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Best post-Beatles McCartney songs
28 March 2012
5.07am
kedame
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Michael B said
When I first heard Ram, I thought it was quite "meh."  But for reasons I cannot pinpoint, the more I've heard it the more it has grown on me.   I think George and John both put out terrific post-Beatles work, and I don't think their work ought to be viewed as a competitive sport.  That being said, I think Ram is simply stunningly good in its diversity, its free-spiritedness and its inventiveness.  It's right up there as one of the best post-Beatles albums, and I'd say it's as good as several Beatles albums.  It may be lacking a straight-forward flat-out masterpiece, but I venture to say it may be the best album ever made without a masterpiece song.  If I were forced to nominate a masterpiece from Ram, I'd choose "Back Seat of My Car."   Again, the same story.  The first time I heard it struck me as meandering and tough to follow and plagued with odd chord segues.   But now I think it's simply gorgeous, for simple beauty among the best stuff in rock.  

Here's a question.  What's so terrible about Silly Love Songs?  The lyrics are no better than average, admittedly, but he has three catchy melodies, and he joins them quite creatively.  Now there's no doubt I like Paul (and the other Beatles as well) far more than the average rock fan, but I don't give any of them, including Paul, an absolute free ride.  I personally think Wonderful Christmas Time ranks among the worst pop pieces ever written.  Indeed, Paul's written perhaps a half-dozen post-Beatles songs that are beyond cringe-worthy.  (I even quite dislike "Dear Friend," which is quite inconceivable for some.) But given the hundreds of songs he's written, that's not so surprising.  But back to my question, can someone explain what makes Silly Love Songs subject a giant target of derision?  Is it simply the subject matter?  The lyrics?  Surely it's not the music. 

Other favorite post-Beatles McCartney songs:

That Would Be Something

Maybe I'm Amazed

Most everything on Ram

My Love (brings back good memories of hearing it on am radio as a kid)

Hi Hi Hi (pure fun)

Band on the Run

1985

Let me roll it

Jet

You Gave Me the Answer (very underrated song)

 Baby's Request (Okay, so I have a weakness for his Dance Hall music, the music that John derided.)

Coming Up

Wanderlust  (one of the prettiest melodies he wrote)

 

Okay…so I'll end here and return to finish on another post. 

That question about Silly Love Songs is a good one, indeed. Because I wasn't born until 1989, I can't really answer why critics initially disliked it. I think it's great, and people can still remember it all these years later. (That's one thing that is special about all of Paul's pop singles. They are memorable. My Sunday school teacher was cleaning windows at church during our clean up day on Saturday, and someone knocked on the window. She started singing, "Someone's knockin' at the door…" Had no idea it was Paul McCartney until I loudly let her know, but she remembered the song.)

I think there is an irony to Silly Love Songs because it basically says, "Fuck off. I'll sing what I want. And add a brilliant bass line and melody on top of it." Rock n' roll is partially about rebelling, right? Paul, however, rebelled against the rock "establishment." I don't think they liked that very much, if they even took the time to think about the implications of the song. Most likely, it wasn't "serious" enough for them. After the "rock revolution," music became basically irrelevant to rock critics unless it had a deep meaning about war, drugs, sex, politics, blah, blah, blah. I can appreciate those songs, too, but what's wrong with a flat out good pop song about love? Rock and roll wouldn't exist without songs that have no deeper meaning. A lot of the early rock songs are just rollicking good fun. And there is NOTHING wrong with that.

It's funny how a music genre that embraced rebellion couldn't handle it when one of their own drifted around a little. That's one thing I appreciate about Paul. He never settles in one place. Even if the project turns out to be complete shit (like Give My Regards to Broadstreet), at least he tried and got it out of his system. It didn't work…let's move on. I guess some people just can't accept that.

On another note, I've recently really gotten into The White Stripes. Guess who Jack White's favorite Beatle is? Paul! That surprised me a little, but it turns out he doesn't like political songs. Out of all of his songs, there are only two songs with overt political messages. Anyway, just thought that was an interesting little tidbit.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
28 March 2012
1.27pm
meanmistermustard
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Re Silly Love Songs, the horns etc are what grates me and makes it sound badly dated.  However i do like all the parts to it, something Paul is an expert at.

And here is Silly Love Songs without the horns etc (which sounds pretty cool).

 

"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)
28 March 2012
6.42pm
Michael B
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Kedame:   Really like your analysis; it's very insightful.  It's kind of amazing how rock critics and the rock establishment decries pop music by (rightly) noting its short-term appeal while being blind to its own weddedness to short-term fads and prevailing currents.  It's my sense that Paul kind of does what he wants whenever he wants.  Example: Kisses on the Album.  Not only in the making of the album itself, which I haven't heard all the way through apart from his own compositions, but also in the dreadful name that he gave it.  No one wanted it.  Too bad, he did.  He wants to do it, so he does it.  In his own way, he stays true to himself, something that John advocated but never seemed capable of noting or acknowledging as an actual guiding principle in Paul himself. 

