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Author Topic: Microscope: McCartney  (Read 5907 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: McCartney
« on: August 10, 2011, 03:19:06 PM »

Soooo, here we go. The microscope put on Pauls debut album. Remember it's my opinion and I'm open for a great debate (no I'm not ;D )

The Lovely Linda
Paul starts off his debut album with this little ditty, as if he was letting us know that Linda was his new partner under all circumstances. Not much of a song. Strange gliss on 0.05, because he doesn’t seem to make a chord change there. Is that crying or laughing in the end (at 0.41). I would understand both: it’s just a thing Paul writes in about 0.47 seconds. It wouldn’t surprise me if this would be his first attempt at the song. Is he tapping on a suitcase for the rhythm? A forgettable thing and we got the point about the new relationship.

That Would Be Something
Not much of a song as well. In fact it’s just two parts (1: That would be something. That really would be something. That would be something. 2: Meet you in the falling rain). Still Paul manages to make the song 2.37 minutes. Bass is simple but effective. The Western-style guitar is nice in the beginning, but drags on and on. The sudden coming of the rhythm (a little cymbal and that suitcase thing again) on 0.48 is nice. I like it when it’s coming when you least expect it. After 1.15 the song is in fact over. Not much more than a demo of a song that would never be. Nevertheless, Paul dusted it off for his unplugged cd in 1991.

Valentine Day
What’s this supposed to be? Rhythm guitar and the suitcasedrum again at the beginning, which is way too long anyway. It doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Leadguitar comes in at 0.22 seconds and sounds awful. Bass plods along. Paul is freaking out on the drums and that’s about it. Any amateur band has a recording jam like this on the shelf. Obviously played ad lib to test his recording machine.

Every Night
Finally a song that does make any sense on the album. Why didn’t Paul pay attention to all of his songs on this album? Besides this song, there’s just a handful of songs that are recorded with some attention and love. Opening with promises of a good song. Paul starts singing at 0.10 and his rhythm guitar brings in the tension. Nice. Decent drumming and no overwhelming bass, but pleasant enough. Is that a double tracked voice on ‘Resting my mind’ at 1.29? Paul forgets to add another verse or bridge. Reason why the song is too short to come to full bloom. Also played at the unplugged session in 1991.

Hot As Sun/Glasses
I didn’t think much of this instrumental at first, until I found myself whistling along with Hot As Sun. The organ part in the bridge sucks (from 0.41), the rhythm part gets too simplistic here. The transition to Glasses with the organ coming in at 1.21 is hopeless. This is two parts that doesn’t mix together at all. What’s it about? Just a chance for wordplay? Glasses sound like a rejected part of Blue Jay Way. In the end Glasses is segued into a snippet of an unreleased song called Suicide. Why? It doesn’t make sense to my ears. Suicide was also performed during the Let It Be sessions and seemed to have been offered to Frank Sinatra. He rejected it.
Funny to know that Hot As Sun used to be a Quarrymen song and was also played during the Let It Be sessions. Tim Rice put words to the song, which was later recorded by Elaine Page amongst others. Page claimed that McCartney had written the song especially for her. Yeah, right, in 1958.

Junk
This song was already written while The Beatles were in India, in the early spring of 1968. It was even part of the Esher recordings in late May of that year and intended to be one of the songs of the White Album. This version was later put on Anthology 3. Paul gave it another try during the Let It Be sessions, but again rejected. I can see why. The song has a nice melody, but it almost puts me to sleep. Pauls acoustic guitar sounds great and so does his voice. He’s not laughing. The drums are not adding too much. The melody played on the xylophone from 1.03 onwards is a nice touch in the beginning, but adds nothing when Paul goes into the chorus. He realises that as well obviously, for he suddenly stops. Linda’s harmonies are quite vague here and she seems to go out of tune. It looks like this song, although almost two years old, was not finished. Paul seems to be improvising an ending. Not a song I would put on my ‘best of Paul McCartney’ collection.

Man We Was Lonely
I have always enjoyed this song. A typical Paul McCartney singalong. Although written and recorded in a single day, it sounds like one of the songs that got more attention. The song is like a prediction of things to come in the near future. Linda’s harmonies are alright during the chorus. Her reflecting during the verse tho (at 0.55 ‘alone’) is awful. Is that an edit at 0.59, or is Paul just looking for the right chord? Bass is once again plain simple but effective as ever. The steelguitar sounding solo (1.37) is great. It goes on into the verse and chorus after that. Is that another bad edit at 2.27?

