on 21 December 2008
i,d heard through the grapevine that this album was astounding, i read the reviews on amazon 1st,people seemed to be happy with it.so i thought i,d take a risk.got to say i would agree that its the most consistant album since band on the run.theres some modern beats,lots of enchantment.lovely melodies,it really works.i,m on my 10th listen in 3 days,i dont remember the last time i liked an album so much and i do have a good few thousand.Paul,you,ll soon have your missing millions back at this rate
Much as others who have already reviewed this album, I am a longtime Paul McCartney afficionado (you could say he's a Lifelong Passion of mine, in fact). I also have the first two Fireman albums in addition to his entire back catalogue.
This album is pretty far removed from his previous Fireman releases. It sounds a bit like the sounds he produced on Twin Freaks, which was remixes of some of his songs. Although there were some vocal sounds in parts of Rushes, this is the first Fireman release to include sung vocals. These are delivered in time to some really funky beats, much as you'd expect to hear in an achingly hip bar or club, and I am confident that this album will actually be played in such premises in the immediate future.
Despite his successes and the adulation and critical acclaim he has received throughout his career, McCartney is very insecure. He has said himself he feels more able to kick back and goof around and noodle with these Fireman projects and so this is Paul McCartney being relaxed, free and himself. Not that his other releases are not true to himself, but he has long been pigeonholed as some soppy balladeer and as such a one trick pony but of late, most notably and recently with Electric Arguments, he has proved this to be anything but the truth.
A highly recommended album which is getting a lot of positive feedback from all quarters, and one I'd recommend to any fans of Paul McCartney, and of ambient and dance music per se.
on 15 November 2008
Ok...I'll admit I'm a lifelong fan of Macca's output. Biased though I am, I will point to his mistakes, his halfhearted albums and indulgences. (and even when Macca gets it wrong he is never less than listenable - he is incapable of writing a boring tune) but this album - wow! He packs everything in here - soaring melodies, riffs to die for, bass lines heaven sent, and you know what - it's easily one of the most enjoyable albums of the year.
All this, plus Youth's production input give this album the rough around the edges quality of Macca's early solo work, but with the added benefit of keeping the whimsy to a minimum.
By turns frothy, rocky, spaced out, with more than a touch of the blues - this is wholly glorious !
This album makes me feel glad to be alive.
Paul has made a few - though not enough - truly great records since his Beatles days, including Flowers in the Dirt, Flaming Pie and Chaos and Creation...and this can be added to that illustrious list. (Never a fan of Wings, so haven't included any of their stuff.)
The combination of McCartney & Youth (who forever endeared himself to me when he produced the haunting Together Alone by Crowded House) is a potent and fruitful one.
The songs and semi-improvisations the two have come up with are never less than intriguing, sometimes breathtaking, occasionally beautiful.
The opener Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight is a five-minute stormer that puts you in the mood, and Two Magpies keeps up the interest and excitement. Travelling Light is the kind of gorgeous ballad at which Paul excels.
Other highlights include Dance 'Til We're High, Light From Your Lighthouse, Highway, and Sing The Changes, but even the least of these tracks - and they're not all quite so memorable by any means - is worth hearing.
With a big cheerful booklet full of pictures and photos, almost no info on tracks or even writing credits, and about an hour's playing time, this is one of the Fab One's most fascinating albums - for me it beats Ram or the overrated Band on the Run into a cocked hat.
Paul was always the innovator of the Beatles, John dabbling with songs like Walrus and Strawberry Fields, but one glance at their post-Beatles output shows Paul trying all kinds of things, while John (whom I otherwise loved) spent time either making derogatory songs about Paul, supposedly radical Christmas songs, the sadly misconceived Rock 'n' Roll debacle, or verging-on-the-twee stuff such as Woman and endless variations on Oh Yoko/Dear Yoko love songs, not to mention primal screams such as Mother, which I imagine even John's most diehard fans rarely if ever play any more.
Paul, lucky for him, has had longer. He's generally made the most of the fact, and a joyously musical foray like this one more than makes up for all the silly love songs and less than wonderful Christmastimes.
