McCartney review by Paul McCartney

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  • Released: Apr 17, 1970
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (5 votes)
Paul McCartney: McCartney
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Sound — 9
An album that has its ups and downs - the ups, however, are high up and the downs are pure McCartney in a very touching way. Purity, a deliberate lack of polished production is the motto of McCartney's first solo album, recorded during the last months of the long drawn break-up of The Beatles. Turning his workmanship into a combination of self-therapy and provocative statement, McCartney stripped his arrangements of everything that he was famous for and audiences around the world expected of him: strings and horns, rich but subtle vocal harmonies, endless layers of overdubs - it's all gone.

Lyrics — 7
What is left is the man himself, pretty much alone: except for a few harmonies added by his loving wife, he produces every sound that can be heard on this record. He is good on this album and - as we all know - when he is good, he is nothing short of terrific. There are the beautiful chord patterns of "Every Night" and "Junk" (presented in an instrumental version as well). "That Would Be Something" is an acoustic guitar gem with a bluesy feel featuring a vocal "drum solo." Maybe "I'm Amazed" is an overwhelming, hard-rocking ballad, soon to become a staple in McCartney's live act until the present day. "Teddy Boy" is a leftover from 1968, rehearsed to death during the ill-fated "Get Back Sessions," resurrected here in a moving acoustic version (The Beatles' interpretation nowadays available on "Anthology 3"). Man We Was Lonely patters along airily and the collage "Hot as Sun/Glasses" combines a simple guitar instrumental with the sound of, yes indeed, glasses and a mysterious snippet from an otherwise unreleased McCartney composition called "Suicide."

Overall Impression — 10
When he is not that good, however, McCartney's output may touch the puerile or on a very bad day drift off into pure pettiness. There are, one has to admit it, songs on this collection that are dangerously close to at least one of these regions. "The Lovely Linda" and "Oo You" as well as the instrumentals "Valentine Day" and "Momma Miss America" may have passed neither John Lennon's nor George Martin's quality controls when McCartney was still a Fab. But for all that, the album as a whole is surrounded by a refreshing air of carelessness that definitely saves even the lesser songs: they are either mercifully short - innocent glimpses into the song writing laboratory - or delivered with a sense of urgency making them at least likable. "Kreen-Akrore," wisely positioned at the end of album, is a percussion experiment (heavy breathing of the hard working drummer included) finally giving way to chanting voices. Whether this is hubris or an ironic twist is up to the individual listener to decide.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MistyMorning
    I agree with a lot that you typed there Maguri(and it`s a well typed review)but for me personally when the albums up it`s great but it`s very rarely up,It sounds a lot like McCartney is messing about with music and getting to grips with being a solo artist(and i appreciate that and i know it`s just him and a touch of Linda).Had the album for many many years haven`t played it for many years,There`s a handful of really great tracks on it the rest are mundane and tedious to me,I think it`s amongst one of his worst studio albums,It seems rushed to me and i believe if he spent a little more time on it it could`ve been great through and through(shame)That`s my opinion on it anyway.
    maguri
    Agreed, too! We both see the album's greatness and its shortcomings but in the end one of us says "It's great even though it's flawed." and the other "This could (and should) have been better." To me it is a document of troubled times: McCartney was in no position to deliver a "classic" album then. I really like the chuzpe that he not only didn't try but deliberately downsized the whole attempt. It is an honest and open album and I feel McCartney rarely displays these traits, so I enjoy this album for showing this side of him.
    MistyMorning
    There seems to be a lot of agreement over this album `cause i agree with what your reply reads(i just think we have slightly different ways of expressing pretty much the same thing).I think Macca knew he had a few great tracks there and they were not going to waste(without them we would not be typing this as the album i believe wouldn`t have happened)And yeah you can see Paul stripped naked there and that`s something that brings a different nice vibe to this album(and yeah that`s one of it`s positives)Track wise the majority it`s almost like O.K it`s a track just stick it on the album with a sense of no over thinking or self critique.*A lot was happening no more Beatles(Paul must have thought i`ve lost my best mates there)Life had changed massively for him,Now we all know Lennon/McCartney were in competition working together now apart that`s a completely different competition altogether(it all must have been a major downer).  *And on the album McCartney it shows.