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Paul McCartneys "RAM" vs John Lennons "Imagine"
13 January 2013
7.57pm
meanmistermustard
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How Do You Sleep isnt as poorly executed as Steel and Glass which was Johns swipe at Klein. John's vocal on the S&G outtake on the Anthology is good but the lyrics are awful. At least some thought went into the lyrics on HDYS as well as some great guitar from George and the string swirls. There is a really good outtake out there, Take 2, with a great shout from John of "Nicky" for Nicky H to play a solo as well "hit it George".

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
13 January 2013
9.29pm
The Walrus
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Funny Paper said
What does "and you broke it in two mean"?]

Paul's blaming John for their "break-up"…?

I took it to be Paul saying that songs like Cold Turkey and the stunts John was doing with Yoko were a waste of time for someone so famous, much like "and since you're gone you're just Another Day" from How Do You Sleep?

Alternatively, it could be that Paul really was only directing a couple of lines ("preaching practices- don't let them tell you what you wanna be!") at John, rather than the whole song and most of Ram like Lennon assumed.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
13 January 2013
11.28pm
robert
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"You broke it in two" I believe is just a lyrical expression meaning that John took the Beatles (his lucky break – no doubt both their lucky breaks)  and broke it – wrecked it.

Regarding RAM versus Imagine, it's funny but while I consider myself more of a Lennon fan than a McCartney fan, RAM is constantly in my music rotation while I can't remember the last time I listened to the Imagine album.

Now if it was RAM versus Plastic Ono Band – in my opinion – RAM doesn't even come close to that masterpiece.

Just my thoughts

"She looks more like him than I do."
14 January 2013
2.43am
Funny Paper
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"broke it in two" could be more poignant than that -- John broke apart the Lennon/McCartney relationship and all that meant musically (if not in more ways).  Paul may have meant (and felt) this, at the time.

 

Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol.
14 January 2013
3.36am
linkjws
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Wasn't '3 Legs' also a shot at John and The Beatles?

14 January 2013
3.45am
Ron Nasty
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It wasn't more poignant. It's worth reading Joe's entries on the album and songs. He includes lots of relevant quotes. This one comes from a 1984 Playboy interview with McCartney:

"I was looking at my second solo album, Ram, the other day and I remember there was one tiny little reference to John in the whole thing. He'd been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit. In one song, I wrote, "Too many people preaching practices," I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn't anything else on it that was about them. Oh, there was 'Yoko took your lucky break and broke it in two'."

McCartney likes to be liked, he likes the image of being the "nice Beatle", and you can hear him playing down the messages he was sending. You have to put the whole thing into the context of what was happening at the time. Lennon and McCartney were conducting a war of words across the pages of Melody Maker, and it spilled over into their songwriting. It was an ugly divorce played out in public, and both showed less appealing aspects of their characters over its course.

 

EDIT: The above appeared while I was typing this. "3 Legs" was seen as a comment on The Beatles' split. Strange thing is, John pointed to this as a Paul song he liked.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
16 January 2013
9.05pm
I Me Mine
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tkj said
For some reason I always compare these two albums in my head, probably because of Paul and Johns rivalry at this point. Pauls "Too Many People" and Johns "How Do You Sleep?" etc. 

These are two very good albums, alot of great stuff on both. But, the winner imo is Pauls "RAM". I love all the songs on this album, except maybe the second half of "The Back Seat Of My Car" (The "Ohh we believe that we cant be long" part..) 
I also like almost every song on Johns album, but I find Pauls more creative. 

What?  "The Back Seat of my Car" is my favourite song on the album and the "we believe that we cant be long" is my favourite part of the song!

I agree with everything else you 've said though. I like Imagine but Ram is an amazing record. Just the vocal harmonies on "Dear Boy" are enough to justify my choise to vote for Ram on the poll.

Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble.
16 January 2013
11.02pm
Funny Paper
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"What?  "The Back Seat of my Car" is my favourite song on the album and the "we believe that we cant be long" is my favourite part of the song!"

 

I agree.  It never ceases to amaze me that people have different tastes!  All seriousness aside, I don't mind variety (it's the spice of life, after all), but it's sometimes dismaying when someone positively dislikes or disdains something clearly excellent.  "Subjectivity" is the bane of the post-modern world.

 

Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol.
24 January 2013
2.00am
LongHairedLady
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I Me Mine said

What?  "The Back Seat of my Car" is my favourite song on the album and the "we believe that we cant be long" is my favourite part of the song!

 

Me too!  a-hard-days-night-paul-8

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

24 January 2013
2.13am
DrBeatle
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Isn't it "we believe that we can't be *wrong*?"

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

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24 January 2013
2.19am
LongHairedLady
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DrBeatle said
Isn't it "we believe that we can't be *wrong*?"

You're right, I didn't even notice that until now..

