on 3 September 2011
It's good to be thrown off balance every once in a while and this record certainly dose that! Before this, I'd only really heard stuff like "Flaming Pie" and "Flowers in the Dirt" - both containing great tunes but nothing quite as daring or uninhibited as this record. It seems that when McCartney is not thinking about the final outcome and just allows his mind to wonder and be excited by the process of making music (he never meant to put this out) that he comes up with stuff as original (and frankly barmy) as Temporary Secretary or Frozen Jap. The single 'Coming Up' has such a great feel to it because it is not polished! Yet he is still capable of excellent musicianship (his electric guitar playing interests me far more than say, Eric Clapton) and writes exquisite ballads like the closing track or Waterfalls. Sod the fact it's slightly self indulgent - it's called being highly creative! (and not always churning out schmaltz) A hidden gem of an album.
Whoever said that out of the two reissues McCartney and McCartney II, that this is the best of the two needs their ears cleaned out. Where McCartney is an absolute classic, this is a pleasant enough album - most notable for how experimental it is rather than the music itself. There is some great stuff on here though and the sound quality of these remasters is superb. I'm a McCartney fan and I love this album - I think the only other Macca album it resembles is Press to Play as both rely on unusual and surreal soundscapes, but if you're not a fan they you may be better avoiding this and checking out the more accessible stuff first, but McCartney becomes addictive and you will want to get this one eventually.
on 23 December 2005
McCartney II, it's Macca, by himself, writing music that nobody else could. I don't think there is any attempt to be trendy or particularly stylelized, or keep up with the new wavers or punks. I think the blight of McCartney's career has been people trying to second guess or expect a certain type of product from him. So when McCartney turns up with probably his most original release since he left the Beatles, a lot of people are unhappy that it isn't 'Band on The Run' or 'Venus and Mars' part two.
Prehaps as a result, McCartney II displays some of his outstanding melodys and dissonant styles of production that people never even tried to copy. "Temporary Secretary" is a good example of that. I'd love to see someone present me with another song with a structure anything like that. "Waterfalls", and "Summer's Day Song" show McCartney at his lyrical and melodic best, while ignoring nearly all production conventions. I mean, McCartney wouldn't even use a mixing desk when recording this album! Those who mock McCartney's collaborations in dance music, should check out "Darkroom", where he seems to predict or inspire several of the common motifs of the genre. And "One Of These Days" is one of those songs that would have been legendary if it had finished a Beatles album.
I am still amazed at how many people hate this album, but in my opinion it is a corker. Ok, Maybe 'Frozen Jap' or 'Front Parlour', might not be your cup of tea, but otherwise, you are getting eight superb Macca songs that have no parallel. But those of you who prefer your Macca trying to turn slight songs into another anthemic "Hey Jude" may have no interest here...
on 9 September 2002
Another curate's egg from the back catalogue of a highly underrated (Beatles work obviously excepted) and insane pop genius. 'Coming Up' is a brilliantly executed stoopid pop moment, a masterpiece of homemade disco. 'Temporary Secretary', one of Macca's loopiest tunes, must be heard to be believed. 'Waterfalls' is a lovely yet also deranged ballad. There's some bluesier stuff hanging around which is okay but less interesting. The synth-dominated instrumentals on what used to be Side 2 suggest that the permanently surprised one had been cocking an ear to Bowie's Berlin trilogy, but of course McCartridge being pop's premier optimist they come out all bouncy and happy, like. 'Darkroom' is wicked too. Altogether a funny, inventive pop record from an artist unafraid to be very, very silly.
on 5 September 2007
Not your typical McCartney album,if your looking for pretty songs sung nicley forget it,`Yesterday`and `My Love`would not fit into this album at all,alot of electronic sounds,wierd voices and things that go bump in the night...ha ha ha...but when all said and done a brave and brilliant album,another reviewer said it was "his best solo album",well if it aint its dam near close to it,underated in my book,slated by the music critics but hey what do they know....not the place to start your McCartney collection,but when you got fed up with `Moon in June`...give it a try.....
One of the side-effects of the great success that The Beatles enjoyed was that it led them to believe they could release anything and it would find a willing audience. This attitude carried over into McCartney's solo work. Operating for most of the 1970's as his own producer and without anybody close to him to put the brakes on, he could easily go from the sublime Band On The Run to the ridiculous Mary Had A Little Lamb in a short space of time.
McCartney II, released in 1980, belongs to this same period. And in a way it's his last hurrah at putting out whatever he felt like, at least under his own name. In the future, experimental recordings would go out under aliases, such as The Fireman.
McCartney's next album, Tug of War (1982) would see him reunited with George Martin, and like the rest of his 80's albums and beyond, it would be solidly crafted, and therefore a little lacking in the wild and off the cuff moments that make McCartney II sometimes fascinating and sometimes just plain irritating.
