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Patchy but interesting curio
on 6 October 2012
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.