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Author Topic: Microscope: McCartney  (Read 6498 times)

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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2011, 02:21:50 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.

Yeah, I also pay more attention to bands than to solo artists, for the same reason you said, the synergy of different members.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2011, 02:25:32 PM »

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.

I think that Wings At The Speed Of Sound actually proves that Wings was basically McCartney solo, since I find it as one of the weakest albums from the "band".
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2011, 05:45:06 PM »

I've never been a big fan of this album but there are positive points. Brevity for a start - the whole set only runs to about 35 minutes so it never gets stuck in a boring groove for too long. And there are undoubtedly some nice harmonies on there. But as I said on another thread, there is "DIY" and then there's "Amateur" and this album always strays too close to the latter for my liking. I can appreciate why nimrod likes it, him being a fan of "Let It Be"... in my opinion the same scrappy, unfinished, half hearted sort of bittiness is what lets both albums down - a kind of doodling mess around with warm ups and outtakes. The only time this works is when such jottings are invisibly stitched together and lovingly polished (e.g. side two of "Abbey Road"). Left in this sort of disjointed state the whole thing just sounds down home lazy to me.

The Lovely Linda is a prime example of an engaging little ditty that goes nowhere then fizzles out. I think it's laughter at the end. It would have been nice if this had been fleshed out into a more meaty number (sorry Paul & Linda - couldn't resist that  :P) instead it sets the dilettantish tone for the rest of the album.

That Would Be Something - monotonous, repetitive - Paul locked in his own little groove. Inoffensive but rather boring.

Valentine Day - please bear in mind that I am NOT a musician, so wouldn't dream of trying to dissect or criticise the technical aspects of musicianship. You will understand then, that for an instrumental to do anything for me it has to grab my ears with a catchy riff or an appealing sound. This doesn't. self indulgent, forgettable doodling is all I hear I'm afraid. Could be "good" for all I know? Sorry - boresville.

Every Night Aahh - now we're talking - a proper song at last! and not half bad either. Good melody and the lyrics give some insight as to the way Paul feels rather lost and rudderless without his three fellow fabs beside him. What's the point? Linda, that's what! A nice track - I would have liked more of the album to follow in this vein.

Hot As Sun / Glasses -  more pointless instrumentation.... pure filler, though the abominable racket that is "Glasses" actually makes the very pedestrian "Hot As Sun" sound half decent.

Junk - possibly the album's highlight for me. A truly beautiful melody and Paul's delicate vocal is superb. Sadly it suffers from the mood which prevails throughout "McCartney" by dwindling away to a half hearted, improvised conclusion. But a lovely meandering little song.

Man We Was Lonely was nominated by no less a giant than the mighty Johnny Cash as just about the most "country" thing he'd ever heard. It's not a bad number to be fair, notwithstanding Linda's dodgy backing vocal and Paul adopting one of those slightly irksome singing voices ( a la "She's A Woman") from his own vocal repertoire. Still it encapsulates the stompalong hoe-down mood of the album and I must confess to rather liking that sloppy steel guitar sound which fits right in with the C&W theme.

Oo You more improvised jamming. Not bad (I like the guitar and Paul's vocal is OK) but once again, not properly thought through with an abrupt ending as though he'd got bored and abandoned the track on a whim.

Momma Miss America like "McCartney II", "McCartney" is cursed with too many instrumentals. Forgiveable to some extent - Paul wanted to indulge himself and fiddle around trying out his studio amongst the hay bales and the sheep sh*t. Did he have to drag us along for the tractor ride though? Forgettable straw padding which I could comfortably do without.

Teddy Boy I don't mind this one although I can see why John reportedly vetoed it as a Beatles release. Twee, lightweight, almost timid. But quite catchy and appealing in its own way and I think tkitna summed it up perfectly. A guilty pleasure for me too and undoubtedly elevated by Linda's backing vocal.

Singalong Junk as I said earlier, it really is a beautiful melody. But the extra clout this (yet again instrumental) version carries is outweighed by Paul's sublime freewheeling butterfly vocal on "Junk" which therefore eclipses this as the better version for me.

Maybe I'm Amazed - yes, the most "complete" fully-formed song on the album, and it therefore stands out amidst most of the tracks rubbing shoulders with it. But if it had surfaced on "Ram" I still say it would have been no more than average. As it is, it's a nice song - good vocals and lyrics and I like the guitar though I've never cared for that ominously escalating piano which I nevertheless appreciate is part of its magic to some people. A dear friend of mine, a Beatles fan who particularly loves Macca, cites this as her all time favourite song by anyone, ever. To me it's another "Yesterday" - one of the most overrated songs Paul ever gave us. That's not to say I dislike it, it's a nice number.

