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Author Topic: Microscope: Back To The Egg  (Read 6528 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Back To The Egg
« on: May 07, 2012, 01:22:41 PM »

...is coming up. I'm a bit delayed. Hold on.
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 01:48:20 PM »

I'll participate on this one.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 11:56:39 PM »

Looking forward to it.

Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 11:18:09 AM »

meanwhile heres a seal  ha2ha

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In My Life

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 03:42:20 AM »

meanwhile heres a seal  ha2ha

That was certainly unexpected!
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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 08:36:47 AM »

Oh no. Does this mean I have to listen to that flannel again?
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 02:13:29 PM »

Back To The Egg

Reception
Pieces of radio interviews, some opera thing and a tense start of this album. It is that I know that the real opening of the album is following pretty soon, otherwise this instrumental is of little importance to my ears.

Getting Closer
One of Paul's best ever songs. A firm rocker and Paul's voice is probably at his best on the entire album. Great drumming by Steve Holly here. Characteristic backing vocals by Linda and Denny. Love the basswork by Paul, but that's hardly surprising. The 'closer closer' bit from 2.15 onwards has always been a highlight. It always surprised me that this song didn't get higher rates on the singles lists all over the world. Great song.

We're Open Tonight
The usual Paul McCartney goes acoustic song. But this one fits in perfectly on this spot. Pauls vocals are spot on. Nice bass job. I've always wondered whether that bass note on 1.19 wasn't a little bit late or maybe that was Pauls intention? Maybe a filler, but a good one.

Spin It On
'This is it'. The introduction on Spin It On looks like an assist for the later Strokes album. This song proves that Wings' new line up is certainly not a bad one. Steve Holley is letting the drums roll at the start of the song and the guitar work is great. Spin It On is a wonderful rocker in the style of Name And Address on Paul's previous album. It sounds like a song that Paul could write in five minutes and maybe he did. Nevertheless, it's a great piece of rock 'n roll and something John Lennon should have picked up while recording his come back in the next year. Its semi-spontaneous sound and vocals make the song some special. Well done.

Again And Again And Again
Here's Denny Laine doing the lead vocals again. It's not my kind of thing, but this is an OK song. Pauls bass is basic. The backing vocals and the style of arrangement makes it some kind of a pub's singalong, but it is not. Not one of my favourites, but it fits in fine in side A of this album. Some strange flagolets at 2.31. Never heard that before.

Old Siam Sir
In the age of punk and new wave Paul recorded Old Siam Sir. A type of song that maybe takes the basic stuff of punk to a higher level. His vocals are outstanding. The break at 1.16 is simply great. Maybe the piano lick gets a little annoying after a while. Wonderful band-sound and Steve and Laurence are doing a great job in here. The band goes really wild at 3.45 and Paul throws in some more (somewhat silly) lyrics.

Arrow Through Me
I have always loved the overall atmosphere of this song. A showcase that Paul could easily switch from one style (Old Siam Sir) to another on an extremely high level. The brass is simply great and so is the bass (synth?). Nice production with the little touch of reverb in the vocals here and there. It's a nice suggestion that side b of London Town and side a of Back To The Egg would have made an outstanding album.

Rockestra Theme
Side b opens with the more or less instrumental Rockestra Theme. Personally I have never been fond of Pauls instrumental work, but this is a good job. Why haven't I had any dinner? The minimal lyrics would have made critics wonder what was meant by this in 1967, when John wrote I Am The Walrus. In 1979 it doesn't mean anything. Nevertheless, a good kick off for the b-side.

To You
The start of this song -chords played simply on an electric guitar- is not the strongest start of a song and certainly not on this album. The style that made side a is continued in this song, but somehow it sounds as if Paul wasn't really focusing with To You. The combined guitar/keyboard solo from 1.25 onwards sounds like it was inspired by Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging.

After The Ball / Million Miles
Back To The Egg is drifting away downwards, starting with this song. After The Ball is a slow ballad. A crooning Paul McCartney is still nice to listen to, but this song is lacking everything else. And what about Million Miles? Is Paul trying gospel here? An annoying thing at best.

