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Accomplished and Mature - How To Write Songs,
This review is from: Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (Audio CD)
Chaos and Creation finds McCartney ageing like a quality wine, there to be enjoyed by those who recognise a good song when they hear one and for those who can appreciate the skills in writing memorable melodies and thought-provoking (usually personal) lyrics. The album shows a maturity in McCartney's songwriting knowing for once when to leave things out as opposed to trying to cram everything in.
No lush George Martinesque strings on here, although there are a few George Martin moments especially on the bridge during Follow Me and in the twee nostaligia of English Tea (where you can visualise McCartney's smug smile when he plonks his finger on that final piano note 'There, that's how you do it').
The strings are, especially during the haunting yet beautiful Riding To Vanity Fayre more akin to those used on Lennon's Imagine album, there to create a sense of well, suspense, of something sinister lurking in the background. They may carry a heaviness from Paul's own heart, a sigh at some of the images that must have been going through his mind when he wrote and recorded this album (John, George and Linda to name but three).
Infact, there's quite a bit of looking back on this album. Promise To You Girl sounds as though it should have been on the b-side to Red Rose Speedway, the guitar tone being almost identical to that played on the closing medley. And the backing vocals hark back to Abbey Road almost sounding too 'John and George'.
Fine Time is a grower really getting into its element during the instrumental break where the organ comes in. Jenny Wren could be a Double White out-take. The choice of duduk as an instrument is inspired, sounding half musical instrument, half human voice. Again it's haunting and brings a slightly disturbing feel to the song.
For me though, the finest songs are left to the end. This Never Happened Before was 'the missing Abbey Road Macca ballad'. The big key change hits you in the heart and McCartney sings this with real meaning, almost a yearning sounding both surprised and yet regretful. An astonishing track.
Likewise Anyway the album's closing track proper. Beautiful, sincere and yet with a degree of sadness. You can see Paul sat at the piano playing but his eyes are askance, looking far away, possibly into the past, but arguably into the future.
Chaos and Creation is a wonderful piece of work that finds McCartney for once maybe facing up to facts that he's not getting any younger and that sadly, of all the Beatles, only he and Ringo are still with us.
In being in a reflective and possibly sombre mood, Paul has written an album from the heart and in producer Michael Goodrich, has found someone to put those feelings onto record without the need to overdress any of those songs.