Oo You
Great lick. His remark ‘More Guitar’ at 0.07 makes sense. Nice use of the cowbell and tambourine. The electric guitars doesn’t sound nice to my ears, like on almost the complete album. Typical solo’s like the one in Another Girl for example. Characteristically McCartney. Guitar mistake at 1.02. Wonderful cowbell at 1.04. ‘Sing like a blackbird’ at 1.18. A little Beatle in here. Paul sings his heart out in somewhat silly lyrics. Great song with a sudden end.

Momma Miss America
Rock-n-roll springtime, take 1. There’s the original title of this song. Momma Miss America has always intrigued me, as I think it starts out as a really interesting and exciting piece of music. But as it goes on, there’s hardly any development. Maybe Paul should have put some lyrics in here. His drumming is not of a high standard here. The edit into more or less another song after almost two minutes is pretty obvious. Part two doesn’t make the song any better. Paul is just improvising here. Bass is not constructive at all. Some random rhythm and lead guitar. Drums still sound messy with breaks here and there. At 3.11 the song sounds more composed. Still happy it’s over after four minutes.

Teddy Boy
A lot of Beatlesfans regard this song as one of Pauls that should’ve been on one of the Beatles albums, especially Let It Be. Most probably John’s dislike of the song killed it then, but Paul revived it for his debut album. A pity in my opinion, as I really hate this song. The guitar chords are nice enough tho and Pauls bass shows a nice line as well. Linda’s harmonies are dreadful. Nothing more to add really.

Singalong Junk
Originally take one of Junk, on which Paul added mellotron and percussion in an overdub. Somehow this version sounds more complete than Junk and it almost sounds as a soundtrack for a film. I prefer this version. The piano gives the song a nice touch here.

Maybe I’m Amazed
A lot of people call this song overrated. It really isn’t, for it’s a great song. It’s pretty obvious that this song was not recorded in a simple way, for it features three guitars, piano, bass guitar, drums and several vocal overdubs by Paul and Linda. Paul’s piano and vocal are superb and got great dynamics. The double guitarsolo is absolutely brilliant tho simple. Well done. I believe Ringo would have made more of the drum part. The organ stabbing at the end is great.
The song got a lot of airplay at the time it was released, but wasn’t released as a single. A live version was released as a single in 1976 with the release of Wings Over America. Paul must have felt the potential of the song tho, as a promotional film was made in 1970 with photos Linda had taken. It’s here:
Wings/Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed (HQ)


Kreen-Akrore
Made to get the feeling of the hunt of the Kreen-Akrore tribe from Brazil. Among the instruments used: guitar case and bow and arrow. If I ever gonna make a documentary on the Kreen-Akrore Indians, I will use this song. Until then, it’s a certain skip.

Overall
Nice enough to play every now and then, with a skip here and there. Still enjoyable songs like Every Night, Man We Was Lonely, Oo You and Maybe I’m Amazed. The album shows Paul’s open for experiment and he will get my credits for that.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 03:23:56 PM by Bobber »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 03:34:53 PM »

Great review Cor. I broke this out today and gave it one listen taking my son to band camp this morning. I'm going to give it a couple more on the way to work this evening. I'll warn you already that my thoughts on this album arent going to be kind. After reading your review Bobber, i've already seen a few things I dont agree with, but we're on the same page for the most part.

I cant believe Paul actually promoted this thing at the time. More to come later.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 03:55:09 PM »

It's great to disagree. lol.

All in all, it's not much more than a bunch of demo's, with some extra work here and there. But some come out nice. Others don't.
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KeepUnderCover

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 04:43:29 PM »

Great review, although I disagree with a lot of it.

I personally love Macca I, but I know others don't.
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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 04:48:13 PM »

Quote
If I ever gonna make a documentary on the Kreen-Akrore Indians, I will use this song. Until then, it’s a certain skip.

love this line
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 05:38:13 PM »

Great review, although I disagree with a lot of it.

There's already two disagreements. lol. Todd thinks it's worse than I do, you think it's better. I'm really looking forward to your debate.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 03:34:15 AM »

Ok, I listened to this a couple more times on the way to work and here's what i've come up with.

The Lovely Linda - Simple short tune thats sappy and sugar coated, but I like it. Its unfinished and maybe just a snicket of something he had going, but i'd be interested to hear a middle part and even a completed version.

That Would Be Something - A monotonous tune that repeats the same thing through the entire song. I want to cry everytime I hear him sing the drum parts during a few of the bars. I hate how he sings off time with short delays too. Horrible. Just an awful song and its one of the longest on the album.