 

I think that writing catchy memorable tunes is an underrated talent.  Believe me, if it were easy I would absolutely quit my day job and go out there and make a million bucks doing it.  But it's really hard.  Maybe writing catchy tunes is semi-easy, but writing a catchy tune that is also memorable over a period of years is much tougher.   I think George, John and Paul all had this skill to a near-miraculous degree.  It's mind-boggling that these three talents were in the same band.  But of these three I think Paul stands unmatched in the modern era in coming up with good melodies.  This doesn't make him a better artist than John or George, but it simply puts him in a different league in this one area.  Nor is it the sole criterion for a good song, obviously.   Your Mother Should Know runs circles around I am the Walurs purely in terms of melody, but I Am The Walrus runs circles around Your Mother Should Know in its overall effect--which ultimately is the way to judge a piece of music (at least for me).  I think what John and George and Ringo brought to the table with Paul's music is the discipline and competition to do more with his melodies, to think about arrangements, to edit out the dross, and to add other melody lines or fills that complete the melody.   Paul's gift of melody has never gone away, in my opinion, though I think his desire to "do it all" by playing all the instruments prevents an inventive spontanaety that working with talented peers could provide.  

 

meanmistermustard: Love the video!  Thanks!  This version is definitely superior.  It makes it far more difficult to place the song in time. It hints at places of a Revolver sound, but it also definitely sounds very Wings-ish.  A better arrangement fo sho!

28 March 2012
8.40pm
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I like Silly Love Songs. I think it's quite clever, in that he's sort of making fun of himself for writing so much "mushy" stuff, while saying : "This is the way I feel so I'm writing this, and you can't stop me." It's a very honest sort of song. And it's a beautiful message: love isn't silly at all, because of the person I love.

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
29 March 2012
4.01am
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Michael B said
  If I were forced to nominate a masterpiece from Ram, I'd choose "Back Seat of My Car." 

I agree to the extent that it's right up there with Monkberry Moon Delight and Heart of the Country. What amazes me is not just that it's seriously under-rated (to the point that it NEVER comes up in any conversation or debate), but even I under-rated it when Ram came out; so much so that when I saw it on the song list of  the Wingspan retrospective years later, I could have sworn I'd never heard or heard of that song.

Having said that, I'm convinced that one day some political / religious / social movement will take it up as an anthem. Can't you hear it? "oooooo, oh, we believe that we CAN'T be wrong,   oooooo, oh, we believe that we CAN'T be wrong…."

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29 March 2012
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Michael B said
 

Here's a question.  What's so terrible about Silly Love Songs?

 

I've spent the better part of my life "defending" McCartney (like he really needs my defense) against the accusation that when the Beatles broke up he went soft, that he needed Lennon to write a song, that he was just Lennon's junior partner, etc…

So it does seem strange to be taking the anti-McCartney line here; but yes, I'm one of those who gets slightly nauseated every time I hear that song.

a) defending for years my opinion to others that McCartney is NOT just the purveyor of trite melodies, and then to have him come out with a lyric like "i want to fill the world with silly love songs" – that was a real stab in the back. And if you wonder why it took so long for him to make it into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, you can point directly to that song. And it's not just the high falutin' music critics. It was the rank and file Beatle fans who grew up with Paul and loved him.

Say to any number of people "Maybe I'm Amazed" "Every Night" "Live and Let Die" … and they'll answer: "Silly Love Songs"

b) one of the (many, many) things that has made McCartney great is that his love songs were NOT silly: All My Loving; And I Love Her; Things We Said Today; Here, There, and Everywhere, Maybe I'm Amazed; etc… Even the simplest song had an earnestness and certain depth. So why suddenly say you're going silly?

c) As long as I'm being the lone contrary voice here, I might as well go all the way: I actually like the horns. If this were just an instrumental, it would be an A+ song. In fact, I love the mashup with the Eminem vocals replacing McCartney's.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
29 March 2012
4.19am
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Michael B said
 

Here's a question.  What's so terrible about Silly Love Songs? 

 

I've spent the better part of my life "defending" McCartney (like he really needs my defense) against the accusation that when the Beatles broke up he went soft, that he needed Lennon to write a song, that he was just Lennon's junior partner, etc…

So it does seem strange to be taking the anti-McCartney line here; but yes, I'm one of those who gets slightly nauseated every time I hear that song.

a) defending for years my opinion to others that McCartney is NOT just the purveyor of trite melodies, and then to have him come out with a lyric like "i want to fill the world with silly love songs" – that was a real stab in the back. And if you wonder why it took so long for him to make it into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, you can point directly to that song. And it's not just the high falutin' music critics. It was the rank and file Beatle fans who grew up with Paul and loved him.