Winter Rose / Love Awake
Once again two half songs put together in one. Winter Rose is another ballad kind of thing, but this is more like it. It's a nice piece of music, but it drags on too long, even being just a snippet. Indeed a pity that Paul didn't develop this song into a piece of its own. Love Awake is a simple singalong kind of song. Paul does these song pretty often (see the medley on Red Rose Speedway), but it's not my kind of thing. Musically it's probably alright, but it is a certain skip.

The Broadcast
It probably has a deeper meaning and maybe Paul regards this as the key part on the album, but I'm totally missing the point.

So Glad To See You Here
That's more like it. A thunderous first two minutes and this is really a great song. Great rocker. Even loves Linda's keyboards! After 2.30 the band slips into some kind of reprise of We're Open Tonight. Paul has tried the reprise a million times after Sgt Pepper and he should have know better. It doesn't work and that's a pity, because it brings down both the We're Open Tonight from side a plus So Glad To See You Here.

Baby's Request
Paul's usual 40's style song. He should have put all of those on one album, somewhere in 2012 and let nobody buy the thing.

All in all, a great side a and a side b with a few highlights. Pauls voice sounds great on all of the songs and so does his band. Steve Holly and Laurence Juber seemed to fit in smoothly and perfectly. A good album, but it could have been much better.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2012, 09:04:54 PM »

Alright, cant wait to read this review. This is one of my favorites. I'll post the review up monday.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2012, 06:34:42 PM »

Alright, cant wait to read this review. This is one of my favorites. I'll post the review up monday.

I can't wait to read yours. lol
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 04:25:37 PM »

This has always been one of my favorite Paul albums. I think the change of cast members in the band contributed to a nice fresh sound. Pauls voice kills and his bass is more pronounced here again. I admit that it’s a mixed bag of tunes, but what Paul album isn’t.

Reception - I like the bass on this little jam piece to begin the album. The voices and music in the background are pretty cool too. Holly’s drums sound great. Kind of a meaningless little tune, but its so short and neat that its inoffensive.

Getting Closer - This is one of my favorite Paul tunes ever I think. His vocals know no equal here. This is Paul McCartney singing at his best. Love the drumming in this song too. Very tasteful. Guitars are awesome also. 0.33 love when the backgrounds come in. Smooth. 2:19 the song kind of goes into the chaotic, jam stance and I love it. Awesome, awesome song.

We’re Open Tonight - Paul brings us back down with this offering after a nice rocker. Starts off with a clean acoustic guitar and Paul singing. I always felt that it kind of sounded like a space type song (Venus and Mars) with the electric guitar and bass notes. Background harmonies are killer again. Very short and again, somewhat senseless, but nice enough.

Spin It On - When did Paul start singing punk? Guitar sounds awesome. Nice lead also. Holly gives us a kind of Ballroom Blitz snare shuffle which is nice. If theres a bad thing to say is that there’s parts where they sing together and they sing from a high scale going constantly lower and I could do without that (I know I didn’t explain that very well, but if you listen you’ll know what I mean). Short again and I like it.

Again And Again And Again - This is one I don’t care for. I think Denny sings this. It has a country kind of flare and it just has filler stamped all over it. The best part of the song is Pauls background vocals. To beat all, this song suffers from being too long too. A pass for me.

Old Siam, Sir - Love this song. Had the 45lp when I was young of ’Arrow Through Me’ and this was the B-side. I played this one to death. Love how the song sounds somewhat oriental with the piano and guitar. Guitars are great and Steve Holly’s drums sound massive. Pauls kind of screams through the whole song and its hard to make out what he’s saying, but its needed to add to the atmosphere. 1:05 is sublime. Love the lead guitars, the sliding bass notes and Holly’s decision to go to the ride. Awesome. The hi-hat splashes are very cool throughout also.  3:45 is cool when the frantic change of pace. One of my all time favorites.

