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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 December 2007
Most people seem to agree on this album being a bit uneven. That has often been the problem with sir Paul McCartney. He wants to make a new album, but he's only got six or seven good songs. So instead of waiting till he's got material enough for the masterpiece he could create, he just throws in a bunch of fillers to complete the album.
But nevertheless, most of his albums still have good tunes enough to make them worthwhile. As in this case. But he could have used "Ode to a koala bear" (B-side of "Say say say" single) instead of one of the duller songs here.
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on 28 March 2005
I bought this album when it came out, played it endlessly and defended it against my university friends who for some reason were more interested in Duran Duran or Simple Minds.
Twenty two years later I will be less generous. It has not really aged very well this collection, with of course a few exceptions. 'Say Say Say' is for example annoyingly lightweight and whilst it was great to see McCartney at No 2 in the singles charts, one feels that there was a touch too much compromise to commercialism in making this happen. It is almost as if Paul had seen the latter Wings efforts sell none too well and then made a conscious decision to collaborate with other stars to regain his rightful position on the hit parade. As if he needed to or as if his fans really wanted him to. The collaborations with Stevie Wonder on 'Tug Of War' at least were either funky or meant something lyrically. Yes I am one of the few who are prepared to stand up for 'Ebony And Ivory' without resorting to cynicism. But here with 'Say Say Say' and the marginally better 'The Man' McCartney collaborates with Michael Jackson on two songs whose lyrics are amongst the most futile and weedy ever to come from his pen. And we won't talk about the annoying video to the former.
'The Other Me' contained what I thought at the time was a really bad line. 'I acted like a dustbin lid', to rhyme with 'treating you the way I did'. God how bad is that? Even after I discovered that dustbin lid might be cockney rhyme for kid, it still seemed an unfortunate attempt at humour to say the least. The track itself is not bad actually and comes as quite a relief after 'Say'. 'Keep Under Cover' is quite interesting musically, if not lyrically. 'Sweetest Show In Town' is mediocre and sounds like the Tug Of War leftover which it is. 'Tug Of Peace' is quite a clever follow up to 'Tug Of War' but again is only interesting for its unusual instrumentation.
I have deliberately left the best tracks til last as there is always something good on any McCartney album. Even 'Press To Play' (1986).
'Average Person' is thoroughly Ram-ish in its feel and the lyric, although trite is at least quite amusing. It even drew a favourable comment from my Dad which is pretty rare I can tell you! 'So Bad' is nearly a top drawer McCartney ballad. The falsetto vocal works pretty well but at the end of the day is no substitute for his normal range (nor was it on 'Girlfriend' (1978), another half forgotten McCartney gem). The title track 'Pipes Of Peace' is a pretty fine piece of work, although after that opening 20 seconds ('I light a candle to your love....') expectations were of something altogther more monumental! But as it is, it is good. It means something. And the video for this, in the trenches of World War One' works exceptionally well.
The final track 'Through Our Love' is again almost a McCartney classic. Good melody, heartfelt lyric (if sentimental, but what's wrong with that?). But there is something, almost indefinable, which is missing.
With hindsight this album can be seen as a disappointing follow-up to 'Tug Of War'. And McCartney would then get worse with 'Broad Street' (1984), 'Press To Play' (1986) and a couple of mediocre singles. Of which 'No More Lonely Nights is Not one I hasten to add. But it wasn't until 1989 with 'Flowers In The Dirt' that we saw the McCartney magic on display again, at least with any consistency. It is ironic that of his post Wings records this is probably the most successful in chart terms. His last two albums for example 'Flaming Pie' (1997) and 'Driving Rain' (2001) sold disappointingly. But are both an awful lot better than 'Pipes Of Peace'.
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on 14 May 2005
I love tug of war and pipes of peace, and cannot see why this album is panned by the critics. On a purely melodic level, this is a sublime album. Listen to 'through our love', what a beautiful song and what a string section that really grabs you emotionally. And as for 'so bad' what a touching track! I love all the songs on here. There is none of that rubbish experimentation from McCartney 2 and not even a duff song, as was the case with tug of war (What you're doing'. Ignore the criticisms of the people here. If you are after the more melodic side of McCartney and are after the ballads he did so well, pick this one up!