Kreen Akrore by contrast is absolutely terrible. Dreadful. Garbage.... or perhaps "Absolute Junk" which would have made a better title  ;)

Overall, I cut Paul a bit of slack seeing as how he was at a vulnerable low ebb and, seen (wrongly) by the public as the man who walked out on his three bandmates and with the other ex-Beatles seemingly aligned against him, was very much on the defensive back in 1970.

But he was and is capable of so much better.


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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2011, 02:34:49 AM »

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.

there are some solo albums I like in particular some Neil Young and Peter Gabriel

I like McCartney though no idea why  ;D
(McCartney II was dreadful)
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2011, 02:41:32 AM »

I eagerly awaited the release of this album and was very pleased with Paul's first solo effort.  I expected the album to be dedicated in some way to Linda and wasn't surprised with the opening piece which was really nothing more than a sound check.  As short as it is, it says much.  I knew at the time that Maybe I'm Amazed would become one of Paul's signature songs.  I'm not surprised at its popularity over the past 41 years.

I like all of the "fully-developed" songs on McCartney.  I even like all the instrumentals on this album.  I sat in amazement listening to the album for the first time in 1970 while reading the notes that Paul played all the instruments himself.  What he did on his own was phenomenal and I'll never tire of this album.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2011, 01:32:35 AM »

Overall, I cut Paul a bit of slack seeing as how he was at a vulnerable low ebb and, seen (wrongly) by the public as the man who walked out on his three bandmates and with the other ex-Beatles seemingly aligned against him, was very much on the defensive back in 1970.

But he was and is capable of so much better.

Nice review Mr. M. I see we just about stand eye to eye with our opinions. I think a little more about 'Maybe I'm Amazed' than you and prefer the instrumental Junk, but besides that, there's not much else thats different.

Toejam

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2011, 09:15:25 PM »

Wow! There's some tough critisim doled out to ol' Paul for thiss album on this thread. It's refreshing to be on a forum that isn't totally sychopantic to everything Paul does. I think I agree with most of the critisism but I also think it's not really important apart from the fact Paul was asking people to shell out their hard earned moolah for something so overwhelmingly 1/2 assed. I like it and it's nice to put on esp. now I've got itunes and do a playlist with Another day on it to give it a bit of extra padding at the start but reading this thread really brings it home to me just how /1/2 baked an amaturish so much of it is.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2011, 12:40:44 AM »

Wow! There's some tough critisim doled out to ol' Paul for thiss album on this thread. It's refreshing to be on a forum that isn't totally sychopantic to everything Paul does. I think I agree with most of the critisism but I also think it's not really important apart from the fact Paul was asking people to shell out their hard earned moolah for something so overwhelmingly 1/2 assed. I like it and it's nice to put on esp. now I've got itunes and do a playlist with Another day on it to give it a bit of extra padding at the start but reading this thread really brings it home to me just how /1/2 baked an amaturish so much of it is.

Welcome to the boards ToeJam. Nice post too. I like the way you think.

nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2011, 01:34:59 AM »

Wow! There's some tough critisim doled out to ol' Paul for thiss album on this thread. It's refreshing to be on a forum that isn't totally sychopantic to everything Paul does. I think I agree with most of the critisism but I also think it's not really important apart from the fact Paul was asking people to shell out their hard earned moolah for something so overwhelmingly 1/2 assed. I like it and it's nice to put on esp. now I've got itunes and do a playlist with Another day on it to give it a bit of extra padding at the start but reading this thread really brings it home to me just how /1/2 baked an amaturish so much of it is.

as opposed to nowadays when you can just smash the doors in and take it for free  roll:)
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glass onion

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2011, 05:29:18 PM »

hi guys.mccartney 1 isn't half baked,or half assed,or anything else along those lines.it's the album paul wanted out at that time,and it is a marmite album.you like it or you don't.that's it,really.the album after, (ram),took it the other way being highly polished and very complete.
the noise arond 5 seconds into 'the lovely linda' is a door squeaking in pauls' house in cavendish avenue.parts of mccartney 1 were used in the tom cruise film 'jerry mcguire'.
mccartney 1 is one of my very favourite albums ever.i love the incompleteness,i love the sketching,just my favourite beatle jamming along and playing some works-in-progress.it is what it is,folks.a duffer?o.k,no problem.go listen to ram or band on the run,then.it was all new to paul at the time......nobody to say 'no',no-one to question him.he had a little fun,and i love the album!!
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2011, 08:30:00 PM »

hi guys.mccartney 1 isn't half baked,or half assed,or anything else along those lines.it's the album paul wanted out at that time,and it is a marmite album.you like it or you don't.that's it,really.the album after, (ram),took it the other way being highly polished and very complete.

