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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone remember this one?
Press to Play is probably the least known of McCartney's solo works. He has recently been raising the profile of his 70's work with and without Wings, his early 80's material was very successful, and his work since 89's Flowers In The Dirt has been generally well received. Stuck in the middle of all this is Press To Play, with no big hit singles ('Press' barely made top...
Published on 10 Jun. 2001

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good....
When this first came out, in 1986, I was into buying cassettes. Always thought it was a pretty good album, and loved However Absurd in particular. Decided to upgrade to the CD reissue with the 2 bonus tracks when I saw it in a sale for a fiver. I hadn't realised that there were originally 13 tracks, as my old cassette only has 10. It seems the cassette short changed...
Published on 14 Jan. 2006


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone remember this one?, 10 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
Press to Play is probably the least known of McCartney's solo works. He has recently been raising the profile of his 70's work with and without Wings, his early 80's material was very successful, and his work since 89's Flowers In The Dirt has been generally well received. Stuck in the middle of all this is Press To Play, with no big hit singles ('Press' barely made top 20) and no critical reputation.
It is an album reminiscent of the similarly ignored Back To The Egg, in that it is an album where McCartney, sometimes rather clumsily admittedly, takes risks and experiments. You will not hear another track in his back catalogue like Pretty Little Head for example, and whether or not the experiment is successful we should be grateful that someone of Maccas vintage was still prepared to take risks.
There is much here worth revisiting, including the upbeat Stranglehold the rather bizarre Talk More Talk and the rocking Angry where McCartney is joined by guests including Phil Collins and Pete Townshend.
It doesn't all work so well, However Absurd for example has lyrics that strive for the surreality of classic Lennon but end up sounding just nonsensical. And there is something rather strained about the albums 'classic' ballad in Only Love Remains. While none of McCartneys solo albums are perfect, only a few commit the cardinal sin of not being interesting. Press To Play is certainly that, and much more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul at his best, 2 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
My first impression was "my god what has he done" but after listening to it for a couple of times it started to grow on me. Maybe reading IT by Stephen King at that same time had something to do with it. The music was complementary to the book. Weird and sometimes not of this world. Together with Ram, Flaming Pie and Back to the Egg this album shows Paul at his best. Written and performed together with Eric Steward this album is one of the best ever made. Press to Play is just as experimental as Revolver or Sgt Peppers' from his Beatles past. Maybe because there are no commercially attractive songs on it it was written off as bad by the so-called critics. If you only like the Macca of Silly Love Songs this one is not for you but if you want to hear what this guy is capable of buy it, listen to it and enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pressed To Find, 1 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Press to Play (Audio CD)
You'll be hard pressed to find this 1986 album by Paul McCartney, but it's kind of nice, especially on vinyl, because, in that format, you get a gatefold cover with interesting diagrams. The back cover tells us: "The images in the centre spread are stereo drawings made by Paul to pin-point the position, during mixing, of sounds in the stereo picture." CDs were just coming out at this point, and it's one of the last examples of album cover art. The front cover has a sepia portrait of Paul and Linda taken by George Hurrel "with the same box camera he used in Hollywood in the thirties."
This was an ambitious effort. Pete Townshend and Phil Collins play on this resord. Many of the songs were co-written with Eric Stewart, Anne Dudley did the orchestra arrangement for one song, and the album is co-produced with Hugh Padgham.
I recall that, at the time, Paul McCartney expressed dissatisfaction with the album and this may explain why it's not particularly well-known, even among serious fans.
The single, PRESS, didn't really demonstrate the sophisticated tone of the album. It and all the other tracks have the vocal too far back in the mix, which makes it hard to hear Paul's voice. This is a shame, because the lyrics are poignant and the singing is very controlled.
What seems to inform PRESS TO PLAY is a sense of the world's harshness. Here's a lyric which demonstrates this sense. It's from the song GOOD TIMES COMING/FEEL THE SUN: "There was a golden summer before the war/They laughed a lot that summer, lah de dah." It's not a sentimental song. It's about people having one last good time before world events turn everything upside-down.
People call this album experimental. I wouldn't say that. Yes, HOWEVER ABSURD makes use of the technique, often used by William Burroughs, of putting words together by snipping up a copy of a poem and piecing a new one together, but it's musically sturdy; not some alienating detour. I think it's good.
MOVE OVER BUSKER is happy and nostalgic, but it's also witty.
There's a detached quality to this album, but it sounds like an album. It captures a moment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE McCARTNEY VARIETY SHOW, 25 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
When this album was reissued as part of the McCartney Collection it had as a bonus 2 very strong items from singles of the time:Once upon a long ago-sounding more like a Christmas song than the 70s one specially made as such,and Spies Like Us,which is close to Live & Let Die,with quotes from James Bond and Peter Gunn.
Plus of course the original 13 track album which opens up with a song called Stranglehold as if its going to be Eddie Cochran.
Move over Busker is reminiscent of Smile Away (Ram) and drops in the name of Mae West,who,this time round,didn't have to give her permission (if anybody remembers her remarks about her Sgt Pepper sleeve representation).
Footprints is quite Beatlesque,so is the next song Only love remains.
The title PRESS TO PLAY is even more relevant nowadays:this is,in fact,how you listen to it on CD
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul pleases himself!, 6 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
This album was released two years after Paul's 1984 film "Give My Regards to Broad St." recieved a critical mauling. Perhaps after trying too hard to please everyone Macca retreated to the studio and for a change made music to suit himself. This is quite a bare and rough sounding record in places and certainly isn't what you might expect from a Paul McCartney album. Just one or two duff tracks here to my mind,"Move Over Busker" and the questionable remix of "It's Not True", of which I prefered the acoustic (b-side) version. See, I said that Macca made an album to please himself!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Songs, Distinctive Style, 11 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
I have a great fondness for this and Paul's next two studio albums, as they were the new ones when I was just getting into him and the Beatles. While those have a more Beatlesy 'every song different' approach, this has more of a slick 'house style', though hardly all the same.

