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Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound

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Bobber:


Let ‘Em In
Paul opens his 1976 album with the appropiate Let ‘Em In. One of the very first albums I had was Wings Greatest and this song was on it. I must have heard this song hundreds of times, because it was about the only album I had back then. That might have had its influence on the way I look at this song nowadays. For instance: I think it’s far too long. The monotonious piano thingy makes me fall asleep. Bass just playing the basic notes. Nothing wrong with that. Joe English’s drums are fine as always. Funny that Paul always use(d) to have great drummers in his band. Joe’s drumrolls starting at 1.14 have always been a favourite part of the song for me. As is the keyboard lick starting at 1.25. The brass starting at 2.02 is great as well, and it works fine in the second coming of Sister Suzy too. Harmonies from 2.52 work fine in the build up of the song. I never noticed the voices in the background starting at about 4.25. Fooling around ‘round the mike. Nice, I like that kind of things. All in all an OK song, nothing more, nothing less.
The single (b/w Beware My Love) went to #2 in the UK and #3 in the US.
 
The Note You Never Wrote
Denny Laine takes the lead vocals in this song and once again it’s painful to my ears. His voice is rather thin and obviously works fine in the harmonies, but I don’t like him singing lead vocals. Especially at 1.21 it is clear to me that it just won’t work. But then again, he sings on a Paul McCartney album and I don’t. At 1.40 the song finally takes off somewhat with the entrance of Joe English and Linda’s harmonies. Until the guitar solo by Jimmy, starting at 2.37, it’s a pretty tame and lame song. When the solo ends, the song drags on to the end. Hardly anything to remember.

She’s My Baby
Paul takes the album to a different level with She’s My Baby. I always thought the start was a false one. Suddenly he’s there with ‘My Baby’. And then the song starts properly. Strange. Great bass work by Paul. Nice licks by Jimmy. A lightweight song and maybe a bit of a filler on the album. The coda works alright and is the best part of the song to me. A pity it’s just the coda.

Beware My Love
This song was also included on Wings Over America and it appears to be more a song to play live than to put on record. A showcase for Paul’s voice. Love Joe’s drumming once again. Must have worked fine in front an audience, but it doesn’t do it for me on record. Too many changes of the rhythm and just too boring to keep me focused. Another song that’s too long.

Wino Junko
Written and sung by leadguitarist Jimmy McCulloch. Although he sings better than Denny Laine, his first lines makes it clear to me that he was either pretty nervous when his vocals were recorded, or he’s just not such a good singer. After two minutes, I’m pretty bored. One can see Jimmy’s guitarsolo (which in itself is fine) coming for miles. The song becomes a bit more interesting after four minutes. I usually don’t listen to it that long.

Silly Love Songs
One of Wings’ greatest hits and rightly so. Silly Love Songs almost carries the weight of the complete album on its own. I have heard this song, like Let ‘Em In, hundreds of times, but it’s still pretty good. Brass and strings at 0.58 are wonderful. Paul sweeps the floor with his critics in this song and he does it in a way that earns my respect. Great drumming by Joe from 3.10, together with Paul’s simple but very effective bass. The brass entering once again at 3.41 has always been a highlight to me. Nice cross of the harmonies. The only thing I can object is that it’s a bit too long.

Cook Of The House
It was a nice thought of Paul to give Linda the lead vocals of the song. But good grief, it’s a disaster to put something like this on an album with Paul McCartney’s name on it. Stupid lyrics, bad vocals, lousy song. Thankfully it only takes a good 2.30 minutes to take it to the end. One of those songs that makes me feel ashamed to be a Paul McCartney fan. Terrible.

Time To Hide
This might be the best song on the album. Written and sung by Denny Laine. Enough said about Denny’s vocals. It’s not right if the backing vocals outsing the lead vocalist. Besides that, it’s a great song. The mouth organ adds to the sinister sound in the beginning. Paul focuses on the bass and he does a great job. Listen to his little basslick at 0.36. Nice brass at 1.06. Wings had a great brass section in those days and they really put something into this album and Wings Over America. I think this is an exciting song, full of tension and nice turns. Great little guitar solo. Like that.
 
Must Do Something About It
Lead vocals to Joe English on this one. Apart from Paul, he has the best voice in the band. Steady and pleasant to listen to. A pity that Paul gave him this forgettable song. As soon as it’s over, I have forgotten all about it.

San Ferry Anne
Strange song. Nice chords turns, but a bassguitar that’s doing nothing special. Flute annoys me. The brass (once again) brings in the tension that I love in a song at 0.24. The echoing background vocals are a joke. Suddenly, after 1.30, the song works towards the end and it’s over before you can wink your eyes. Nice little tune, nothing to be wild about.

Warm And Beautiful
Other critics of this album describe this as the hidden gem. I don’t share that opinion. It sounds like another Long And Winding Road. Of course, Paul’s voice is outstanding and it’s a nice tune, but ‘a hidden gem’ is too much of a compliment. Strings in the second part add a special feel to the song, but it’s not enough.

Bonus tracks on the 1993 re-issue:
Walking In The Park With Eloise
It was a nice gesture of Paul to record one of his dad’s compositions. That’s about as far as it gets. This should never had appeared on an album like this. Completely out of place.

Bridge Over The River Suite
The same goes for this instrumental, although it’s not in top hat twenties style like Eloise. Still, it sounds like the result of an impromptu jam. Adds nothing special to the album.

Sally G
A disaster. Further comments: see Cook Of The House.


All in all an album with a couple of great songs (Silly Love Songs, Time To Hide) and a lot of forgettable stuff. Not an album I would pick to show what Wings and Paul McCartney is all about. Still, it did pretty well in the charts, most probably due to the success of Silly Love Songs and Let 'Em In.

JimmyMcCullochFan:
Jimmy played bass on Let Em In on the album and stated in an interview that "The Note You Never Wrote is a b****." A b**** to record maybe? Love his solo on that track though, one of his best.

My three favorites are Wino, Beware and Time.

nimrod:
more utterly disposable garbage from Paul, the two hits are cringe-worthy imo, George and John mustve been p*ssing themselves laughing at Paul writing songs for 15 year olds, one of the worst unimaginative covers of all time too....

sorry guys NOT for me...

Bobber:

--- Quote from: nimrod on March 09, 2012, 11:27:58 PM ---more utterly disposable garbage from Paul, the two hits are cringe-worthy imo, George and John mustve been p*ssing themselves laughing at Paul writing songs for 15 year olds, one of the worst unimaginative covers of all time too....

sorry guys NOT for me...

--- End quote ---

At the time, Paul and George were laughing at John for being Yoko's slave and not making any music at all after a couple of lousy albums. And Paul and John were laughing at George for producing even worse albums than John and Paul together.

Gary910:

--- Quote from: nimrod on March 09, 2012, 11:27:58 PM ---
sorry guys NOT for me...

--- End quote ---

Yeah tkitna, we know how you feel... Oops, wait... it is nimrod.   :o ;D

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