Just stating my opinion here and nothing else, because i'm aware people enjoy it, but I do think its half assed because he was bitter at the time and just wanted to be the first person to release something. Wasnt this album released or done before the Beatles even broke up? I cant remember the whole deal, but I thought Paul was upset because John said he was going to quit so Paul being Paul, announced he was leaving to the press or something and gave them copies of this album. If i'm off base, I apologize. Seriously, i'd have to look it up.

nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2011, 10:02:02 PM »

all you have to remember Todd is that John met Yoko, Paul met Linda, that was the end of The Beatles  :(

I think they had a meeting and John/Yoko said John was quiting but they agreed not to announce anything publicly, then a bit later suddenly Paul releases this album with a sort of mock interview included stating that HE was leaving the band. John got mad at that, but in a way I dont blame Paul, John was a prick for quiting, why couldnt they stay together but still do solo things like The Stones or Moody Blues, loads of bands have done that, trouble was the wives seemed not to want them to be Beatles, particularly Yoko.
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Toejam

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2011, 07:18:26 AM »

Just stating my opinion here and nothing else, because i'm aware people enjoy it, but I do think its half assed because he was bitter at the time and just wanted to be the first person to release something.

Good point.  I've never thought about it like that before.
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glass onion

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2011, 09:27:56 AM »

Just stating my opinion here and nothing else, because i'm aware people enjoy it, but I do think its half assed because he was bitter at the time and just wanted to be the first person to release something. Wasnt this album released or done before the Beatles even broke up? I cant remember the whole deal, but I thought Paul was upset because John said he was going to quit so Paul being Paul, announced he was leaving to the press or something and gave them copies of this album. If i'm off base, I apologize. Seriously, i'd have to look it up.
you could be right todd,i'm not sure if ringos' album was due out at the same time,i know let it be was due out and also hey jude(i think)the album compilation.he was probably bitter but also feeling a bit liberated so let's get an album out...'on heat' so to speak.i think there is a soft spot for the record,obviously it's not perfect;some sketches are just that;on the whole though i think it is very of it's time beatles-wise.i personally have all the time in the world for it,and i can see why others wouldn't have.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2011, 11:28:42 AM »

I think i'm wrong guys. I just read up a little on the album and it appears Paul had planned on releasing it as it was. Ringo's album was also near completion. John and George sent Ringo over to Pauls to have him try and talk Paul out of releasing 'McCartney' until after 'Let It Be' was released and Paul got p*ssed about that. He kicked Ringo out and released the album as he intended which p*ssed the other Beatles off even further. Looks like the album was the way he wanted it to be.

I dont hate the album. I just dont think its very good. I can listen to it and enjoy it, but its just not one that I go looking for on the shelve very often.

Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2011, 02:08:35 PM »

In fairness to all the former Beatles, retrospectives like this should try and take into account their individual mindsets at the time.

Paul was very much on the defensive back in 1970. The legal battle lines were drawn against him, with the other three aligning with Klein and each, at various times, having either temporarily left the group (Ringo and George) or announced clearly but privately that they wanted out (John). The protracted "Get Back" project, eventually manifested as "Let It Be" with Spector at the production helm under John's and George's approval - Paul again the outvoted Beatle. Paul was always the most consciencous Beatle, and at a low ebb with his three mates against him, reverted to type by "going back to basics" (the whole ethos behind his visions for the ill-fated "Get Back"). When in doubt, McCartney tends to withdraw into his comfort zone of familiarity. Consequently, "McCartney" could hardly be expected to be anything other than a tame and timid, self absorbed, insular affair. Despite (rather than because of) this, Paul's innate talent could not help but shine through here and there, even as he retreated with Linda into the simple, unfettered farm life to lick his wounds.

Fascinatingly, the other Beatles now forged their own pathways: George blossomed with relief, having at last escaped the giant shadows of Lennon & McCartney, to at last flex his songwriting muscles on a grandiose scale and indulge himself in the studio. John, the unpredictable and prickly Beatle, following the primal scream therapy with Yoko, channelled all his rage and insecurity into an astonishingly powerful and blisteringly honest catharsis. Ringo reverted to form, releasing a brace of albums - the first a twee collection of standards ("For my mum") the second a wallow in his beloved Nashville Country & Western scene.

It's ironic to remember that Paul was at least partially seen as "the villain" back then, blamed as the one who walked out ("Paul is quitting The Beatles" screamed the tabloid headlines) when he had been the one most determined to rally "the lads" and keep the show on the road. I think he was the most frightened of the future, even with Linda beside him. But as John pointed out only four years later: they needed to get away from each other but at the same time were nervous of being on their own. Can we blame them?

To give credit where it's due I honestly believe that both Linda and Yoko gave their men the courage and confidence to be themselves and not feel obliged to be the public's beloved "Beatles" any more....

the dream was over  ;)
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2011, 11:42:58 PM »

It's ironic to remember that Paul was at least partially seen as "the villain" back then, blamed as the one who walked out ("Paul is quitting The Beatles" screamed the tabloid headlines) when he had been the one most determined to rally "the lads" and keep the show on the road

from all the reading Ive done and interviews Ive read etc Id place a lot of the blame for the break up on Paul.

