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Author Topic: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound  (Read 5052 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« on: March 09, 2012, 12:56:45 PM »



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.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 01:01:43 PM by Bobber »
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JimmyMcCullochFan

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 06:59:52 PM »

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.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #2 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...
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 12:46:59 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...

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.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 12:53:14 PM by Bobber »
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Gary910

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 04:03:36 PM »


sorry guys NOT for me...

Yeah tkitna, we know how you feel... Oops, wait... it is nimrod.   :o ;D
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Gary910

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 04:05:50 PM »

Silly Love Songs was the very first record I ever bought. I was 10. I went through a phase of not thinking it was very good. Then I heard it on the radio again, and heard the stellar bass line and the piano in it and found a new love. I am sure some of my affection is sentimentality.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2012, 11:13:02 PM »

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

HaHaHa
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JessieC

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2012, 03:04:53 AM »

Totally disagree with the views posted so far on this album. Whilst I would agree that its nowhere near as good as some of the other Wings albums there is plenty to enjoy here and this much maligned album is actually very underrated.
Im puzzled by what bobber means by ' funny paul always used to have great drummers in his band'. Not sure what he's suggesting here or how its relevant to the review. Maybe its a dig at other drummers he's used but can't for the life of me think why, unless he's referring to Geoff Britton- but like i say not really relevant.

Also the suggestion that John & George spent their time laughing at Pauls albums is totally ridiculous and one must assume that no one on here had access to what John and George found funny and therefore its  just something to write rather than being based on any hard facts. Also to suggest that John was Yoko's slave shows a complete lack of understanding about what their relationship was about - but again not relevant to the album review.

The Note You Never Wrote is a great lost McCartney gem. Full of eerie atmosphere that lends itself well to the subject matter and sung brilliantly by Denny Laine. Warm and Beautiful is a classic McCartney song that has been forgotten in the mists of time and one that Im sure he will resurrect in his live shows soon when he remembers that he wrote it. A dont really see any connection with The long and Winding Road apart from the fact that Paul sings and plays piano on both- and there the similarity ends.

I think the only hopeless effort on here is Cook of the House which is a b side at best (silly love songs).

Silly Love Songs is the epitome of what a good pop song should sound like.It has everything. I like the sentiment in the lyric, fantastic bass line, marvellous harmonies and great brass parts.

Wino Junko is passable. Nowhere near as good as Medicine Jar and Im not keen on Jimmys vocals.The man was a fantastic guitar player but singer ...nah.

My top picks from this album would be the two singles, Note You Never Wrote, Time to Hide, Warm & Beautiful and the best song on the album Beware My love. It rocks like a b****.
I can quite happily live with songs like She's My Baby, Must Do Something About It and San Ferry Anne. Theres nothing offensive in any of them but they are the weaker tracks on the album.

I never really like extra songs added on the end of the CDs that weren't really supposed to be there but I suppose its handy being able to get b sides and strange oddities like the Country Hams songs on CD. Sally G is great song and worthy of so much more than its b side status. I guess if you dont like country, you're not going to like it but it has great dramatic minor chords in the middle 8 that make this song rather lovely.

All in all Id probably rate Speed of Sound above London Town, and Wild Life but below all the other studio albums. For me out of 5 stars Id give this one 3.5
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 04:07:28 AM »

Welcome to the Forum, Jessie.  That was a nice review.

I'm guilty of not buying this album when it was released.  I was too busy in school at the time, but I had the time to hear Silly Love Songs played regularly on the radio in the Spring of 1976 (it was hard not to do so).  When my class schedule eased up as I started my clinic rotations, I bought Wings Over America the week it was released.  So I'm more familiar with the live versions of some of the songs on Wings At The Speed Of Sound.  Wings made the right decision and performed what I feel are their best works on this album during their tour.

Today, I enjoy listening to the studio versions of Silly Love Songs, Beware My Love, Let 'Em In and Time To Hide as a counterpoint to their live endeavors.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 07:49:09 AM »

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.

