13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Tug Of War (Audio CD)
This album was so welcome in 1982, especially given Lennon's tragic and untimely killing and because we heard it was Paul on his own, not like on 'McCartney 2' but with a proper solo album with other musicians, free of any limitations which Wings had placed upon him. Whatever they were. But in any event, expectations were high. And on this record, McCartney did not disappoint. It is a fine record.
But is it any better than Wings? Probably not. For McCartney was the driving force behind every Wings album anyway. And here he substitutes the occasional Denny Laine vocal with guest appearances from Stevie Wonder and Carl Perkins. And here it works because it is a novelty. Collaborations with Michael Jackson or Eric Stewart would stifle his later 1980s output. But at least here, the songs are good.
'Tug Of War' is the sublime opening title track. It is such a fine song, with a decent lyric (if only Lennon could have heard this one!) and a magestic tune. Denny Laine contributes guitar so it is almost a Wings track anyway. The next track 'Take It Away' was a single but is with hindsight at least a pretty unremarkable song. Despite Ringo's presence on drums. 'Somebody Who Cares' is a great McCartney ballad, complete with a finger picking acoustic guitar solo from the man himself. Then we have the first of the McCartney-Wonder collaborations 'What's That You're Doing' which is an enjoyable disco-ish number. Not great but enjoyable yes. And now we come to 'Here Today', McCartney's heartfelt tribute to his ex partner Lennon. Easily the best song on the album, and recently performed in concert as well, 20 odd years later. Here we have Paul showing more emotion and love for someone other than Linda for about the only time in his life. I would dismiss any cynicism here. This is a Love Song, for John Lennon. Who can fail to be moved?
'Ballroom Dancing' is a decent rocker which could have fitted well on the Back To The Egg final Wings album. But the ever present Denny Laine is present here so it again has a Wings quality to it. 'The Pound Is Sinking' is interesting but ultimately forgettable. Silly lyric.
But on the next track 'Wanderlust' McCartney produces his best ballad in many a year. And the counter melody singing is really great. This song is about the highlight of the album. The song with Carl Perkins 'Get It' is charming and works perfectly in this context. 'Dress Me Up As A Robber' is an ingenious song which shows that Paul could still be innovative when he wanted to be. Infectious. So we come to 'Ebony And Ivory', the duet with Stevie Wonder, which has invited as much ridicule as George Bush over the years. But it is a heartfelt song recorded by two great artists, black and white. I personally think this song is great, an important statement less than twelve months after the ugly Brixton riots in London of 1981. Paul: don't listen to those tedious critics of this song. It is good. It was an important and valid statement to make in 1982. So there. OK so it was simple. But it was heartfelt. And what's wrong with that? I'd like to know.
All in all, this album is more consistent than any other McCartney offering from the 1980s. 'Flowers In The Dirt' (1989) obviously runs it close. But in 1982, the world and certainly the Beatle community welcomed this commendable album with open arms. And I for one will still defend it to this day.
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Initial post: 16 Sep 2008 12:31:26 BDT
M. G. Abbott says:
Heartfelt Heaton, too. Yet another fine review. No wonder Paul McCartney holds in in such high regard.
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