Arrow Through Me - The modest hit of the album. People label this song as disco. Maybe it is. I just think its good 70’s pop. Regardless, its starts with the cool keyboard intro. Love Hollys hi-hat, snare groove. Pauls voice is incredible again. Seriously, he is in top form. 1:15 the horns come in and sound great. 1:38 the harmonies from the backgrounds are smooth as a babys bottom. Very nice song.

Rockestra Theme - Paul decided to get who’s who in rock and roll and play a huge instrumental. I have a soft spot for this tune because Bonzo plays the drums on it (along with Holly and I think maybe Kenny Jones but I would have to look). There’s a ton of guitarists like Pete Townsend and other musicians, but if the song suffers in any way, it could be that theres too many cooks in the kitchen if you get my drift. I like it though and it’s a cool jam that doesn’t really do anything. I’m onboard.

To You - Like this one too. Starts with a cool guitar intro. Do I have to mention Pauls voice and bass playing again? Awesome. Its not a frantic rocker, but it’s a toe tapper in the same sentence. I like the background vocals (Linda and her signature sound) and even the almost silly keyboard at times. The lead guitar solo is cool, because the keyboard plays along with it. Juber plays some mean guitar on this and through the entire album actually. I like this one. Maybe somewhat overlooked in his catalog.

After The Ball/Million Miles - Paul takes us to the piano for this slower ballad. It truly sounds like the last song of the ball when people are filing out and your holding onto that last dance. Has a gospel feel also. Very much so actually. Love the steady drumming and guitar playing. 1:41 it kind of kicks in and feels powerful. Nice lead playing again. 2:20 harmonica comes in and takes us to Million Miles. Maybe it’s the accordion. I suppose it is. Its just Paul singing along with it and this part is pretty boring. Should have just finished off the first part of the song. I’ll take it though.

Winter Rose/Love Awake - Piano brings us in with this one again with a few bass plucks and the acoustic. I’ve been bragging up Pauls great voice and this song shoots it all down. Pauls sounds like he’s been on a three pack a day habit here. Awful. Even the backgrounds bother me. Shame because the music is nice and clean and kind of haunting. 2:04 Paul introduces Love Awake which is a standard little Wings song. Acoustic playing with the usual singalong feel. It all seems kind of flat to me. Its better than the first part, but boring. Pass.

The Broadcast - Paino playing with some talking in the background. Perhaps trying to get the feel of an radio broadcast I suppose. Slow and meaningless. The strings are nice though. Pass, buts so short, who cares?

So Glad To See You Here - A great rocker with the Rockestra cast again. Paul sounds great singing this. I prefer this song to the actual Rockestra Theme. Lindas backgrounds are great. The song is a bit monotonous but fun and it does rock. I like it.

Baby’s Request - Jazz number that ‘My Valentine’ wishes it could have been. Fantastic piano and guitar playing. 1:23 keyboard playing the horn section. Big no no in my book. The real deal would have been better. Here’s an instance where there might be too much Linda for my taste, but I really like the song.

Daytime Nightime Suffering - I’ve always liked this song. Middle of the row paced with a lot of guitars and keyboards. Cool drumming as usual. 0:59 love this part here when Pauls starts singing ’Come On River’ etc,,. just sounds awesome. 1:47 love how the backgrounds repeat Pauls vocals here. Nice. 2:33 best part of the song. Kind of like a Beach Boys type singing. Cool. Good song all around. Nothing great but enjoyable.

Wonderful Christmastime - Not one of my favorites and I get really sick of it when the season arrives. I’ll be honest though, I would miss it if I didn’t hear it around Christmas though. Its just unfortunate that its on every speaker in every store. Oh well. Most people are harsher on it than I will be, but even I will admit that Johns offering was far superior.

Rudolph The Red Nose Raggae - Please just make it stop. A reggae version of Rudolph done with a country fiddle. The worst of both worlds. My ears are bleeding.


There you have it. Great album in my opinion. Plenty if nice rockers with very little throwaways. Paul has never sounded better singing and the lineup meshed well. Shame they didn’t keep this lineup for more projects. Whats even more unfortunate is that the 80’s were just around the corner.

tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 04:27:28 PM »

Sorry it took so long Cor. I almost didnt get it done today either.