Valentine Day - If Pauls intentions were to record the worst sounding drums ever, he succeeded. Seriously, they sound like they came from a Cracker Jack box. Embarrassing. The only thing that might be worse is his playing. Theres just nothing good about this. The guitars and everything sound like crap and he sent this out to the public. Horrendous.

Every Night - I like this tune (maybe its due to the shock from listening to Valentine Day). You can tell he at least tried here and it shows. I like the melody and the guitar sound. One of the better songs on the album.

Hot As Sun/Glasses - A cross between country, spanish music, and sh*t. The guitar annoys me and the organ in the middle sounds silly. The later part of the song switches to Glasses I guess. It sucks. Its some short piece of mellow music that doesnt belong anywhere, yet on the end of 'HAS'. This also sucks.

Junk - I like this song (although Singalong Junk is better). Its interesting, mellow, and another song that Paul took some time with. Reminds me of a very slow waltz. I watched a movie a few years back that had this song in it, but I cant remember what it was for the life of me. It fit the theme of the movie well too. A chick flick for sure. Good song and one of the best on this album.

Man We Was Lonely - Another boring song that plods along. Not a fan of the harmonization during the chorus. Pauls voice sounds decent by itself though. Electric guitar sounds like a cow crying. Hate it.

Oo You - This is a blues type slow jammer. The guitar sounds ok, but nothing else does. The drums are just terrible sounding again. Cowbell annoys. Its just boring. Theres no other way to explain it. A great guitar solo might have saved it, but we got nothing. A song anybody could have done.

Momma Miss America - I cringe from the first hit of the drum. Just awful sounding and the playing sucks too. Seriously, the drums kill this song. Sounds like a beginner playing on his set for maybe the 4th time. Piano's ok though and the guitar solo's decent in the middle, but the song is a sorry excuse for anything decent.

Teddy Boy - Laugh all you want, but I like this song. Lindas background vocals win it over for me during the chorus. Sad but true. I realize the song sounds like something sung to a child, but its a guilty pleasure.

Singalong Junk - The same as Junk except theres Piano and some drums and maybe an organ added without the singing. I prefer this version. Its a little deeper and a bit fuller sounding in my opinion.

Maybe I'm Amazed - This song doesnt even belong on this album. Its too good for it. Seriously, everything about this song is better than everything else combined on the rest of the album. The production is a thousand times better as is the playing. Paul took some care with this as he knew he had a good one. I want to comment on the drumming. It's unconventional and I like it. I dig how Paul uses the toms. Sometimes he even ends a few bars with the toms instead of a cymbal crash. He also uses dynamic on the cymbals and so forth. Very well done song on that standpoint. Guitar solo is nice too. Great, great song that saves the album from being utter crap.

Kreen-Akrore - Worst song on the album. Bunch of percussion with some electric guitar during breaks. Terrible and hard to even listen to.


So there we have it Cor. I'll reread your review and see where we differ. All in all, this is definate bottom sludge in Pauls solo efforts. I cant believe or understand how people rate this highly. 90% of this album is the equivalent of a high school garage band during practice except the high school band sounds better.






tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 03:47:40 AM »

I need to add a couple other things that I forgot to mention earlier.

I realize that i'm not a fan of Pauls drumming. Just figured that out today. He's not that good. He experiments with fills and adds things that arent tasteful (especially the hi hat sometimes). I do those things too sometimes when I play or practice and cringe when it happens, but I dont leave them on albums for millions of people to hear. Why dont people tell him that it sounds bad? Weird. I notice some of this critique with Flaming Pie and Chaos too. it is what it is.

Also, this album is short (thank God). I think its only about 20 minutes long or somewhere in that realm.

Lastly, I dont know if I take the album seriously. I dont feel Paul was trying very hard. Almost as if he was just messing around and recorded it for the hell of it. I'm just confused why he promoted and offered it up to the public. I'm more confused as to why we bought it.

nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2011, 04:57:26 AM »

McCartney 1 for me is his best album post Beatles.........I Know I Know, its like a demo and has a DIY feel (you can buy a copy in Hardware House  ha2ha)
But for me this album has just something about it, an unknown qaulity, an x-factor, that his other, bigger albums doesnt, maybe its because I feel he was still a Beatle ? who knows, as Ive said many times on here Im not a fan of their solo careers (or Wings) with the odd exception like this..

