him for ... unrelenting melodicism, a good tune, love of a good song and complete belief. This makes it so much more rewarding for me than Chaoes and Creation ... which seemed like Macca trying too hard and allowing someone to A&R him (Godrich) rather than collaborate. This has all the best of what made Macca, 70's and early 80's incarnation so attractive (so what if it wasn't condidered trendy) .... more talent in his fingers than the Gallaghers, Albarns of the world .... Reminds me a bit of Mika .... not a bad thing ... or Prince ... i personally want to see a new CD every 12 months. What about it Macca !
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Macca lays a curate's egg - but it's a very tasty one, 24 Jun 2007
By 
C. O'Brien (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
Named after a message that flashed up on his phone but actually full of cheerful pathos, Memory Almost Full is a project McCartney had hanging around prior to his recent collaboration with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Chaos And Creation In the Backyard.

Warming up a few musical leftovers doesn't sound like an auspicious beginning for any creative project, but this album - though not perfect by any means - is pulsing with life and creative fire. The 64-year-old McCartney doesn't try to deny his age or experience but uses it as a source of inspiration - his "almost full" memory yielding up all kinds of treasure.

Things start badly with that atrocious nursery rhyme of a lead-off single, Dance Tonight. Macca's always had a tendency to deliver these things - think Mary Had A Little Lamb crossed with Yellow Submarine - and no amount of strummy mandolin or Michel Gondry-directed videos can save it from itself. Sickly third track See Your Sunshine and the desperate old man's blessing Gratitude simply lower the tone.

Get those clunkers out of the way, though, and things really start to look up. Delivered in aching falsetto, You Tell Me is a vulnerable, bittersweet song of love and regret whose lyrics recall Noel Coward at his gentlest and Mr Bellamy - the story of an aged individualist - is a tiny psychodrama, a glimpse of how "normal" life can suddenly turn numinous. Whether the old man is in the grip of a dream or simply has Alzheimer's, he's still a visionary - the Fool On The Hill grown old.

Elsewhere, Ever-Present Past is a vintage piece of clever Beatlesy whimsy, and the slightly disjointed Only Mama Knows could be a Wings leftover. The album's second half gives a nod to Abbey Road by seguing its tracks together as a suite of songs which are meditations on the tricks memory plays and the ways in which change overtakes us. McCartney picks over the story of his life as random-access memory: dipping in and out of images of himself as a Beatle on TV or a boy playing conkers at the bus stop -- or musing over the "vintage clothes" that still define him for so many.

Musically it's varied, surprising, often capricious -- and ultimately, doesn't try to escape the ghost of the band that has overshadowed McCartney's whole identity. The End Of The End has been much discussed - a wry look at death, it's characterised by this man's relentless optimism and respect for life in all its lush diversity. First he makes you cry with his elegiac imagery, and then, like Eric Idle's crucified criminal at the end of Life Of Brian, he gives you a cheery whistle.

Lovely though it is, though, it's eclipsed by the two songs either side of it. The Pink Floyd-esque epic House Of Wax is one of those things that has to be conceived on a grand scale -- melodic, apocalyptic, glorious. And right at the album's end is Nod Your Head - almost two minutes of feral guitar assault and gravel-voiced bellow, Helter Skelter crossed with I'm Down.

This may be a mature meditation on memory and desire - but middle-aged it's certainly not.

as published at Subba-Cultcha.com
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