Say to any number of people "Maybe I'm Amazed" "Every Night" "Live and Let Die" … and they'll answer: "Silly Love Songs"

b) one of the (many, many) things that has made McCartney great is that his love songs were NOT silly: All My Loving; And I Love Her; Things We Said Today; Here, There, and Everywhere, Maybe I'm Amazed; etc… Even the simplest song had an earnestness and certain depth. So why suddenly say you're going silly?

c) As long as I'm being the lone contrary voice here, I might as well go all the way: I actually like the horns. If this were just an instrumental, it would be an A+ song. In fact, I love the mashup with the Eminem vocals replacing McCartney's.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
29 March 2012
4.33am
JF
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I'm new to the list and have enjoyed the posts.  I'd like to put in a big plug for "Maybe I'm Amazed," which is on a number of the posted lists, but which stands head and shoulders above the rest IMO.  The lyrics seem blunt and heartfelt--sort of Lennon-like.   And the soaring melody and in the bridge is just incomparable.  It sends chills down my spine.  And a great arrangement and performance too.

 

Beyond MIA I'll take:

Junk

Bluebird

Tiny Bubble

Back Seat of My Car

Heart of the Country

Oh Woman Oh Why

 

with honorable mention to:

Another Day

Here Today

Every Night

Teddy Boy

 

Cheers!

29 March 2012
5.57pm
kedame
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b) one of the (many, many) things that has made McCartney great is that his love songs were NOT silly: All My Loving; And I Love Her; Things We Said Today; Here, There, and Everywhere, Maybe I'm Amazed; etc… Even the simplest song had an earnestness and certain depth. So why suddenly say you're going silly?

I see your point…however, isn't that the whole point of the song? People (critics and John) had been telling Paul for years that all he wrote were "silly love songs," so he wrote a REAL Silly Love Songs. I don't know…I just see it as a sort of write off of his critics, but I do sympathize with your McCartney defense problem. No matter how many masterpiece songs he wrote (and continues to write), most people continue to point out the dredge, as if that were all he wrote. They don't do that with John or George, or anyone else not related to The Beatles, at least not to the extent they do it to Paul. Ahhh, well. I've just learned to grit my teeth and move on.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
29 March 2012
6.52pm
Zig
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I don't know about "best" post-Beatles McCartney songs, but my favorites include…

Mull of Kintyre

Picasso's Last Words

Just about anything off of Flaming Pie.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

29 March 2012
9.12pm
Zig
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a-hard-days-night-paul-6Yeah, paulsbass – you were one of the ones who convinced me to give FP a try. You said it was one of his Beatle-iest albums. 

I am so glad I took your advice and bought it. A fantastic album!

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

29 March 2012
10.20pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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I still haven't listened all the way through Flaming Pie – yet. I still need to get it on my IPod. As to the topic of SLS, I love it. When Linda sings "I Love You"… breathtaking.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
29 March 2012
10.39pm
meanmistermustard
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I think one of the problems the media have is that for many years, and certainly in the Beatles, Paul was the polite press pleaser. He's happy to give interviews and play part of the game still but he doesnt stay in the preconceived areas that some want to be kept.

Silly Love Songs was Pauls response to criticism to My Love when it was released as a single, and all the other love songs he had written. As Kedame said it was more a sarcastic reply to all the comments of him only ever doing and releasing soft cosy nice songs and something that Paul has always had to live with, and has only been strengthened since Johns murder. However if you look back at the singles he's released a lot of actually quite lively; Hi, Hi, Hi and Live and Let Die bookend My Love.

Basically the idea that the majority of Paul's output is love/ballad songs is garbage if his complete discography is analysed fairly.

"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)
30 March 2012
3.45am
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kedame said most people continue to point out the dredge, as if that were all he wrote. They don't do that with John or George, or anyone else not related to The Beatles, at least not to the extent they do it to Paul. Ahhh, well. I've just learned to grit my teeth and move on.

Truth be told, the critics were pretty merciless with John and George too (after All Things Must Pass) + neither did particularly well commercially.

It was after he died, that John's star rose (death is usually a good career move).

For fun, check out the critics' reviews of the Beatle albums in their day. You might be surprised.

(The New York Times was devastating in its review of Abbey Road.)

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30 March 2012
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kedame
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That's a good point! I hope Paul's career gets a reevaluation in the WAY distant future (because I don't want him to croak). As for now, I'll just happily listen to solo Paul. Although, I shouldn't complain too much because he has been getting really good reviews and awards lately. It's like he gets a new one every week. It's generally older Beatles fans who write him off (but not all of them!!).

