Monday, September 03, 2007

Memory Oh So Dull

I haven't liked a Paul McCartney album is a long time. The last one I enjoy listening to straight thru is Flowers in the Dirt. His Rock 'n Roll record, Run Devil Run was okay, and I wanted desperatley to like it, but it lacked a certain energy.

His last one, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard contained only one tune I like, the opening cut "Fine Line".

On his new one, Paul has at least two songs I like. "House of Wax" has a heavy Venus and Mars feel to it, and the upbeat fun tune "That Was Me" has great bass work. And both songs sport good lyrics.

I won't dwell on the bad stuff. Maybe another time when I'm in a more spiteful mood.

But overall, the music is monotone and the lyrics either silly or self-indulgent. This is nothing new but merely a continuation of a trend that started in 1983 with the release of Pipes of Peace. I still cringe when I hear, or even think of an annoying number from Pipes called "Sweetest Little Show".

I don't know if he's just lost his groove, whether all the marijuana stunted his cleverness, or if he's too busy being hung-up on other things to really give a damn. To quote a Memory Almost Full lyric, "I've got too much on my plate".

Not only does he have to manage and maintain the "Paul McCartney" image and products, watch over the vast catalog of music he owns thru his MPL company, he's also the go-to guy regarding all Beatles business. He's also a 65 year-old man with a family and a life to enjoy.

The other day I had a bunch of CDs on shuffle, and "Tomorrow" from Wild Life popped on. When Wild Life came out in 1971 I remember being disappointed and thinking it was weak. But "Tomorrow" shows him trying out a weird vocal technique and has great Linda harmonies. And it's dynamic. It starts off slow, then has a peppy middle bit, and a strong finish.

When Lennon was on the "Mike Douglas Show" in early 1972, someone in the audience asked him what he thought of Wild Life, and he politely dismissed it and said Paul was capable of much better. I probably agreed with him. But in retrospect, it's a nice record.

I still love Paul, even though it's been 17 years since he put out a decent record. After all, we can't expect him to be the same guy who wrote "For No One", "Helter Skelter" or "Maybe I'm Amazed". He wrote a shitload of classics and #1's for 20 years. So what if the last 17 have been sketchy? I'm just glad he's still around.

Maybe I need to get on Amazon and buy up all of the weird electronic and experimental stuff he's been putting out for the last 15 years or so (The Firemen stuff, Sound Collage, Twin Freaks). I've only heard snippits, but there might be something worthwhile there.


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