I love some of the melodies on here, Hot As Sun, Valentines day, and I disagree hugely with Cor, both versions of Junk are sublime  ;D

Every Night is a song I always wish Id written as its very easy for me to sing (unlike Blackbird), another great song is Ohh You with a great lick and beat, but the crowning glory is Maybe Im Amazed, for me one of the best songs in Rock, 10/10 absolutely superb.
I love all the guitar sounds-tones on this album, they are vintage, warm and Im presuming from his Casino ?

Im in a minority with this viewpoint no doubt, but for me a classic.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2011, 06:24:27 AM »

Teddy Boy
A lot of Beatlesfans regard this song as one of Pauls that should’ve been on one of the Beatles albums, especially Let It Be. Most probably John’s dislike of the song killed it then, but Paul revived it for his debut album. A pity in my opinion, as I really hate this song. The guitar chords are nice enough tho and Pauls bass shows a nice line as well. Linda’s harmonies are dreadful. Nothing more to add really.


Quote
Teddy Boy - Laugh all you want, but I like this song. Lindas background vocals win it over for me during the chorus. Sad but true. I realize the song sounds like something sung to a child, but its a guilty pleasure.


We we're close on this one.


tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 06:31:11 AM »

Ive said many times on here Im not a fan of their solo careers (or Wings) with the odd exception like this..

You've probably explained this before, but why is this? There's just a lot of material out there for people to enjoy (especially a Beatle fan). Just curious.

nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 07:08:06 AM »

You've probably explained this before, but why is this? There's just a lot of material out there for people to enjoy (especially a Beatle fan). Just curious.

in the case of John, poor songwriting....I dont know, lazyness ? lack of interest ? Yoko ? missing Pauls input ?, missing George Martin ? his best album IMO is Imagine but even that has about 3 great tracks only;

Imagine
Jealous Guy
Oh My Love

The rest to me sound like 12 bars (Crippled Inside) or poor songs like Oh Yoko, How Do Ya Sleep etc, the other albums its less IMO, like I really dig No 9 Dream and Out Of The Blue, God, Im Losing You but the rest are pretty poor offerings, George = All Things Must Pass mostly pretty boring for me medium to slow plodders, Pauls Wings way too twee and poppy for a serious Rock fan in the 70's (I was into Yes/Van Der Graf/Tull/Led Zepp/Purple by this time) so I never dug Wings and his solo albums (when I heard Mary had A Little Lamb and Cmoon I felt like puking  ;D.......) since for me offer nothing compared to the likes of Hey Jude, Let It Be, Fool On The Pill, Lady Madonna etc etc..

eg an artist who grew........Peter Gabriel left Genesis and made some amazing albums that were very innovative and high quality, he is revered as a serious artist with his explorations into rhythms and modal melodies almost creating the world music genre......I would have loved Paul with his mega talent to do something like that instead of the puppy love songs he concentrated on.
I think there are things on the Fireman albums that are more artistic and creative than Band On The Run or Press To Play, as for Ringo, I would never buy a Ringo album end off.

No, Im a massive Beatle fan, loved em totally, but as solo artists, forget it.  ;sorry
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 08:20:05 AM »

We we're close on this one.


ha2ha

In the end, we didn't disagree all that much. I was a bit more diplomatic. lol
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2011, 08:31:29 AM »

eg an artist who grew........Peter Gabriel left Genesis and made some amazing albums that were very innovative and high quality, he is revered as a serious artist with his explorations into rhythms and modal melodies almost creating the world music genre......I would have loved Paul with his mega talent to do something like that instead of the puppy love songs he concentrated on.

No money in it. What I mean by that is that the music population would rather buy McCartney albums than Peter Gabriel albums. Its more accessible and easier to digest. Pauls isnt going to bite the hand that feeds him. He strays a little, but always comes back to what he knows. I'm kind of glad Paul didnt jump ship and go off on some crazy tangent like Gabriel, David Byrnes, or Paul simon did.

Quote
I think there are things on the Fireman albums that are more artistic and creative than Band On The Run or Press To Play,

I cant stand any of the Fireman albums. 

Quote
as for Ringo, I would never buy a Ringo album end off.

Your missing out in my opinion. He had a great run from 'Time Takes Time' through 'Choose Love'. I'd even rank 'Ringo Rama' in my top 5 solo efforts of any of the Beatles.

Quote
No, Im a massive Beatle fan, loved em totally, but as solo artists, forget it.  ;sorry

No need to apologize. Thats perfectly ok. We are all different.