The album yielded a couple of hit singles, Coming Up is a great slice of pop and Waterfalls is a lovely ballad, which he really needs to add into his live set.
A fairly unknown gem is the last track - One Of These Days - and Summer's Day Song is another strong song. Once you get past these, then your appreciation for the rest of the album may vary. The likes of Frozen Jap and Bogey Music are throwaway stuff which are impossible to imagine on Tug of War or Pipes of Peace.
Still we must be grateful that there was some sort of quality control in operation as some of the tracks included on the bonus disc - like Mr H Atom - are even less appealing.
A curate's egg then, but not without a certain wonky charm.
on 8 November 2015
In 1966/67 Paul McCartney considered putting out an album of experimental music entitled "Paul McCartney Goes Too Far", He told John Lennon of his intention and he told him "You should do it man", needless to say he didn't but some 14 years later he put this out, "McCartney II". Now we have this, the re-mastered issue with a bonus disc. This album is my all-time favourite McCartney album, I love it when Macca experiments a little, so as you can imagine I love the stuff he's done as the fireman and his twin freaks album. There is one song on this album that could've easily found itself on the white album had it been written then and that is the closing track "One Of These Days" (very blackbirdish..). The material on the
bonus disc can be found on various bootlegs, but the sound quality on this is far superior, my only critique is why include wonderful Christmastime?
inspite of this if you like to hear something a little different and quirky from McCartney then give this a spin
on 21 August 2012
I'd never heard this LP before and was gobsmacked by the brave diversion Macca takes. Obviously he is a man who can afford to take risks but he really pushes the envelope. Highly experimental throughout, with clear Karutrock and Dance Music/electronica influences. The bonus CD also contains some terrifically weird stuff.
on 18 June 2011
I first heard this album in the late 80's,when I was on my "voyage of discovery" of the beatles and everything connected with them.I have to say that at the time I was not impressed. Sandwiched between the underrated "Back To The Egg", and the superb "Tug of War" albums, this came as something of a shock. It started well with "Coming Up", (even John Lennon liked this one!), and then went into the almost unlistenable "Temporary Secratary". After that it was all downhill for my young ears! This album was the one I hated, and did not bother to purchase when the back catalogue was remastered in the early nineties. Flash forwars to 2011, and I decided to redress the balance, and fill the gap in my Macca collection, and take the plunge with this album! I was pleasantly surprised. Although it doesn't quite reach the heights of some of his other albums, there is much to enjoy on this. Tracks like "On the Way", and the closing track "One of these Days" bring back some of the vibe and feel of "Mcartney" and others like "Bogey Music" and "Darkroom" see Macca embracing the coming decade, synths and all. Maybe now, at the age of 41, I can see where he was coming from. The second disc has some outtakes and unrealeased tracks, the best of which are "Blue Sway" and "All You Horse riders" If you enjoyed Maccas last outing as the Fireman, Electric Arguments, then you should enjoy these. Overrall very impressed with these re-issues, although would have liked some sleeve notes, putting everything into context, and deatails of where the extra tracks came from. After the great treatment of the Band On The Run re-issue, is it to much to expect the same for the rest of the catalogue? Docked half a star for lack of sleevenotes! (Temporary Secratary is still a pile of c**p!)
on 27 April 2004
This is McCartney "messing about" and so is a bit patchy in my opinion. Itcame after the excellent ,but at the time much maligned album "Back to theEgg" and the high quality production of "Tug of War". This sounds likeneither. Here is my track by track analysis
1. Coming up - a crazy and somewhat successful single. Good fun and verylighthearted.
2. Temporary secretary - Sounds like the sequencer got stuck and Paulstrangely records something very very annoying.
3. On the way - OK - but mostly forgettable
4. Waterfalls - Could havebeen a Beatles song. Best on the album.
5. Nobody knows - A throwaway piece that sort of gets on your nerves aswell.
6. Front parlour - Lift music
7. Summer's day song - Nice and gentle and very nursery rhyme lyrics butstill has a lot of charm.
8. Frozen jap - Instrumental about life in prison ? More lift music.
9. Bogey music - Better than the Frog song .
10. Dark room - Another bit of leftfield pop and quite good.
11. One of these days - one of the best on the album,mellow and easy onthe ear with a catchy melody.
12. Check my machine - Instrumentalrubbish (previously a b-side)
13. Secret friend - ditto
This album is really a demo with a few polished tracks. However it reallywasn't meant to be a classic. It is Macca refusing to "play it safe" andtrying something a bit different. Does it work ?
For casual pop fans not really. For Macca/Beatles fans it's patchy.
This album to me is better considered along with McCartney's Firemanalbums or Thrillington LP. Unlike them though, this was commercial hit. Ithas it's moments but really lacks depth. Worth it though just to get"Waterfalls" and "Coming Up".