Collaboration with Eric Stewart brings out some great songs here: 'Only Love Remains' is simply gorgeous and gorgeously simple, one of his best ballads of the 80s, with 'Footprints' one of his lesser ones; 'Angry' and 'Stranglehold' are great rockers; 'However Absurd' is a touch of creative big-production Beatles style for all of us who miss that, and to a lesser extent but still loving it, the same for 'Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun', which reminds me a bit of ELO's 'Concerto for a Rainy Day' (itself very Beatles in tone). There's more of a contemporary experimental vocal dub sound on some of the tracks - single 'Press' is probably the most successful of those, while 'Talk More Talk' doesn't have much to it and isn't very memorable... Then 'Pretty Little Head' gets better in the single version (ever on CD?), but, oh, Paul, the sexist lyrics. Never mind, he'll get much better. Finally, there's the lustily fun 'Move Over Busker', 'Spies Like Us', which overacts nearly as much as the movie, and the underrated 'Once Upon a Long Ago', to date his last top ten hit and a lovely melody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plenty to commend it, 6 Jan. 2013
By 
S. Turner "simon" (Timperley, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Press to Play (Audio CD)
The original cut of this album was simply 10 tracks. I bought the cassette in 1986 on the day of its release! This updated version adds some tracks which should never have seen the light of day and would not were it not for McCartney being the writer. A very different production feel to this compared to its predecessors. A friend dislikes it and there are some Marmite tracks, which you love or hate. I do one, my friend the other!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best McCartney solo album, 2 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Press To Play (Audio CD)
Despite the flak it usually gets, I consider "Press To Play" McCartney's best solo effort, but what do I know. It's the only one of his albums where I don't have to skip tracks since more or less everything is finished off with the same metallic mid-80s production, which makes for a unified sound, and provided you like that sound, you're likely to enjoy the album as a whole. Due to their generally darker and more experimenal nature, the songs are less convoluted and the "silly" factor is reduced to a minimum, the two upbeat rockers "Move Over Busker" and "Angry" excepted. Next to "Only Love Remains", the ingenious ballad that everyone raves about, there are several possibly less obvious gems such as the title track and the Talking Heads related "Talk More Talk". The single b-sides and the reworked "Pretty Little Head" are worth checking out too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars You've Gotta back The Mac..., 22 May 2010
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This review is from: Press to Play (Audio CD)
The eighties brought to bear a lot of mimsy electronic 'pop'. Macca avoided this and comes up with a great selection of songs, sonically weird enough to stay interesting after numerous listens. 'Footsteps in the Snow' is a lovely song beautifully sung by The Master. Clever pop, I'd call it...but then it did have contributions from Eric Stewart of 'Clever Pop' stalwarts, 10cc.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost McCartney Album, 19 Dec. 2006
By 
J. Whitworth (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Press to Play (Audio CD)
This is a weird one in a number of ways. Firstly, it tends to excite extreem opinions. Some people herald it as a lost classic with experimentalism Lennon is often praised for and a return to some serious rock and roll (Angry); but it must be said many people hate the album, accusing it of half-baked ideas and general soppiness. As ever, the truth is somewhere inbetween. The surprise is that while it lacks the killer Mccartney track and its main single (Press) is far from its best track, there is much here to enjoy. Pretty Little Head is wonderful - and had it been released by some Radiohead clone, would receive glowing reviews. Stranglehold has some superb guitar work and Footprints is as delicate and just plain lovely as anything else from the decade.

Of course, McCartney - like other 1960s icons such as Dylan and the Stones - had a pretty ropey 1980s; but this is a much stronger set that Pipes of Peace and rewards repeated listening. Sadly, the bonus tracks tend to dilute the album - and are best programmed out.

Worth the effort - and for the price, a great investment as most McCartney albums are (although I'd avoid Off the Ground like a plague carrying rat).

Give it a go.
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