You just never know with Paul...
on 5 July 2013
This is an absolutely astounding album. I'm even more in awe of Macca's genius and I'm only annoyed it's taken me so long to get to hear this. Phenomenally brilliant and easily his best ever solo album. Some of the tracks would have graced the 'White Album'. Can not recommend highly enough. Truly magnificent - one of the best albums I've heard in years.
on 10 December 2008
Electric Arguments shows Paul McCartney at his eclectic best rocking out our aural senses with the fiery "Nothing too much, just out of sight" which can leave us guessing where all this pent up aggression and vitirol is coming from? whilst other tracks such as "Two Magpies" is a lovely basic song with added acoustic flavours backed up by Paul's singing which hasn't aged a bit from his day's as a Beatle and the other "Sing the changes" is very uplifting which carries on in a similar vien with "Highway".
His solo career has often been met with added scorn and amazement at times but nobody can ever say he has ever written a boring tune as there is none on here to moan about!
Looking through the booklet that accompanies the album its funny to see Paul letting himself go with a canvas and paintbrush like a kid in a candy shop making the artwork that's seen on this album which despite all the problems he faced with his now ex-wife its good to see him letting himself go to keep us happy.
on 5 April 2009
This is another classic from this most supremely gifted muso. A fan of his since I first heard Michelle as a youngster in 1966, McCartney never fails to please. The sheer diversity of sounds is really engaging and confirms yet again that McCartney really can keep pouring them out. Some have been less kind about his albums in recent years (Chaos in the backyard, and Memory Almost Full) claiming that McCartney is more constrained and almost up tight when releasing material under his own name, but I think The Fireman and these earlier releases just confirm his huge talent. Yes, I know I'm biased but what can you do? He turns out great music, and what's more, he's played many of the instruments himself.
on 31 January 2009
Have had this album on a loop on my iPod since it came out a couple of months ago. Whilst there's no doubt that 'Memory Almost Full' was a fine album, it was a slight disappointment after the wonders of 'Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard', possibly Macca's strongest album since the Fabs.
'Electric Arguments' raises the bar again. Macca's flirtations with experimental pop have met with varying degrees of success in the past - McCartney II, anyone? - but this album is a cracker from start to finish. Experimental, yet accessible. Rocking out, yet full of the sublime melodies and hooks we've come to expect from the master.
There are numerous highlights, but the standout track for me is 'Dance 'Til We're High', a track that's made me smile again and again as it builds and builds; its joyous refrains will have you tapping your feet, shaking your thing or singing along inappropriately on the tube or bus within a couple of listens.
There's plenty for the more traditional fans - for want of a better expression - to enjoy too.
The man's come in for plenty of criticism over the past couple of decades. Despite his detractors - or in spite of them - he's never stopped trying, never stood still. This album sees him moving into new territories again, but unlike the previous two Fireman albums, completely and triumphantly successfully.
My only criticism is of the fact that this has been released under the 'Fireman' moniker and has, chartwise, underperformed as a result. Make no mistake - this is a Paul McCartney album, and Paul McCartney at his best. Those looking for the 'Frog' song or 'Mull of Kintyre' should look elsewhere. Those looking to hear Macca at his eccentric and brilliant best should buy this now.
on 28 June 2012
The thoroughly splendid aspect to McCartney's post-Beatles career lies in its relative inessential nature. Whereas each Beatles release was An Event, a crucial part of the zeitgeist, a seismic shift in youth culture and all that balls, McCartney slings out an album every 18 months or so to little or no acclaim. The diehards snap 'em up, the rest of the world ignores them, thinking, "McCartney? What - 'Wonderful Christmas Time'? 'Ebony & Ivory'? Don't bother."
But in his forty years of post-Beatles record-making, amidst the dross and laziness, the misfires and wrong turns, there are buried shiny wonders, flowers in the dirt. Why are they left untouched? Is it because the critical consensus is that McCartney is creatively past his best? Or that the public perception of him is of a tight-fisted multi-zillionaire, churning out the oldies, shaking his dyed top o' mop like some animated relic, his perpetual thumbs-up the rock equivalent of the Queen's wave?
Well, all that stuff is irrelevant because, in the end, it's the music that remains and that's what matters. I'm no McCartney expert, I couldn't list all the records he's made in the order of release, but out of curiosity (which is the best way to approach McCartney's catalogue, maybe) I bought his 'Run Devil Run' album of hastily-recorded rock'n'roll covers and I was deeply impressed and entertained. His love of, and attachment to, his musical roots was infectious. This was no contract-filler by some old cynical hack. (You know he's not in it for the money - he's already got the money.) And I thought, "OK, you know where you're from but where are you going? Are you resting on your laurels or trying to do something new, something else?" And that's what brought me to getting 'Electric Arguments'.