Yes Mr M you are correct with the above statement but the main reason there was a backlash against Paul was that he was was taking over the band, becoming the leader, the idea's man, the musical director, the frustration shows in Harrisons "I'll play whatever you want or I wont play at all' and Lennons 'Let It be is basically the Paul McCartney show'.

Ive played in enough bands to have seen there is usually someone who 'appoints' himself as the unofficial boss eventually and that can rub people up the wrong way when a band is supposed to be a sort of equal concept.
Theres a part in the Imagine film where theyre eating at the table and joking (obviously aimed at Paul IMO) about 'Beatle Ed' being no 6 in Sweden, this again shows the general animosity the others had towards Paul especially as he tried to foist his father in law Lee Eastman onto the other 3 as the new manager, surely for decisions like that, the majority vote should rule but Paul was having none of that and it ended up in court.
Im not saying Paul was totally the bad guy here but just saying that he shoulders some of the blame for the break up and just because he wanted to keep going and doing more gigs doesnt make him a saint.

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Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2011, 12:47:00 AM »

I certainly wouldn't portray any of them as saints Kev. The point I was trying to make was that Paul, moreso than the other three, desperately wanted to keep the show on the road because he seemed the most fearful at the prospect of a future on his own. Once The Beatles finally fell apart, it doesn't surprise me that it was Macca who quickly formed a new band, Wings, whereas John, George and Ringo all pursued more solo journeys. Bizarrely for one so talented, Paul somehow lacked confidence where John, for example, would brazen it out, even though he was every bit as insecure underneath. Paul's "leadership" (which only really evolved gradually with John's boredom and abdication of the role) was interpreted as "bossiness" by the others, but they were ALL lazier than Paul, and without his motivation, much of the group's great latterday material just wouldn't have got off the ground with the same sort of shape, polish and discipline. He had a great work ethic and always kept abreast of what the public wanted - the others were less bothered, certainly by 1970.

Yes, Paul takes his share of the "blame" for their disbandment (was this anyone's "fault"? weren't they allowed to grow up and move on?) but the irony is that he broke it to the press when John had previously agreed to bite his lip and keep the inevitable separation under wraps despite him (Lennon) being the one most ready and willing to pull the plug.... as John later said, it was like a cartoon with three guys walking off stage in different directions, with the fourth one on his own in the spotlight left behind to declare: "I'm Leaving!"
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2011, 02:10:09 AM »

Paul's "leadership" (which only really evolved gradually with John's boredom and abdication of the role) was interpreted as "bossiness" by the others, but they were ALL lazier than Paul, and without his motivation, much of the group's great latterday material just wouldn't have got off the ground with the same sort of shape, polish and discipline. He had a great work ethic and always kept abreast of what the public wanted - the others were less bothered, certainly by 1970.

theres no doubt that he was the keenest to keep it all going towards the end and he had seemingly more energy than the others but in some ways his eagerness and desire to start the band doing gigs again kinda ended up having a negative effect, the others saw it as him being bossy and pushy and reacted against that by being even more ambivalent towards the band and him.
Had Paul took a step back and diplomatically let things unfold in time the others may have decided to put the band on the back burner and do solo things.....in other words, take a sabbatical.
The Stones and other big name bands have done this successfully so I dont see why The Beatles couldnt have taken that path, yes John privately announced he was quitting the band but as we (and surely the others new) John could change his mind overnight, sadly though I think Paul caused all out war with his releasing McCartney before Let It Be complete with the infamous included 'interview' insert, and of course with his stance re Lee Eastman.

as a footnote;

John Lennon stated in his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner that, given McCartney's penchant for demanding perfectionism in the studio from his fellow Beatles, he was surprised at the lack of quality in the album...
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 02:16:25 AM by nimrod »
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glass onion

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Re: Microscope: McCartney
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2011, 08:11:27 AM »

it's a well known fact that paul was/is very pushy,demanding,bossy etc but that is the kind of business that he's in.from grass roots level upwards,in my experience in bands, it is vital you have somebody who does 'take charge' so to speak,otherwise you'd never get anything done.the problem that paul had really is that by the get back sessions,the others had had enough of the whole beatles show anyway.paul had been pushy since the day dot if you read back in the beatles history hard enough.straightening johns' tie before going on stage.playing lead guitar on ticket to ride.paul was always the 'keenie'.i remember ringo said before the sgt.pepper album he used to dread the phone ringing because it would be paul,'come on lads,time to make an album'.i think paul was doing the right thing,really-john certainly needed pushing to get his best work out of him.or any work,for that matter.
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