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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2007
This album has the song "Nobody knows", which is as close as McCartney gets to saying nobody really knows what life is all about. And he says he likes not knowing. There is also a Golden Slumbers, nursery style song with lyrics "The world will soon be waking to a summer's day": Read "our present miserable nightmare of consciousness is but a dream". But he never is quite saying that because Paul McCartney is aspiritual. His spirit is entirely in his music and sometimes the lightness of it makes it depressingly unprofound. So there is a kind of fun immaturity mixed with traces of melodic splendour that drift about inside him. As he said in a song not on this album "What have those songs got to do with me?"
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on 5 September 2007
Not your typical McCartney album,if your looking for pretty songs sung nicley forget it,`Yesterday`and `My Love`would not fit into this album at all,alot of electronic sounds,wierd voices and things that go bump in the night...ha ha ha...but when all said and done a brave and brilliant album,another reviewer said it was "his best solo album",well if it aint its dam near close to it,underated in my book,slated by the music critics but hey what do they know....not the place to start your McCartney collection,but when you got fed up with `Moon in June`...give it a try.....
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2011
Whoever said that out of the two reissues McCartney and McCartney II, that this is the best of the two needs their ears cleaned out. Where McCartney is an absolute classic, this is a pleasant enough album - most notable for how experimental it is rather than the music itself. There is some great stuff on here though and the sound quality of these remasters is superb. I'm a McCartney fan and I love this album - I think the only other Macca album it resembles is Press to Play as both rely on unusual and surreal soundscapes, but if you're not a fan they you may be better avoiding this and checking out the more accessible stuff first, but McCartney becomes addictive and you will want to get this one eventually.
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on 12 March 2017
This album shows Paul McCartney can do anything in music. Some songs ahead of its time. Dark room has an early drum and bass rift. secret friend definitely has the foundations of Paul's fireman work. Has classics like coming up and waterfalls. Bonus vinyl great like all his archive material. Eventually got off the shelf and released 37years later. Just a waste until now.
If you like Paul's fireman and twin freaks albums then buy this.
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on 3 September 2011
It's good to be thrown off balance every once in a while and this record certainly dose that! Before this, I'd only really heard stuff like "Flaming Pie" and "Flowers in the Dirt" - both containing great tunes but nothing quite as daring or uninhibited as this record. It seems that when McCartney is not thinking about the final outcome and just allows his mind to wonder and be excited by the process of making music (he never meant to put this out) that he comes up with stuff as original (and frankly barmy) as Temporary Secretary or Frozen Jap. The single 'Coming Up' has such a great feel to it because it is not polished! Yet he is still capable of excellent musicianship (his electric guitar playing interests me far more than say, Eric Clapton) and writes exquisite ballads like the closing track or Waterfalls. Sod the fact it's slightly self indulgent - it's called being highly creative! (and not always churning out schmaltz) A hidden gem of an album.
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on 13 June 2001
Following his last ditch attempt to make Wings fly, here we see him return to the simplicity and quirkiness of his first solo record. He writes, produces, plays all the instruments and even makes the tea on this rather patchy affair.
On the plus side there are some fantastic ballads on board in Waterfalls, and the lesser known but far more effective One of These Days. There are some great rockers too with the hit single Coming Up and the unsung On The Way, which is an undiscovered gem.
Unfortunately there is also some of the niff naff and trivia which often make up the nether regions of McCartneys solo albums. Bogey Music is as worrying as it's title and much of the second side is a little bland - although the instrumentals are at least very pretty.
It's another case of McCartney not coming up with the expected and that in itself is to be applauded. This is even more noticeable on this reissue which has the long experimental synth workouts that were oringinally B-Sides to the attendant singles (Secret Friend is strangely exuberant - if a little long!).
McCartney was going through a very productive period around this time, as this album is flanked by the brilliant Back to The Egg and the pop mastery of Tug Of War. The quality here outways the filler by a fair ratio, and this is an album well worth further investigation.
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One of the side-effects of the great success that The Beatles enjoyed was that it led them to believe they could release anything and it would find a willing audience. This attitude carried over into McCartney's solo work. Operating for most of the 1970's as his own producer and without anybody close to him to put the brakes on, he could easily go from the sublime Band On The Run to the ridiculous Mary Had A Little Lamb in a short space of time.