HaHa, I missed your reply Cor, nice post :) the image of them all laughing at each other is quite a funny image :)
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JessieC

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 08:07:23 PM »

HaHa, I missed your reply Cor, nice post :) the image of them all laughing at each other is quite a funny image :)


Albeit an unrealistic one
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 10:01:10 PM »

Silly Love Songs was the very first record I ever bought. I was 10. I went through a phase of not thinking it was very good.

so Silly Love Songs was to involved and grown up for a 10 year old Gary ? that doesnt surprise me at all, it was more designed for 15 years olds LOL
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 10:11:27 PM »

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.


Hey Cor, John couldnt have been Yoko's slave as this clip shows HER making the tea :)

and Im sure this Beatle Ed George and John are discussing is none other than Paul, as directly after this they recorded a song called How Do You Sleep LOL

Beatle Ed
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In My Life

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 04:55:28 AM »

^^^
Yeah, those two were not happy with Ed around that time!
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 05:37:32 AM »


Also the suggestion that John & George spent their time laughing at Pauls albums is totally ridiculous and one must assume that no one on here had access to what John and George found funny and therefore its  just something to write rather than being based on any hard facts.

but if one reads between the lines on this thread one will notice that most of the comments are said tongue in cheek -  in the name of humour, and are meant, if one would allow oneself to be humoured, to be humorous :)

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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2012, 10:07:10 AM »

Totally disagree with the views posted so far on this album. Whilst I would agree that its nowhere near as good as some of the other Wings albums there is plenty to enjoy here and this much maligned album is actually very underrated.

Welcome aboard Jessie. It's nice to disagree. That's why we're having a discussion board over here.

Quote
Im puzzled by what bobber means by ' funny paul always used to have great drummers in his band'. Not sure what he's suggesting here or how its relevant to the review. Maybe its a dig at other drummers he's used but can't for the life of me think why, unless he's referring to Geoff Britton- but like i say not really relevant.

Of course it isn't relevant. Half of this forum isn't. But I feel that Paul always has good drummers in his band.

Quote
Also the suggestion that John & George spent their time laughing at Pauls albums is totally ridiculous and one must assume that no one on here had access to what John and George found funny and therefore its  just something to write rather than being based on any hard facts. Also to suggest that John was Yoko's slave shows a complete lack of understanding about what their relationship was about - but again not relevant to the album review.

Of course it isn't based on any hard facts. Just having a laugh.
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glass onion

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 01:34:50 PM »

hi all.now as everybody maybe knows,i am a massive paul fan....but i always class 'speed of sound' as a weak album,and one that gets listened to by me every once in a blue moon,really.i like 'let em in',typical paul;simple but catchy.'silly love songs' is alright,but i do think it's too long and i don't think it warrants 'classic' status,really.it's a nice bass line.......that's it.'the note you never wrote'...well,it's ok-it doesn't deserve a kicking,just ok.'she's my baby' is alright,another one from paul to rile the people who don't like him,in the way that songs from ronan keating rile me because i'm not a fan of his (if you get my point).'must do something about it' is the lost gem on the album i.m.o....lovely innocent vocals by the very talented joe english.and a passable song to boot.'wino junko' is ok.......there is a pattern here emerging by me saying 'it's ok'.i suppose the album is just that,really.although 'cook of the house' shouldn't have seen the light of day.i reckon jim mccartneys track 'walking in the park with eloise' is nice,and also 'sally g' should have been included on the album i.m.o,but that maybe 'shows up'(embarrasses) some of the tracks that were included.i don't know.all in all the weakest wings album along with 'wildlife' and 'red rose speedway'.2.5/5,5/10.not great.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2012, 04:46:24 PM »

Welcome aboard Jessie. It's nice to disagree. That's why we're having a discussion board over here.

Praecise.  Audiatur et altera pars.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2012, 05:26:48 PM »

Aliquando et insanire iucundum est.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Wings At The Speed Of Sound
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2012, 12:26:47 AM »

Damn, another review out and I have no internet at home. Still waiting on modem due to storm damage. I'm going to forewarn everybody though, this is not a favorite of mine.  ha2ha

I'll get one up asap.
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