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Author Topic: Microscope: Wild Life  (Read 4056 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Wild Life
« on: September 30, 2011, 11:03:19 AM »

Mumbo
What the f*** is this? Nothing more than a random tho energetic jam that any band could pull off on their first rehearsal together. We drop in in the middle of that jam and Paul is nothing more than screaming himself through a song. In hindsight, maybe this really wás the first rehearsal night of Paul’s new band Wings. Denny Seiwell had been playing the drums on Paul’s previous album Ram and had joined Wings after that. Linda also contributed on Paul’s albums, but was now asked to really join a band that would be on the road and play live shows. That is a huge difference compared to Linda’s role before. Mumbo, and in fact this complete album, sounds like a band trying to get things together and looking for its own sound. It usually doesn’t work to put stuff like that on a record and even in Paul’s case that is a fact. Listening to this complete album, I feel like this should’ve been kept in Paul’s private cellars and seen the daylight as an interesting bootleg. This song is going nowhere, like any jam. A terrible first song to be heard from a new band.

Bip Bop
Things doesn’t get better with Bip Bop. The guitar sounds awful in the start, and so does the very simply played bass. I would have fitted well on Paul’s first solo album, McCartney. And maybe that is the point with Wild Life: it’s what McCartney was for Paul solo. Nothing more than some random things that had been lying around for a day or so. Another song that is going nowhere and is therefore far too long. It goes on and on and on, without any change or progression.

Love Is Strange
I could not remember I had ever heard this song done by Wings before. I haven’t been missing much. Wings is trying some reggae rhytms here. I has a nice lick, played by guitar and bass simultaneously, plus some funny little solo (by Denny Laine?). The song has reached a point of becoming annoying even before Paul and Linda start singing at 1.36. It doesn’t improve things. Denny Seiwell’s drumming is decent as ever. I read this was the first reggae recording by a white band. Yeah, well, who cares? It’s not really outstanding, is it. Paul start singing solo at 3.10, well after the annoying border, and here one can hear that a great singer is available in this band. A singer tho that just wanted to be a part of a band, instead of really going solo. The band is trying to have some fun towards the end, but it doesn’t really show off.

Wild Life
The song that give the album its name. If possible, an absolute low point to me. Linda’s keyboards starting at 0.09 sounds like the first lesson for beginners on the keyboard. After Denny Seiwell great opening, the song develops into a slow blues. After over six minutes, my mind was really bothering me. How could I ever manage to listen to another side of this album? Paul’s voice is not really great and tends towards screaming. Even his falsetto lets him down (2.00) and he forces it into a scream at 2.10. Are all the instruments really tuned well? The guitar solo sucks and makes it clear why a leadguitarist would be part of Wings in later years. Terrible.

Some People Never Know
A bit more like it. The acoustic guitar at the start sounds good, at least compared to all the songs on side 1. Linda’s harmonies don’t sound too convincing, but I’ll dig it. The guitar solo (at 1.55) isn’t that great and consists merely of the vocal line. Piano sounds good. Once again a song that is far too long to remain exciting till the end, but at least it shows but this band is able to.

I Am Your Singer
Linda as a lead singer for the first time, in the second verse. Not very convincing, but she’s in tune. I like this song enough to not skip it when I was listening to this album over and over. The recorder is a nice little touch. Denny’s drumming is good, he almost sounds like Ringo here. Didn’t I say that before?

Bip Bop Link
Yeah right. Some 45 seconds of the song from side 1, now instrumental. Played by Paul on a heavily phased guitar. Doesn’t make much sense.

Tomorrow
A little light at the end of this dark tunnel. The piano opening sounds exciting. Pauls sings with passion and energy but his voice has sounded better before. Effective drums once again by Denny Seiwell. And here’s the characteristic Wings background vocals! At 0.43, to go into a nice bridge. The harmonies continue into the second verse and Linda does do a good job here, together with Denny Laine I presume. Nice change of rhythm at the end, where Paul showcases the possibilities of his voice. Best song on the album, but that was not hard to achieve.