I cant believe that nobody else has chimed in on this gem yet either. Kind of blows my mind that nobodys interested. Oh well.

tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 12:19:00 AM »

Winter Rose / Love Awake
Love Awake is a simple singalong kind of song.


Winter Rose/Love Awake - Love Awake which is a standard little Wings song. Acoustic playing with the usual singalong feel.


Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2012, 02:13:50 PM »

Great review Todd. I love how you pick up different kind of things which makes me listen to the whole thing once more. Are you looking forward to the next one? I have started listening to it and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be actually.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2012, 11:36:55 PM »

Great review Todd. I love how you pick up different kind of things which makes me listen to the whole thing once more.

Same here Cor. Like your comment on 'We're Open Tonight' at the 1:19 mark. I had to go and listen to it again and i'm not really sure if it was intentional or not. I dont think it was.

Quote
Are you looking forward to the next one? I have started listening to it and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be actually.

Are you being sarcastic now?  ha2ha  No seriously, I look forward to all of them. Sure i'm probably going to rip this one apart, but you cant win them all.

Sad thing is Macca 2 will probably have all kinds of participation.

jamesbjorkman

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2012, 03:46:53 PM »

A partial review of the album, with a couple of extras from the era.  The ones that are missing I didn't feel merited much attention, i.e., not to my taste.



Intro to the TV special.  Just including this to set the mood.



"Reception."  Actually, not a bad bass line intro to the album, though the radio snippets are way overdone.  It sounds like Paul was just having a little self-indulgent fun with this, sitting in the studio by himself pretending to be Funky.  And, he almost pulls it off.  Which is fine - for a home recording for his own amusement.



"Old Siam Sir."  Wings trying to be Van Halen, with all the mugging for the camera in the video and Linda acting goofy.  Better song than the presentation would suggest.  A good song, not very good or great, but more than just a filler.  Pleasant enough. 


"Arrow through me."  Great bass line and synthesizer, Paul doing his mellow schtick. Did he get the title from the Steve Martin bit?  Don't laugh, "Sgt. Pepper" apparently came from salt and pepper shakers.  Not my favorite on the album, for sure.


"Getting Closer."  A very good song, hardly great, but still listenable.  Nice harmonies, a neglected art these days.  I like it, but not particularly memorable.


"Winter Rose/Love Awake."  I personally don't like the raspy voice thing, but opinions can differ.  Paul goes for a medieval feel with "Winter Rose," and succeeds, but they did it better back then with the originals.  ;)  A good song, I don't put it in the "masterpiece" category like some, but certainly under-appreciated.  I don't think he needed the whole group for this, simply sitting by a fire with a guitar like in "Calico Skies" would have sufficed.


"Rockestra."  This was a big deal when it came out, getting a lot of publicity, which I'm sure was the only reason for doing it at all.  Lots of stars involved, everyone no doubt had fun making it, all hiding the fact that it isn't much of a song at all.  That I don't like it probably says more about me than the song, but if you are going to jam, you could liven things up with some solos and extended riffs.  Did not do particularly well when released as a single.  Having everyone simply hammer the main line, heck, you could do that by yourself on a Moog.


"Spin it On."  Another strained attempt to be Van Halen.  The lyrics are bit cute for me, but as a loud rocker it is fine.  Linda, you really didn't need to spin around in the video, we get it....


"Again and Again and Again."  I am probably alone on this, but I find this a refreshing break from the overbearing rockers on this album.  It actually has a nice melody and nice breaks.  Everybody seems more relaxed, just being themselves rather than trying to be someone else.  Almost a duet between Paul and Denny, there should have been more of this - and, yes, I realize most people find this one of the worst songs on the album.  But a nice song.


"So Glad to See You Here."  The full Rockestra lineup again.  I will say this for it, it is better than the "Rockestra" theme because it's an actual song and it has a little variety, with (too few) harmonies and backing vocals that are greatly needed.  If you are going to assemble talent for the sake of assembling talent, you need to relax control and let the others show their individuality.  That is something Paul has never excelled at doing.  Good, not great.


