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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
27
4.1 out of 5 stars
Press To Play
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 11 September 2017
1986 CD was king, a collector of all things McCartney I decided vinyl was obsolete.
2017 I, like many others have rediscovered vinyl.
I decided to fill the holes in my collection. This album was a major find, I'm sure the mixes vary from the CD and the shortened playlist helps to highlight the tracks that feature. Very pleased!!
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on 1 June 2017
Excellent
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on 2 February 2004
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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on 1 February 2004
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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on 10 June 2001
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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on 25 November 2005
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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on 11 September 2013
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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on 6 March 2003
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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on 19 November 2004
I bought Press to Play on it's day of release back in September 1986. I listened to it endlessly for three or four months then neglected it for 15/16 years. I have to say time has not treated it that well. Bits of it are a bit embarrassing for a Beatle fan in 2004. Talk More Talk is one of McCartney's most cringeworthy efforts and Move Over Busker is not much better. With the exception of the excellent (in my opinion) Stranglehold and Good Times Coming/Feel The Sun, there is is little here to get excited about. For Beatles/McCartney completists like myslef only.
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on 6 January 2013
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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