Dear Friend
A song for John. Well sung by Paul. Not a bad song, but far too long. Why is Paul repeating himself again and again? Every instrumental verse should have been deleted, for it adds nothing to Paul’s message. Had it been minimalised to about two minutes, it should’ve been a far better song in my humble opinion.

Mumbo Link
Another 45 seconds of rubbish jam.

All in all, a pretty bad album with just a few highlights. Certainly not an album I enjoyed listening to.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 11:06:43 AM by Bobber »
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Toejam

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 07:18:44 PM »

That's a harsh review and I don't mind Mumbo. It's obvious he wasn't trying to write a good song and was just messin' around but ideally you'd want a better song on an album. I don't like Bip bop but the rest are o.k but I esp. love the title track and Tomorrow.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 02:13:00 AM »

I only read Toejams response since I like to review the record first to compare, but if it was given a harsh review its because this album sucks. I'm really not even looking forward to listening to this, but i'll wipe the six inches of dust off it for the threads sake of course.

Gary910

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2011, 04:39:32 AM »

The thing you have to remember about this album is Paul had heard the way Bob Dylan did his albums. How Bob had recorded his albums in two days. Denny Seiwell told me that story. That is why it starts out, "Take it Tony". The "jam" that is Mumbo was not really written. It was just recorded as it happened.

I have an deep affection for this album, but I will admit it really is not Paul's best.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2011, 12:15:52 PM »

The thing you have to remember about this album is Paul had heard the way Bob Dylan did his albums. How Bob had recorded his albums in two days. Denny Seiwell told me that story. That is why it starts out, "Take it Tony". The "jam" that is Mumbo was not really written. It was just recorded as it happened.

I don't really care why the song is there in this form and whether Paul wanted to follow Bob Dylans way of recording. The recording is just not good enough, certainly not to act as the opening song of an album by Paul McCartney.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2011, 02:53:51 PM »

The thing you have to remember about this album is Paul had heard the way Bob Dylan did his albums. How Bob had recorded his albums in two days.

That would have worked a little if he could write as good lyrics as Dylan. Bob may be the only musician whose songwriting makes you forgive a crappy recording.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2011, 11:44:28 PM »

The thing you have to remember about this album is Paul had heard the way Bob Dylan did his albums.

People half expect Dylan albums to sound somewhat bad, but we arent really used to Paul sounding that way. Maybe thats why we take issue. We all know what he's capable of and he sends us this (especially after RAM). What a dissapointment.

Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2011, 12:57:42 AM »

I only read Toejams response since I like to review the record first to compare, but if it was given a harsh review its because this album sucks. I'm really not even looking forward to listening to this, but i'll wipe the six inches of dust off it for the threads sake of course.

Be warned tkitna..... I've made it to the end of side one so far, but have had to come up for air.
It's hell down there!!


People half expect Dylan albums to sound somewhat bad, but we arent really used to Paul sounding that way. Maybe thats why we take issue. We all know what he's capable of and he sends us this (especially after RAM). What a dissapointment.

 I couldn't agree more, absolutely spot on.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2011, 04:03:23 AM »

Be warned tkitna..... I've made it to the end of side one so far, but have had to come up for air.
It's hell down there!!

Lol, trust me, i'm well aware. I'm taking the plunge Monday after a few aspirin and maybe a drink to help me along. At least it gets better from here (for the most part).

Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2011, 08:06:45 AM »

this album houses my 2nd favourite Paul post Beatles song after Maybe Im Amazed;

Paul e Linda McCartney (Tomorrow)
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Toejam

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2011, 02:13:21 PM »

this album houses my 2nd favourite Paul post Beatles song after Maybe Im Amazed;

Paul e Linda McCartney (Tomorrow)


Tomorrow is the Macca hidden gem.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2011, 11:31:39 PM »

Love Is Strange - I like Wing's reggae version of this song.  It came at a time where there was an interest in ska and reggae here in the United States and in the UK as evidenced by Johnny Nash's success with I Can See Clearly Now.