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

24 January 2013
2.31am
DrBeatle
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:-D

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

24 January 2013
8.17am
Funny Paper
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I also like "Wrong-Haired Lady"…a-hard-days-night-paul-5

 

Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol.
30 August 2013
1.26pm
trcanberra
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I went with Ram – which I have loved since release.  Now, if it was Ram and Plastic Ono Band – that would be tough.

30 August 2013
3.27pm
Funny Paper
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If the comparison is Lennon's Imagine and McCartney's Ram, there's no contest -- the latter is clearly superior.

But if we're comparing Lennon's Mind Games to McCartney's Ram, there might be a stiffer competition in my view (or I suppose to match up the years, it would be to McCartney's Red Rose Speedway, put out in 1973).

I'd have to disagree with the review here on Beatles Bible (I think written by site owner and creator, Joe) when it describes some of the songs as "aimless fillers" -- Intuition, Bring On The Lucie (Freeda People), and Only People; which to me are immensely enjoyable to listen to.  Along with these, Lennon wrote some amazingly beautiful and poetic love songs, like Out the Blue, One Day (At A Time) and You Are Here.  The beginning guitar picking of Out the Blue and the ongoing vocal melody, for example, are more musically sophisticated and beautiful than anything McCartney has ever done (even if I remain deeply pleased with and tickled by most of McCartney's songs on his first five albums).  The cleverly titled Tight A$, which Joe seems to like (though still guardedly), is as satisfying as a very tasty meal capped off with a cold beer.  Then there's the title track, Mind Games, an amazing song, both musically and lyrically.

 

 

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30 August 2013
5.25pm
meanmistermustard
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The vocals on One Day At A Time make it almost unlistenable for me. Overall tho Mind Games is an enjoyable enough listen, the remaster making it a bit brighter but its nothing to get excited by. An album recorded by numbers, as John would probably admit to.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
2 September 2013
10.35pm
acmac
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Ram for me. It's a shiny, shambolic powerhouse, madly beautiful, and I love it. That it manages to marry a pleasing shot-from-the-hip vibe with some gorgeous, nuanced production is just remarkable -- even more so for the fact that it all still sounds so fresh forty years later. And it absolutely nails that peak of artistic performance: effortlessness
 
(Of course, like so much of McCartney's material, it's often been damned with faint praise like "fun but meaningless" which, as someone who finds his work deeply resonant, I object to and will try to explain why below.) 
 
By contrast, Imagine sounds rather labored and self-conscious. I don't know; maybe it's mostly the dated production that gives this impression, or John's often lackluster vocals (notable exceptions: "Oh My Love," "Gimme Some Truth," title track). Not sure if it was a physical problem or a mental one, but he just doesn't sound "in the moment" (he's also starting that bad habit of relying way too much on melisma, a general complaint I have with his solo material).
 
That's not to say there isn't some great stuff on it. "Oh My Love" is easily my favorite track, and pretty much flawless. Simple, sincere, melancholy. A worthy three-quel to "Julia" and "Because."
 
"Imagine," "How Do You Sleep," and "Jealous Guy" are the most momentous tracks, and I can't fault their craftsmanship. But their messages put me off. John has been thoroughly taken to task for the "no possessions" line, but "Imagine" itself is still wonderfully dreamy, instantly transportive, and really quite perfect for what it is. Although I'm definitely one who sees Prince John of Peace as a naked emperor, the very fact that he so craved that elevated status, and had the gravitas (or whatever) to very nearly pull it off… well, that's part of what makes him such a fascinating character in the first place, isn't it? 
 
"Jealous Guy" is truly beautiful (if oppressively produced), and the lyrics are solid. But I hate the message. "Sorry I hurt you but blah blah me me me poor me BRAVE me pity ME." Yuck. Not my cuppa. "How Do You Sleep" has some really cool guitar, and the Asian-flavored strings are great, but the lyrics are so dishonest, cruel, and small that the song undermines itself.   
 
"Gimme Some Truth" is Imagine's "Too Many People," and makes for a neat comparison between the authors. "Truth" is wonderfully Lennon: blunt, clever, and spittin' mad. But personally I prefer "People" for its moments of generosity ("too many hungry people losing weight") and for its ambiguity ("too many people paying parking fines" -- is he protesting the lawbreakers or the lawgivers?). Also it's firmly rooted in the world of images, where McCartney does his best work, at that sweet spot where specificity and universality converge -- the ground zero of all my favorite poetry. But then I'm an imagist at heart; give me ambiguous imagery any day over a laundry list of adjectives.
 
