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Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard [CD + DVD] Limited Edition
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Vinyl, 3 Oct 2005
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Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard, Paul McCartneys 20th studio recording since The Beatles, marks an end to a nearly four-year hiatus since his last studio recording, 2001s platinum certified Driving Rain. The new 13-track album is co-produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Travis and Beck) and McCartney, and was recorded in London and Los Angeles over the course of the past two years
Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard is a return to the basics for McCartney. The album successfully fuses his undeniable song writing talents with his unparalleled musicianship. In fact, McCartney is credited with playing the majority of the instruments on the album, which is somewhat reminiscent of McCartney when he was credited with playing all of the instruments. They include the drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, as well as many of the less traditional instruments such as block flute, harmonium and flugelhorn.
Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard is a mix of up-tempo piano driven McCartney instant classics such as the new single "Fine Line" and "Promise To You Girl" and more introspective darker tracks such as "At The Mercy", "Too Much Rain" and "Riding To Vanity Fair". One of the many highlights is a track entitled, "Jenny Wren", which Paul describes as "daughter of Blackbird", as well as "Follow Me", which McCartney debuted at The Glastonbury Festival, while on his 04 Summer European Tour.
This special edition features: a 30 minute documentary; a video performance of "Fine Line" in Dolby 5.1; "Line Art", a 12 minute animated film inc. 3 instrumentals; How Kind of You, a 5 minute menu.
Sir Paul is an elder statesman now, but Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard finds McCartney in considered and tastefully restrained form--dignfied and old--penning songs worthy of his finest hour. McCartney crafts this collection of songs with exquisite balance, lining up haunting chimes and heartfelt lyrics ("Riding to Vanity Fair") alongside pounding "Hey Bulldog"-esque chords and eerily Beatles-ish multi-tracked vocals ("Promise to You Girl", "Fine Line") and, most impressively, distinctively new yet timeless gems of songcraft ("Anyway", "Jenny Wren"). Emotionally, the songs on Chaos and Creation manage to avoid being mired in over-sentimentality while retaining a powerful, understated sincerity. Poignant though it is, however, this record is essentially positive and hopeful: Sir Paul's playfulness beams through in his intonation which picks up a line such as "It's not right/In your life/Too much rain" and breathes life and optimism into its words. "English Tea" completes the package, an unrepentantly twee serving of Anglo-nostalgia with recorder.
Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard displays the full range of Sir Paul McCartney's inimitable talent, presenting listeners with one of his finest solo albums. -- Jonathan Davies
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Top customer reviews
They were dead right. I could go on and on exalting the varous tracks but this would be spoiling it for you. It really is a great album and the dvd is a bonus and worth the extra money. So just go out and buy it. Vintage McCartney at his very best. You won't be disappointed !!!
Only an individual with the clothiest of cloth ears could listen to Chaos and Creation and fail to be impressed and moved by it. You will struggle to find more than one or two records genuinely as good as it in 2006.
Macca's Achilles heel has always been his tendency to release too much material. Someone once opined that he should have released only about one third as much music as he did, holding back the reams of weaker songs that might have been good enough for most artists, but which were unworthy of a Beatle. Releasing only the very best of his solo compositions would have seen him maintain the Olympean standards set by the Beatles.
The impact of his best work has sometimes been diminished because so much of the material on the same album was weak. A good example is "With a Little Luck" on London Town: a truly great song, well beyond the capability of just about anyone else you care to name. The preceding and following songs on London Town were mediocre at best, and somehow this makes "With a Little Luck" seem less great than it really is. Admittedly, the opposite effect was common on Beatles records. "Oh, Darling" probably seems better than it is for having been on Abbey Road.
Chaos and Creation is excellent from start to finish. It is similar in some ways to its strong predecessor, Driving Rain, but the melancholic tone of Chaos and Creation is more potent, somehow, than the harder Driving Rain sound. I feel that Chaos and Creation is a cousin of Beck's superb "Sea Change". Something about the mood and the sonic landscape, particularly in the second half of Chaos and Creation, reminds me of this record.
The song that stands out on the first listen is "Jenny Wren", which everyone compares to Blackbird, even though the resemblance is fairly superficial. It's a fantastic song, but subsequent listens reveal that at least as fantastic are the likes of "Riding to Vanity Fair" (reminds me of Beck's "Round the Bend"), "A Certain Softness" (delicate and nuanced), Follow Me (so very simple, yet hugely uplifting), and Anyway (again, simple and uplifting).
These are among my personal favourites, but really there are no weak tracks.
A bonus: The instrumental postscript to the album is pure Macca too - a string of short musical ideas that convey playfulness, humour and the simple joy of composing and playing that has always been one of the man's most appealing characteristics.
With not a single weak track on the album this is a very strong solo release, and the fact that almost everything is recorded by Paul McCartney himself gives it the sort of home-made charm as his debut solo record. If you’re looking for easy melodic pop songs then this album isn’t for you, instead this is a mature collection of interesting tracks that grow on the listener. Good stuff.
NB: The bonus version with the extra DVD is worthwhile, as this is a good in-depth behind the scenes look at each track on the album, while the Japanese import also contains the bonus track She Is So Beautiful.
A beautiful personal album and as someone else stated, it contains Jenny Wren, probably his best composition for many years.