Love Is Strange has its roots in Billy Stewart's early 1956 recording of Billy's Blues which has a distinct Caribbean beat and a very recognizable guitar riff by Jody Williams...

Early Billy Stewart (1956) - Billy's Blues Parts 1 and 2 - Rare tracks on Chess




...which we hear again later that year here...

Mickey and Sylvia - Love Is Strange




I suspect Paul heard Lonnie Donegan perform Love Is Strange in 1957 when he joined up with John Lennon...

 
Lonnie Donegan - Love Is Strange
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 05:52:54 PM »

Tomorrow is the Macca hidden gem.

Tomorrow is a good song on Wild Life, certainly compared to most of the other songs on the album. But it's nothing more than that imho.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2011, 10:58:26 PM »

Having spread their wings (see what I did there?) on "Ram", Paul and Linda, now fortified by double Denny, were ready to get the show on the road and so launched the debut album from their new group. Considering the impressive springboard of "Ram" we could be forgiven for expecting a refreshingly bold and confident flight.... oh dear. Instead, Paul played his old card of going back to square one and aiming for something raw, basic and spontaneous. It didn't work on "Let It Be", it didn't work on "McCartney" and it positively nosedives here. We are instead left with a chronic mishmash of tuneless, squally demos and jam sessions. That almost had a certain limited charm on "McCartney" which did at least contain two or three nice tunes. But "Wild Life" is awful. Rushed, self indulgent, repetitive, shapeless, boring. Very much a retrograde step from Paul.

Mumbo- is he rehearsing here? flexing his tonsils in a screechy, gargling sort of vocal limber up whilst the band jam together and tune their instruments? Hmmm - if so, at almost four minutes of noisy, tedious repetition it's hardly the best way to grab the listener by the ears. A dreadful start.

Bip Bop - hang on, he's having a joke now, right? I mean, the silly Popeye voice, the nursery rhyme lyrics, the babyish simplicity. This one just goes around in circles. And around. And around. And around. And around. He's winding us up isn't he? he is though isn't he?
(gulp) errr...
.....Isn't he?

Love Is Strange - it must say something when you're three quarters of the way through side one and the highlight so far is a reggaed-up cover version of a pedestrian 1950s throwback. A nod to Linda's love for the Jamaican sound, and a passing wave from Paul to The Everlys, but a numbingly uninspired rendition. Takes forever to get off the ground aswell. Poor.

Wild Life - Packing a sincere punch on behalf of animal welfare, a beefy vocal (which nonetheless misses, wobbles, falters and strays on more than one occasion - this entire album has to be one of Paul's worst vocally) is backed up by solid harmonies (the best thing about the track) and a darkly plodding, minimalist bluesy backdrop. The guitar solo is horrible though. If only it wasn't so long...  at over six and a half minutes the political message loses any semblance of urgency and the overall effect is stultifying.

Some People Never Know - a song in search of a tune in my opinion. One of those tracks which I've forgotten within a minute of it ending. But at least it was an attempt at a proper song (rather than a rehearsal/out-take) and Paul's and Linda's voices do gel together nicely. I only played it a moment ago but if you asked me to hum or whistle it I couldn't. Forgettable froth.

I Am Your Singer- this is more like it. For one thing, at a suitably palatable two minutes plus it is pleasantly digestible and once again demonstrates the sweet vocal harmony between Mr & Mrs McCartney. Is that a recorder, a tin whistle, a flute? whatever it is it gives the track a nice little topping. A charming, simple yet sincere little number with a nice melody - the most pleasing thing on the ear so far.

Bip Bop Link - We've got the message Paul, you like to slip in these little musical reprisals towards the close. Stop it now, please, this just sounds pointless.