"Monkberry Moon Delight" is another imagistic feast for the senses, slash Rorschach test, slash glimpse into Paul's post-breakup turmoil. Devin McKinney of Hey Dullblog used the term "gargoyle-ugly" in a review of Ram, which fits this song perfectly -- it's the monster under the bed. But perhaps a harmless one? I know some (most?) people think this song's just a bit of babbling malarky -- but then some people (as in, paid music critics) think "Mr Bellamy" is a cat stuck up a tree. Which, just, no. IMO, "Monkberry," like "Bellamy," is the sound of Paul exorcising some demons. I find the line "my hair is a tangled Beretta" particularly poignant -- (A) it should be a Magritte painting, (B) it's a brilliant image for the weight of the Beatles legacy (i.e., a gun held to his head). 
 
Similarly, the oft-maligned "Smile Away" is upbeat, but in a manic, desperate way; he's trying to get from "don't know how to do that" to "learning how to do that" by "smiling away" in the face of opposition (in this case, three friends who think he stinks, HMMM). Classic "fake it till you make it" statement, and a perfect snapshot of that mental tipping point you hit mid-crisis, where things are happening too fast, reasoned planning fails, and instinct kicks in to save your ass. That's why this song is queued toward the end of my workout playlist, just before the cool-down music. It's the perfect accompaniment to that last desperate push where you're trusting momentum to keep your limbs flailing through the finish line. And it sounds great, too, the growling fuzz bass and Paul's off-leash vocal contributing to the sheer aural tastiness with which Ram overfloweth.   
 
Even "Long-haired Lady," parts of which I loathe, keeps me coming back -- that is one heck of a pretty tune, exquisitely sung. And though I roll my eyes at the "bees are buzzing"-type lines, on the other hand I can't help but be charmed by the intimacy of "brief, occasional laughter" and the pure exuberance in phrases like "dear, pheNOMenal lady!" It evokes an itchy-good blend of irritation and pleasure, the sonic equivalent of being tickled: annoying, but also feels kinda good… and damned if it doesn't make me smile.
 
Just one more, I think, in case anybody's still reading: "Uncle Albert." Oh, "Uncle Albert." The opening line is a perfect shout-out to all of McCartney's fellow pleasers, tryers, emotional avoidants, overly-compliant children, and guilty parties. "We're so sorry if we caused you any pain. We're so sorry, Uncle Albert, but there's no one left at home and I believe I'm gonna rain." What a gorgeous double meaning: I'm so alone I'm gonna cry / Please leave me alone so I can cry. And how like Paul to apologize over and over (sometimes genuinely, sometimes sarcastically) before letting the storm roll in. After which, by way of self-soothing, he escapes to his weird little Paul-land full of crickets and Admirals, gypsies and butter pies -- and la-la-lovely music, of course. What a delightful headcase of a song. That it should be on Ram is especially apt, since he would soon be offering an equally bewildered apology after the album was reviled by the press: "I tried so very hard and I really hoped people would like it. I thought I had done a great album."
 
Aw. You did, Paul. You did.
heart heart heart
3 September 2013
1.57am
Funny Paper
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Nice review.  Though I may disagree about a few details (I'm not irritated in the least by Long Haired Lady), it's good to see someone expatiate at length about why they like a given album, and it helps when it's honestly mixed, rather than simplistically and uniformly positive. 

P.S.: I just noticed that the Beatles Bible article on the song fails to mention who plays the orchestral instruments.  I can distinctly hear, for example, some trumpets and/or French horns; and I'm also pretty sure there are strings there.

Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol.
3 September 2013
2.42am
Ron Nasty
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Funny Paper said
I'd have to disagree with the review here on Beatles Bible (I think written by site owner and creator, Joe)…

I would say this in regard to a comment like this about any album, just as I would comment exactly the same were someone to comment that they agreed. Joe's articles are NOT reviews but articles, any reflection on the quality of contents is Joe doing his best to give a flavour of how the work was/is regarded in general. Joe's reviews on each album would probably be most interesting, and glimpses have been seen in the forum, but the main site would not be the wealth of information and education that it is were Joe not to keep his personal opinions out of it as much as possible. That he reflects opinion I have seen in many other places, that he may totally disagree with, is proof of that. Joe's article on Mind Games reflects the general view of the album, rather than being a personal view.

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3 September 2013
2.50am
Funny Paper
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mja6758 said

Funny Paper said
I'd have to disagree with the review here on Beatles Bible (I think written by site owner and creator, Joe)…

I would say this in regard to a comment like this about any album, just as I would comment exactly the same were someone to comment that they agreed. Joe's articles are NOT reviews but articles, any reflection on the quality of contents is Joe doing his best to give a flavour of how the work was/is regarded in general. Joe's reviews on each album would probably be most interesting, and glimpses have been seen in the forum, but the main site would not be the wealth of information and education that it is were Joe not to keep his personal opinions out of it as much as possible. That he reflects opinion I have seen in many other places, that he may totally disagree with, is proof of that. Joe's article on Mind Games reflects the general view of the album, rather than being a personal view.

Well, I still disagree with that general view.

Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol.
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