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 04:41:25 AM »

No, Im a massive Beatle fan, loved em totally, but as solo artists, forget it.  ;sorry

I feel like you nimrod, there are few solo Beatles albums that I really like. I discovered that I'm not a fan of names, but a fan of a period of time for music. I love the 60's and the Beatles is the most iconic band of that era. I think that if a Beatles fan cares more about the music than the names, then he/she would find better records in other 60's bands than in solo albums.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2011, 08:16:42 AM »

It's good to know there's a lot of support for this massive project.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2011, 09:26:18 AM »

I feel like you nimrod, there are few solo Beatles albums that I really like. I discovered that I'm not a fan of names, but a fan of a period of time for music. I love the 60's and the Beatles is the most iconic band of that era.

I'm a fan of 60's music too, but I dont let that deter me from enjoying good music from the 70's, 80's,etc.

Quote
I think that if a Beatles fan cares more about the music than the names, then he/she would find better records in other 60's bands than in solo albums.

This works both ways too. I think if people would just listen to some of the solo albums and not expect a Beatles record, they would come out of it with a more enjoyable experience. I'm one of those rare people that find a lot of the solo efforts more interesting than some of the actual Beatle albums. To take it a step further, besides Revolver which was surpassed by The Pretty Things 'SF Sorrow' as my favorite album, not many Beatle albums would be mentioned on my top 20 or so favorites list.

Also, to touch point with your statement that people are blinded or automatically like a solo effort just because there's a Beatles name on it, thats definately not the case for me. As you can tell by the review in this thread, I try to be brutally honest with how I feel about music.

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2011, 10:14:07 AM »

I think a lot of it is with me that I like a band effort, where individuals contribute to some extent , and share songwriting, maybe singing, The beatles had 3 songwriters and 4 singers so each album gives you a big variety of singers, types of songs etc but a solo album just gives you 1 singer 1 songwriter and some session guys who are really just yes men and dont contribute much to the artistic content of the music.

The Moody Blues had 4 singers & 4 songwriters, my favourite of which were Mike Pinder followed by Justin Hayward, I bought both their solo albums expecting to really like them but the albums are a let down with humdrum bass & drums and 1 vocalist the whole way through and obviously a similar style of song right through.......I guess Im not a fan of solo albums.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2011, 02:04:52 PM »

I think a lot of it is with me that I like a band effort, where individuals contribute to some extent , and share songwriting, maybe singing, The beatles had 3 songwriters and 4 singers so each album gives you a big variety of singers, types of songs etc but a solo album just gives you 1 singer 1 songwriter and some session guys who are really just yes men and dont contribute much to the artistic content of the music.

The Moody Blues had 4 singers & 4 songwriters, my favourite of which were Mike Pinder followed by Justin Hayward, I bought both their solo albums expecting to really like them but the albums are a let down with humdrum bass & drums and 1 vocalist the whole way through and obviously a similar style of song right through.......I guess Im not a fan of solo albums.

All the more fascinating then that you preferred the very solo efforts that resulted in "McCartney" over, say, the communal input (even involving an ex member of your beloved Moody Blues) which gave us "Wings At The Speed Of Sound".... very much a group effort with shared vocal and songwriting contributions.
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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2011, 02:15:50 PM »

I'm a fan of 60's music too, but I dont let that deter me from enjoying good music from the 70's, 80's,etc.

That's fine, I'm quite narrow minded when it's about music, the only music I listen from the 70's is from 60's artists that continued recording in that decade, and hate almost anything done in the 80's by anybody.

Quote
This works both ways too. I think if people would just listen to some of the solo albums and not expect a Beatles record, they would come out of it with a more enjoyable experience. I'm one of those rare people that find a lot of the solo efforts more interesting than some of the actual Beatle albums. To take it a step further, besides Revolver which was surpassed by The Pretty Things 'SF Sorrow' as my favorite album, not many Beatle albums would be mentioned on my top 20 or so favorites list.

Maybe you just got tired of the Beatles for listening to them so many times, and find different records as better because they're fresher to your ears. But you know yourself better than me! ;D

Quote
Also, to touch point with your statement that people are blinded or automatically like a solo effort just because there's a Beatles name on it, thats definately not the case for me. As you can tell by the review in this thread, I try to be brutally honest with how I feel about music.

I was not talking about you or anybody in particular. I've read you and know you listen to a lot of music apart from the Beatles and solo albums. The point is the way how each one inverts time on listening to music. In my opinion the other music that can be compared to the Beatles in terms of quality, innovation and sound is that from other 60's bands, just because they had the advantage of being contemporaneous.
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