Tomorrow - from the man who gave us Yesterday, here comes Tomorrow. The most complete and well rounded song on the album, spoiled only for me by Paul's uncharacteristically weak, reedy vocal. Lacking the gravity which he usually summoned so easily, the wobbly singing is thankfully bolstered by a sublime backing harmony from Linda and Denny L, now well and truly into their stride. Apparently half the tracks on "Wild Life" were whipped off in a single take (and boy does it show!). Was this one of them? I wouldn't mind betting it was - and if so, it deserved better.

Dear Friend - an open letter to his estranged partner John, Paul at last retrieves his vocal touch and delivers a haunting little elegy; Linda is the one who matters to him now, make no mistake. A shame that it rumbles on through too many repeated cycles - the unfortunate hallmark of this album.

Mumbo Link - he just won't let it drop will he? It's brief but horrible. STOP DOING THIS!

Well, that's my assessment, for what it's worth. A Paul McCartney album shouldn't be an endurance test. But this one truly was. Very disappointing in the wake of its excellent predecessor.


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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2011, 04:15:30 AM »

Love Is Strange - ...and a passing wave from Paul to The Everlys


More likely to Lloyd Clarke...

Lloyd Clarke  Love Is Strange   Ska


"Love Is Strange" By Paul McCartney & Wings



;)
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glass onion

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2011, 11:15:07 AM »

wild life isn't pauls finest hour,granted.some noodling,some sketches etc,and compared to some of his earlier and later stuff, it is poor in parts.'bip bop' takes a beating but is it so bad?'put your hair in curlers,we're going to see a band'.what's wrong with that lyric?it's just a noodle,that's all.like it's been stated,paul fancied recording like dylan,and it didn't work out.that's it,really.a poorer album than what we're used to from paul.job done.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2011, 01:35:02 PM »

Mumbo - This song sucks. I cant even tell what Pauls singing. Most of the time he sounds like somebody’s punching him in the spleen to get that screaming. The high pitched ‘whooo’s’ might be the single most annoying thing I’ve ever hear in a song ever. Just repeating, monotonous mess. Garbage.

Bip Bop - Pauls attempt to get this song to sound horrible by production standards was successful. Guitar sounds awful. Whats up with Pauls voice? Sounds like a diner waitress that’s smoked for 40 years. Lindas inclusion here is terrible vocally and I usually like her. Just terrible.

Love Is Strange -  Oh Paul, leave the reggae to the Rastafarians. Dennys drums sound awful, and that’s a shame because he’s a good player. Singing doesn’t begin until the 1:35 point and I wish it wouldn’t have. ‘Baby Love Is Strange’,,,,,,Oh God. Paul and Linda together sounds just terrible. This song sucks. I found myself even getting p*ssed off at Dennys constant use of the hi hats and that’s something that’s rare for me. Sorry, another stinker.

Wild Life - I do like how the song fools you into thinking its going to be a little country ditty at first and then the keyboards come in. I love the sound of the keyboards and the bass. The drums sound great too, but Psuls wailing vocals kill the song for me. Shame too, or this would almost be passable as the guitar and background vocals are decent sounding also. I just cant get around Pauls screaming and the length of the song. I’ll pass on this one too.

Some People Never Know - Like the acoustic guitar and I can even forgive the horrible sounding drums at the beginning. A tad too much Linda here with Paul for me. Piano sounds nice.  The build up to the guitar solo was nice too, but the guitar solo sucked and the song loses any momentum it was gaining. You have a steel guitar being played along with some kind of echoing keyboard effect. Awful. The ending is just a repeating bar that fades into some African percussion that doesn’t fit the song at all. This is probably the best song yet, but that’s like saying you found the best looking turd in a pile of sh*t so far. Brutally long once again.

