11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Back to basics...again!,
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This review is from: McCartney II (Audio CD)
If an artist, even the calibre of McCartney, presented something like this to a major record label in 2011 it would at the very least send executives to the brink of despair but most likely end up gathering dust until the obligatory career spanning box set happened along decades later. That says something about how different the music industry was 30 years ago when the decade of outrageous self-indulgence had drawn to a close and a new flamboyance was rising. Paul Mccartney decided to kick off the 80s by retreating to his country pad with the minimum of technology and bang out a few ditties without too much fuss and bother. Of course, he had done this before with his first solo album so it was not a new idea. Coming off the back of a couple of dodgy Wings albums he probably felt the need to make a clean sweep and, to coin a well known cliche, get back to basics. No question that this album is very basic. You would be forgiven for thinking this is a collection of demos such is the rawness of the sound. Even the opening track and single, Coming Up, has that unfinished, slightly chaotic sort of sound with what actually sounds like a guide vocal and not a finished voice. As you would expect, it does get quite self-indulgent at times but the songs are kept short and it never gets out of hand. Clocking in at under 40 minutes the album doesn't overstay its welcome. McCartney's gift for a ballad rewards us with a gem in Waterfalls. A quite beautiful track with sparse but effective backing. One of his most underrated songs I think.
Although terribly dated now this is an album that still possesses a kind of charm and simplicity that McCartney would never recapture. You will find your attention wandering but it's worth another look if you feel like something uncomplicated and organic.
There was no indication in this album that McCartney was about to issue two of the finest albums of his post Beatles career in Tug Of War and Pipes Of Peace. Perhaps McCartney II was a way of preparing himself for a return to his unquestionable gifts of melody and creativity.
Interesting but by no means essential.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jun 2011 19:35:42 BDT
All well and good, but what does the remastered album sound like?
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2011 23:03:45 BDT
J. Milner says:
Sounds great. Good dynamics. Nice analogue sound.
Posted on 14 Jun 2011 15:31:29 BDT
P. J. Ashwell says:
Good review. A brave foot forward into the 80s for Mr McCartney. Hopefully TUGS OF WAR will be reissued shortly, plus the fine PIPES OF PEACE.
Posted on 14 Jun 2011 17:01:02 BDT
Ah, the redoubtable Mr Milner. When a new remaster appears. so do you. Funnily enough though, you don't bang on about compression here, so as you say in another comment, you think it's ok, sound-wise ? Personally I thought "Band On The Run" was a very poor remaster.....
Posted on 14 Jun 2011 18:09:00 BDT
Devon Geezer says:
An excellent review my friend!! Totally agree with your comments...
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2011 18:31:06 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 4 Apr 2013 08:16:56 BDT]
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2011 19:15:09 BDT
J. Milner says:
vbhgft, sorry to disappoint. No need for complaints here as you would hardly call this album a foray into technical wizardry. What is your issue with the BOTR remaster? Don't mind it myself.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2011 07:55:17 BDT
I can't quite put my finger on the BOTR remaster other than, to me, it doesn't sound much (if any) different to the original CD release. Maybe it is simply because it was never recorded that well in the first place (in Lagos?). "Jet" has never sounded good to me. Could just be the reverberation of the brass at the beginning. I know what you mean about McCartney 2, there's not much to remaster is there ? Presumably the same applies to "McCartney".
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2011 13:40:16 BDT
Guess it depends what you use to listen to it. I thought the botr remaster sounded good. The acoustic guitars sound cleaner and clearer, certainly on the title track. Much as I like an ipod, you can't beat hearing it through good speakers in front of you.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2011 17:07:11 BDT
Granted. I'm using a Denon CD and Amp played through a Musical Fidelity DAC convertor (over £1K of kit) and it still has a tinniness to it that other CDs don't.