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on 6 August 2012
I liked this LP when it came out because it had that slick mid-80s sound that seemed good to my teenage ears and it made Macca sound current. Now it's almost unlistenable. The title track starts and ends well but there's an oompah-reggae sound on the verses that's terrible. So Bad is abysmal and makes My Love sound like Maybe I'm Amazed. Average Person is an extreme example of what John Lennon attacked as Paul's songs about boring people leading boring lives. Say Say Say is still catchy I have to admit and so is The Man but the glossiness of the production makes them indigestible. The rest is highly produced filler. Much of the LP was recorded in the Tug of War sessions but Paul and George Martin used up the best songs on that much better album. George should have told him to go away and write some new songs.
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on 20 November 2001
This is my favourite McCartney album before Flaming Pie. He was obviously fired up to make some really growing stuff when lovestruck king of camp Michael Jackson agreed to work with him on two songs. 60's/70's genius meets Jacko. Aside from Say Say Say and the title track, you can't listen to Keep Under Cover and The Man without smiling. It's the kind of record where, the more you listen to it, the more sweet ad libs and production gems you notice.As ultmately satisfying as that immense Wings mullet.
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on 25 January 2000
Pipes of Peace is a melodic joy. Ignore the slightly cringey lyrics that pepper the songs and just relish the tunes. You are probably familiar with the catchy single releases (Pipes of Peace and Say Say Say) but other jewels that never made it to an A-side include the infectiously upbeat The Man (another collaboration with Jackson) and the sweepingly powerful Through our Love. The jaunty Sweetest Little Show is also an ear-catcher. This was the first album I ever bought, and 17 years on I still listen to it!
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on 4 March 2004
It comes to something when Pipes of Peace and Say Say Say are the best things on an album.
This is McCartney at his blandest, the experimentation of McCartney II a distant memory, the melody of Tug of War impossible to recapture after that sucessful album.
I really want to like Pipes of Peace, McCartney is still under-rated by many people who cannot see him as the driving force behind the Beatles (which he clearly was), and the creator of some brilliant music post-Beatles - but I just don't.
There is nothing to dig your teeth into, even after several listens, even with an open mind, even with a clear love of Paul's music. The best thing on this album is the Frog Song bonus track, which again most people chastise, kind of missing the point that it is a song for children, and as such is very sucessful.
You get the impression that McCartney was writing the lyrics before the music, trying to fit music around the words. Whilst this works for many artists (Elton John), Paul's major gift is for improvised, beautiful melody, unconstained. Pipes of Peace is poor primarily because it just SOUNDS like someone trying to make up a tune as they read a set of lyrics. Paul is better than this.
I would strongly suggest avoiding this album, and getting instead Tug of War, which is a much better bet.
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on 2 February 2013
I'm not really a great fan of Paul McCartney, but I am a great fan of good music. To me, this album was a departure from most of the mainstream stuff he has done and exhibited his real talent as both a composer and a performer. Perhaps the Michael Jackson influence on the album had a part to play in this.
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on 29 May 2001
Just as McCartney was building up a head of steam and recovering his critical credentials, he released Pipes of Peace...
Over the previous few years, with Back to The Egg, McCartney II and Tug of War, Paul had proven that he was still relevant, innovative and able to write some of the best pop hooks around. All three are essential additions to anyone with even a passing interest in what the Beatles did next.
Then came Pipes of Peace. Recorded in the main alongside Tug of War it sounds like exactly what it is, a collection of tracks not good enough to appear on that great album. The lyrics are beyond embarrasing (on one track Paul apologises for 'acting like a dustbin lid'), and the tunes are trite and lacking in invention.
There's no denying the catchiness of the title track and Say, Say, Say, but along with the rest of the album they just don't cut it from a man who is probably the finest songwriter of his generation.
It's at times like these that you wish McCartney had found another foil after splitting with Lennon, someone big enough to tell him when he was wasting his time and destroying his credibility which he did in abundance here.
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on 7 April 2008
an inconsistant album - some true mccartney classics,and some mediocre fillers.

people know enough about the title track and "say say say".both strong numbers."the other me" sounds like one of paul's functional b sides."keep under" cover is ace guitar riffs reminiscant of wings - the kaiser chiefs achieved the same sound with "ruby"."so bad" is a cracking song/performance - (however the version on give my regards to broad street is even better)."average person",sounds like a "rutles" style parody of a mccartney song !"hey,hey" sounds like a mid-eighties style ry cooder instrumental - probably not acceptable to music critics for a macca album - but i like it !finally "through our love" is one of his best ballads in the true macca tradition.great sir george arrangement.heart rending,stirring melody and key changes.i love this song.

the album is a little patchy,but still a must if you are a genuine paul mccartney fan.
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