I Am Your Singer - *Sigh* Crucify me now as I know I will be, but I actually like this song. I think Linda does ok. She’s a little flat in parts, but that’s expected. Her and Paul together sound great though. The whole echo thing gets old pretty quick, but its not a deal breaker. I like the flute or whatever it is too. With a running time of just over 2 minutes, its good enough for me.

Bip Bop Link - A little acoustic jam of Bip Bop, but this sounds good compared to its big brother. Its only like 45 seconds long too, so its inoffensive enough to slide by. Needed? Hardly.

Tomorrow - I cant agree with others in saying this was a hidden gem or good song, but its not bad either. The harmonies save this song, for being bad. Pauls voice itself, does nothing for me. As a matter of fact, its pretty bad. Piano is nice and the instruments are all well played, but the production is spotty. 2:26 I like the change of tempo here. The endings pretty decent with the guitar too. Average tune at best.

Dear Friend - I don’t know anything about this song, but I’ve always felt it was pointed towards John for some reason. After listening to the lyrics a little bit though, it might be pointed toward a girl for all I know. Anyway, I always liked the dark sounding effect the song has. I really dig the build up around the 2:25 point. Paul even brings in some strings and horns. Song reminds me of a Billy Joel song for some reason. I have no idea why, but it does. I want to like this song. I really do, but the songs just so long that it cant possibly keep my interest. I usually end up skipping it around the middle point.

Mumbo Link - A short, hard rock version of Mumbo that sounds good. Right around 45 seconds again and one would wonder why its even on the album, but it is what it is. Sounded good.

**Bonus Tracks** (yeah, there’s even more)

Give Ireland Back To The Irish - The reason this CD even gets pulled from the shelf at all. Paul grew a set of nuts for once. Where did that come from? The media darling usually runs from any political or offensive material, but he heads right into the fire with this one singing about Bloody Sunday. I give him credit for that alone. Song is nice rocker with a good guitar solo even. I love the drums too. The ride sounds great. I really like this song.

Mary Had A Little Lamb - Childrens song that makes me want to puke for the most part. The ‘La La’s’ kill me. I do like the ukulele though. Song is well done, its just not for me.

Little Woman Love - Nice, fast rocking tune. Good piano and drum beat. I like the guitar playing and tone here too, but Linda drags this one down. She’s too loud and out front for my taste. The ‘Oh Yeah’s’ are pretty bad. Serious guitar playing and drumming in this tune though. That’s worth something right there. Its short too.

Mama’s Little Girl - Nice song. Acoustic sounds great. Pauls voice is smooth although he’s singing in a higher register than usual. The harmonies and backgrounds are beautiful and typical later Wings. Really pretty song that Paul could churn out by the dozens. Worth the listen.


Well the final thoughts on the album are pretty dim. Its bad. I don’t know how else to describe it. A bunch of jamming that really doesn’t sound good most of the time. Yes, its an album in which a band is trying to find themselves, but they should have found themselves in the studio or garage and left it at that. The bonus tracks arent just a nice addition, they are a must or this would never, ever get listened to.

tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2011, 01:46:16 PM »

'bip bop' takes a beating but is it so bad?'

I dont really need to answer this do I?

tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2011, 01:49:40 PM »

Just read the reviews from Cor and Mr. M and we're pretty much in the same boat on almost all of it. It seems 'Tomorrow' gets a little higher praise from the masses than I would give it, but thats fine. Its not terrible by a long shot.

In the end though, as Mr.M stated, an album shouldnt be a chore to listen to and this one is. Its rough. I would grab this before Macca 2, but besides that, I cant think of any album he's done that comes close to being this bad.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wild Life
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2011, 07:56:19 PM »

And I was accused of being harsh! ha2ha

By the way, I neglect the bonus tracks, as I want to focus on the original albums. But it's true that sometimes bonus tracks do add something good to an album. Most of the times however, I skip them altogether. In the case of Wild Life however, it's a plus.  :P
« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 07:58:56 PM by Bobber »
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