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
30 March 2012
3.54pm
Zig
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I am reading a lot of posts in this thread that deal with what the media or "other people" or "most people" think. I have a hard time understanding what the obsession is with other people's thoughts.

If you like something, what the hell does it matter what others think? Whoever it was that said "ignorance is bliss" was almost right but not quite.  It should have been, "ignoring is bliss". Our beloved Fabs are the perfect example. As Into the Sky with Diamonds has said many times, a lot of critics panned most of the Beatles albums when they were first released. And yet…

Most of the things I've read in this thread about "people" not liking Paul's slow stuff or saying he only writes sappy stuff was a surprise to me because I have never once read a review of his material. I simply like or dislike any song of his on its own merit based on my own tastes. I am like that with just about everything in my life. As a result, I am one of the happiest people I know. Ignoring is bliss!

So when kedame says, "I've just learned to grit my teeth and move on" - I say, "Don't grit your teeth. That only leads to expensive dental work. Just move on".

You will be happier…and not just because I said so.a-hard-days-night-george-10

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

30 March 2012
6.35pm
Michael B
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Zig--

 

You make a great point.  I have a good friend who is a really fine drummer for a band.  He really knows music, especially Motown and jazz.  I was driving with him one day and he put in some pop stuff not in keeping with his other music--Justin Timberlake or Back Stree Boys, or something of the sort.  I asked him in a kind of snarky way why in the world he'd be listening to that!?   And his non-ironic very straight forward non-apologetic answer was: "Because I like it, and that's why anyone should listen to music.  Because you, not anyone else, likes it."  He wasn't a smartass.  He was just being straight-forward.  And wise.

 

However, I think the reason we DO care what other people think is because there are some objective elements of music.  So music (and musical acts) aren't like objective mathematics, where there's an absolutely correct right answer.  On the other hand, music isn't like, say, one's favorite color--a matter purely of personal taste with no right or wrong.  I mean anyone who hears me play the piano knows, and knows objectively, that I'm not as good at piano as, say, Billy Preston (or Paul or John or George, for that matter, and likley Ringo!).  That's not a subjective judgment.   Mozart may not be your favorite composer, but there's just some objective truth behind the idea that he was a musical genius. 

 

What's interesting about taste in music is it's a combination of both objectivity and subjectivty but the line between the two is blurred.  On matters of purely subjective taste it's ridiculous to argue.  I'd be crazy to tell you what your favorite color REALLY is.  Or what your favorite color SHOULD be.  On the other hand, on matters of objective truth, arguments are natural.  And they're even more natural when some objectivity is blended with the need for judgment coupled with subjective taste.    

30 March 2012
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I like a lot of post-Beatles McCartney songs but lately I'm playing this one a lot.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..1WAD1_jztg

 

It amazes me how this song is about some people ringing the bell.. and yet it's amazing. Maybe because it brings me beautiful memories of Up and Coming Tour concert and also, when I was a kid and my sister played a lot Wings at the Speed of Sound album.

 

Or just because the music is beautiful.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
31 March 2012
7.02am
kedame
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Zig said
I am reading a lot of posts in this thread that deal with what the media or "other people" or "most people" think. I have a hard time understanding what the obsession is with other people's thoughts.

If you like something, what the hell does it matter what others think? Whoever it was that said "ignorance is bliss" was almost right but not quite.  It should have been, "ignoring is bliss". Our beloved Fabs are the perfect example. As Into the Sky with Diamonds has said many times, a lot of critics panned most of the Beatles albums when they were first released. And yet…

Most of the things I've read in this thread about "people" not liking Paul's slow stuff or saying he only writes sappy stuff was a surprise to me because I have never once read a review of his material. I simply like or dislike any song of his on its own merit based on my own tastes. I am like that with just about everything in my life. As a result, I am one of the happiest people I know. Ignoring is bliss!

So when kedame says, "I've just learned to grit my teeth and move on" - I say, "Don't grit your teeth. That only leads to expensive dental work. Just move on".

You will be happier…and not just because I said so.a-hard-days-night-george-10

Yes, yes, I know…I've figured out already that I'll be a lot happier by just ignoring what everyone else says, but I like reading reviews. I know I will only be disappointed by negative comments, but I just can't seem to help myself sometimes. It's like reading a news story and getting caught up in all the bitching in the comments. I just can't seem to back away sometimes. I've gotten less sensitive to it, though, because by now I've read enough reviews, read enough articles with others bashing Paul, and heard enough negativity from other fans that I've learned to try to let it go.

I don't really know how to explain it …in my mind, it's like some huge injustice that Paul gets written off like he has in the past. I'm just arrogant enough to believe that if I like something, everyone should like it. What can I say…it's a character flaw. If I go off another woe-is-McCartney again, just let me know.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
31 March 2012
11.12am
beatlenutbob
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World tonight love that one

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