McCartney II, released in 1980, belongs to this same period. And in a way it's his last hurrah at putting out whatever he felt like, at least under his own name. In the future, experimental recordings would go out under aliases, such as The Fireman.

McCartney's next album, Tug of War (1982) would see him reunited with George Martin, and like the rest of his 80's albums and beyond, it would be solidly crafted, and therefore a little lacking in the wild and off the cuff moments that make McCartney II sometimes fascinating and sometimes just plain irritating.

The album yielded a couple of hit singles, Coming Up is a great slice of pop and Waterfalls is a lovely ballad, which he really needs to add into his live set.

A fairly unknown gem is the last track - One Of These Days - and Summer's Day Song is another strong song. Once you get past these, then your appreciation for the rest of the album may vary. The likes of Frozen Jap and Bogey Music are throwaway stuff which are impossible to imagine on Tug of War or Pipes of Peace.

Still we must be grateful that there was some sort of quality control in operation as some of the tracks included on the bonus disc - like Mr H Atom - are even less appealing.

A curate's egg then, but not without a certain wonky charm.
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on 9 September 2002
Another curate's egg from the back catalogue of a highly underrated (Beatles work obviously excepted) and insane pop genius. 'Coming Up' is a brilliantly executed stoopid pop moment, a masterpiece of homemade disco. 'Temporary Secretary', one of Macca's loopiest tunes, must be heard to be believed. 'Waterfalls' is a lovely yet also deranged ballad. There's some bluesier stuff hanging around which is okay but less interesting. The synth-dominated instrumentals on what used to be Side 2 suggest that the permanently surprised one had been cocking an ear to Bowie's Berlin trilogy, but of course McCartridge being pop's premier optimist they come out all bouncy and happy, like. 'Darkroom' is wicked too. Altogether a funny, inventive pop record from an artist unafraid to be very, very silly.
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on 17 January 2008
After a chance encounter with Temporary Secretary on the radio 1 i thought it was a new release! I was shocked to find this record recorded by Macca and being almost 30 years old.

Judging this album in its own right, it is fantastic. There is the pioneering electronica and sheer madness of Temporary Secretary, Secret Friend and Check My Machine, mellow blues on On the Way, Coming Up is a fun and upbeat number, whilst Waterfalls, One of these Days and Summers Day Song are decent ballads, Beatles-esqe if you like! Darkroom wouldnt seem too out of place on a Gorillaz album, the sheer variety on McCartney II means it probably has something to please everyone. If you are expecting to hear the Beatles, Wings or similar you'll want to ignore 80% of this album, but if you want 14 quality songs with about 5 different genres thrown in, this album is for you. If you've never bought a McCartney solo album before i definitely recommend this! Truly outstanding.
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on 23 December 2005
McCartney II, it's Macca, by himself, writing music that nobody else could. I don't think there is any attempt to be trendy or particularly stylelized, or keep up with the new wavers or punks. I think the blight of McCartney's career has been people trying to second guess or expect a certain type of product from him. So when McCartney turns up with probably his most original release since he left the Beatles, a lot of people are unhappy that it isn't 'Band on The Run' or 'Venus and Mars' part two.
Prehaps as a result, McCartney II displays some of his outstanding melodys and dissonant styles of production that people never even tried to copy. "Temporary Secretary" is a good example of that. I'd love to see someone present me with another song with a structure anything like that. "Waterfalls", and "Summer's Day Song" show McCartney at his lyrical and melodic best, while ignoring nearly all production conventions. I mean, McCartney wouldn't even use a mixing desk when recording this album! Those who mock McCartney's collaborations in dance music, should check out "Darkroom", where he seems to predict or inspire several of the common motifs of the genre. And "One Of These Days" is one of those songs that would have been legendary if it had finished a Beatles album.
I am still amazed at how many people hate this album, but in my opinion it is a corker. Ok, Maybe 'Frozen Jap' or 'Front Parlour', might not be your cup of tea, but otherwise, you are getting eight superb Macca songs that have no parallel. But those of you who prefer your Macca trying to turn slight songs into another anthemic "Hey Jude" may have no interest here...
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