"To You."  Nice guitar solo to open it, making you think it might be sparse and even acoustic, but then it opens up in a good way.  Unfortunately, it loses its way midway through, as Paul shows signs of giving in to the unfortunate tendency that overlays the entire album of substituting noise for creativity instead of maintaining a steady theme.  The little Van Halen riffs in the middle show where his mind was while producing this album, and the repetition simply gets old by the end of the song.  Nice start that unfortunately peters out.  Have I used the word "unfortunate" enough yet?  Should have been the title.


"Daytime Nighttime Suffering."  The B side to "Goodnight Tonight."  Paul at his vocal best, sort of a precursor of the classic "Wanderlust."  It doesn't have the persistent noise that infests "Back to the Egg," which is a good thing.  Nice melodies, and it sounds like he actually is trying to say something, unlike, oh, "Spin it On."  Better than anything actually on the album.


"Goodnight Tonight."  The hit single from the "Back to the Egg" era.  One of the smoothest bass lines of all time.  I would make the argument that this was the genesis for the entire "new romantic" movement that followed, though that might be a stretch.  Very nice guitar work, the occasional goofiness works, and Paul is in good voice.  It certainly foreshadowed some stuff in the 1980s.  A very good song, not quite in the great category.


"Wonderful Christmastime."  Not a Wings song, even though they are in the video, but it gets included with the album.  Good move by Paul financially, keeping it to himself, considering the millions it has generated for him by becoming a seasonal.  This song takes its hits because it doesn't match what people expect from a "rock" star, but personally I think it has a very advanced sound for 1979 that still sounds fresh today.  The synthesizer work is just outstanding.  I like it.  A lot.  A great song, and a classic, and a great promo film, too.




tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 11:11:25 PM »

Nice review James. We dont see eye to eye on a lot of the album, but thats what makes music fun. Looking forward to future reviews from you.

Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2012, 12:01:32 AM »

Quote
"Winter Rose/Love Awake."  I personally don't like the raspy voice thing, but opinions can differ.  Paul goes for a medieval feel with "Winter Rose," and succeeds, but they did it better back then with the originals.    A good song, I don't put it in the "masterpiece" category like some, but certainly under-appreciated. I don't think he needed the whole group for this, simply sitting by a fire with a guitar like in "Calico Skies" would have sufficed.

Im the opposite.
When I listen to Winter Rose, I cant help thinking he could have made something much bigger with it, but lazily tagged another half song on the end of it......... an wonderfully atmospheric piece with great possibilities that doesnt go with the rest of this album at all, the fretless bass fits very well.
For me this is another one (A Typical) collection of Pauls flaky directionless recycled ditty's, ok were jumping onto the disco/punk bandwaggon but the result is still the same......completely average songs with nonsensical lyrics..

What a shame the man who wrote truly great songs (that once were covered by other major artists) churned out these kind of albums, he really needed someone to tell him .....NO !

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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 12:31:55 AM »

The next album would be the one where somebody needed to tell him no.  ;D

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2012, 03:26:39 AM »

Im the opposite.
When I listen to Winter Rose, I cant help thinking he could have made something much bigger with it, but lazily tagged another half song on the end of it.........

What a shame the man who wrote truly great songs (that once were covered by other major artists) churned out these kind of albums, he really needed someone to tell him .....NO !

I agree with your "Winter Rose" comment 100%.  It would have worked better either stripped down completely or fleshed out with the full treatment.  What we get instead is a soggy limp noodle, half-completed song fragments masquerading as finished product.

If I can put my own spin on your latter comment, about someone to say "No" - I interpret that to mean that he needed George Martin.  That is spot on.  Someone needed to turn this undisciplined mess that had so many good concepts into a real album composed of complete songs with beginnings, middles and ends and proper treatments.  A riff with radio noise is not a song!  When Paul fortunately finally realized this, we got "Tug of War."

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Re: Microscope: Back To The Egg
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2012, 03:29:33 AM »

Worked with Nigel Godrich and 'Chaos and Creation' too.
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