Although a collaboration between McCartney and Youth, it's not apparent where the creative interaction lies. Maybe Youth's role is to give shape and purpose to McCartney's noodles and doodles. If so, he's probably the best producer McCartney's had. The album cover is a detail of a sloppy painting by the duo and this is a perfect representation of the music. Opener 'Nothing too much just out of sight' is a variation of Zappa's 'Willie The Pimp' riff with McCartney seemingly shouting (in a cod-blues holler) random phrases, and from there we're taken on a magical musical tour, with short stops to take in psychedelia, 70s stadium rock, lullabyes, Beck-like country, Spectoresque pop, new age. McCartney, however, is no tourist. He OWNS this land.
The implication of the cover (and booklet) art is that McCartney has abandoned any desire to paint masterpieces and contents himself with scribbles, but what he (and Youth) have produced is a series of abstract sketches, childlike wonders produced by a master's hand.
on 6 September 2009
McCartney once threatened to write songs about Heather Mills and the divorce.Fortunately he didn't apart from the one which opens up this new album -Nothing's too much.
As a song its not that easy to get into as it seems to alternate 2 different time signatures but this is one where McCartney uses his manic voice full of anger as he sings this song of betrayal
However the new McCartney album will miss the mainstream market because its credited to the Fireman or his alter ego which has already seen a couple of albums of ambient music created electronically.
Here though its all vocals apart from one item and less than half the songs are not even electronic.
What we have here is a pot pourri of all the different strands of music McCartney has been making for over 40 years.
Electric Arguments demands to be listened to for the simple reason that something new is always coming around you missed first time round.Its like Sgt Pepper where the link grooves were used for sound effects-here are bells ringing,dogs barking,foghorns and birds singing thrown into the mix
A brief run down of the songs for this album which took 13 days to write and produce
Nothing's too much-an angry sounding barb directed at Heather Mills and whick kicks the album off to a solid rocking start
Two magpies-A complete contrast as this song is acoustic and has shades of Blackbird
-at 2 mins 12 sec. its the shortest one
Sing the changes-A celebration of life itself as McCartney gets Mills out of his system
Travelling light-Borrowing a Cliff Richard title this is a Christmas sounding song which doesn't mention anything seasonal.Its not the first time McCartney has appropriated We Three Kings of Orient Are-others that come to mind are Once upon a long ago and Winter Rose.This is also the first here to use any electronic sounds as a mellotron imitates a flute
Highway-by McCartney's standards the most ordinary sounding song which is no more than predictable rock band sounds of the 70s.Could have fit easily on Band On The Run
Light from the Lighthouse-Gospel sounding and a reminder of McGuiness Flint (A now forgotten band who were founded by 2 ex Apple songwriters)
Sun is shining-Out of tempo acoustic opening with a "na na na" chorus and a reminder of all the songs the Beatles did about the Sun
Dance till we're high-here McCartney shows that Phil Spector never did anything anyone else couldn't have done.No instruments are credited here-just "programmers"
Lifelong Passion-straight ahead love song with psychedelic sounds.The Beatles actually invented the idea of psychedelic music.An insidious sound which makes use of a favourite McCartney trick-that of repetition (Hey Jude,Long haired lady)
Is this love-Again psychedelic but with a strong Irish influence as the mellotrons again imitate flutes.What you could call Psychedeliceltica!
Lovers in a dream-Opening up with what is either a foghorn or a cow mooing before a drum machine enters and a "lyric" which is no more than the title.As a song it seems to be based on one chord-an idea Lennon once had at the time of Revolver
Universal here Everlasting now-A Beethoven piano sonata being tinkled in the next apartment before a dog interupts and barks then its the drum machine again and we hear a voice counting in a la I saw her standing there.This instrumental then ends up as it began
Don't stop running-At 10 mins 30 secs.this is the longest track yet in a sense the oddest as McCartney uses his falsetto voice before the song begins -a song with a Gregorian sound to it and with again minimal and repetitive lyric.At 5.50 the music fades and over 2 minutes silence follows.Which means that if this track had been on Abbey Road it would have been the Ultimate Paul Is Dead clue (the penultimate track on Abbey Road was actually a few seconds silence)
Here its hardly worth letting it run as some ambient sounds then enter which sound like one of those Relaxion CDs has somehow managed to get into the studio