7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
This is a good album. If not quite great, it certainly contains many glimpses of this man's greatness, more so than the last album in my opinion. 'Chaos' seemed to see McCartney to quote Mrs Thatcher's famous quote of the Liberal Party playing the fuddled fiddle in the muddled middle". Here McCartney storms back with a much more personal and focused album, despite being a mixture of new and four year old material. For example the falsetto ballad You Tell Me' is similar to Chaos' Jenny Wren" but is more moving because it is written in the first person rather than about some Wren character...the sort which Lennon hated... 'he makes them up like a novelist' he remarked with some disdain in 1980. The lyrics here are not brilliant but at least they serve some purpose!
'Only Mama Knows' is the best rocker he has produced since....since 'Old Siam Sir' probably. And that was 28 years ago! It's a great rocker and deserves the Plastic Ono Band instruction to Play Loud! 'Mr Bellamy' is impressive whimsical McCartney. Third party lyrics maybe but the musical wackiness make up for this. The opener 'Dance Tonight' is proof conclusive that you don't need more than three chords to make a good song. Like Status Quo at their best. Although I can hardly imagine them covering this one! No this one is uniquely Mccartney, although will somone please tell me the difference between a mandolin used here and a ukekele used to such effect by McCartney at the Concert For George concert?
The best track here for me is 'That Was Me'. Great melody and great vocals both in the first two verses and then in the screaming final verse. This one will bring a smile to your face. Like Dylan on his superb last album, these elder statesmen have still got what it takes. Which is supremely pleasing. 'Cos I was starting to wonder about Paul comparing his last album to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan's latest. I needn't have worried. After listening to this track one can not help but mourn the fact that there are only two Beatles alive on this planet. Someone give me a Tardis quick to see what John and George are up to! 'House Of Wax' is also very moving with very distinctive McCartney guitar, reminiscent of the solo on 'Once Upon A Long Ago' from 1987. 'Vintage Clothes' on first listening is an oddity but now is a fine track. Original. And that's not easy from someone who's been doing this for 45 years.
'Gratitude' is the weak link here. Pretty disposable unfortunately, despite a passionate vocal which cannot lift this song above mediocrity. The backing vocals are just annoying. But the album closes with 'End Of The End' and 'Nod Your Head' which see Paul at two ends of his musical scale. The former is a decent ballad about death which is not quite the classic it could be. 'Nod Your Head' is amusing, reminds me of 'Rinse The Raindrops' from Driving Rain (2001). I couldn't help wondering if the lyric 'better than staying in bed' was a belated dig at John and Yoko. Or maybe it was just a line to rhyme with Nodd Your Head.
Who cares? I think that John Lennon would find this album eminently listenable. Who knows what he might have accomplished had he not been shot by The Biggest Loser? But at least we have a decent Paul album in 2007. That is a cause for celebration. And the bass paying by the way is a tour de force on many tracks. I think someone may have reminded him that this is one of his greatest qualities. Worth buying for the bass playing on 'That Was Me' alone.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Apr 2008 12:34:15 BDT
M. G. Abbott says:
Yet another classic Heaton review - the only person I know who feels the need for the 'Mrs' in Mrs Thatcher
Posted on 3 Feb 2009 17:26:43 GMT
Mr Heaton asks, "..will someone please tell me the difference between a mandolin used here and a ukekele?"
A mandolin has eight strings made of steel or copper-wound steel. They are tuned in pairs (as on a twelve-string guitar) The tuning corresponds to violin tuning; i.e G-D-A-E. Chord shapes for the mandolin are like upside-down fingerings of the same chord played on the lowest four strings of a guitar. A ukelele has four strings made of nylon or catgut. The tuning is usually either F-Bb-D-G or E-A-C#-F#. This means that uke chord shapes are similar to guitar shapes without the two lowest strings, albeit transposed by two or three semi-tones.
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2009 17:35:27 GMT
John Heaton says:
Cheers...good to know, thanks!
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