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Ranking Paul's Studio Albums
25 March 2014
11.20am
Michael B
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Musketeer Gripweed.  Points well taken. So I'll contribute now to the content of the actual thread.  My favorite of Paul's post-Beatles studio albums:

I don't own them all in their entirety, though I have a song or two from all of them.  I'll only rank the albums I own. 

 

1. Ram. In my opinion the best post-Beatles album.  Plastic Ono Band and ATMP are strong contenders as well; both are fabulous.  But no other post-Beatles album--and very few Beatles albums--captures the wild musical diversity and musical richness of songs that one finds in Ram.   In the ending few measures of Dear Boy Paul channels ol' J.S. Bach.  

2.  Band on the Run.  

3. Tug of War.  One of the first ten albums i ever owned.  Some of his best melodies.  (Can you tell I'm a melody guy more than a lyric guy?) Tug of War and Wanderlust are fabulous.  

4.  New.  Paul gets unusually personal in Early Days.  A nice rare touch.  

5. Electric Arguments.  Again, we see a kind of musical diversity of song that isn't simply unique to Paul compared to his fellow Beatles but is virtually unique in the music world.  

6. Flaming Pie. 

7.  Chaos and Creation.  It feels an injustice to rank Chaos and Creation number 7.  Jenny Wren is as good as anything he's ever done. 

8. Venus and Mars.  A really fun album.  The first time I heard Magneto and Titanium Man I thought that, yes, Paul deserves every invective hurled his way.  What a ridiculous song. Childish.  Why doesn't Paul grow up?  But then I found myself humming it to myself and wanting to hear it again.  And I did.  Over and again.  So there you have Paul in a nutshell.  The guy isn't a philosopher; let's be honest.  He's rarely profound.  Lyrically he's not John or George (or a thousand other songwriters), which is not to say he can't write the occasional heartfelt or thought-provoking lyric.  But what the guy can do is write melodies and hooks like no one since--who?--Schubert perhaps.  

9.   Flowers in the Dirt.

10. McCartney.  Plenty of good, bad, and ugly--all.  But on balance the good easily outweighs the bad for me. 

11.  Memory almost Full.  This album seems a little unrealized to me.  Lots of good moments. A couple of terrific songs.  (My fave is "That was me.") But for whatever reason it doesn't work as an album for me as fully as I think it could for reasons I can't quite articulate. I don't know what's missing, exactly. 

12. Back to the Egg.  

13.  London Town. 

14. Choba B CCP

A few gratuitous comments.  I don't know who's more talented or the better song-writer, John or Paul.  It's not a competition, though I find myself stupidly thinking along these lines.  Why?  When I was younger I never did this.  I loved The Beatles.  I loved John.  I loved Paul.  I loved George and Ringo.  I didn't feel the need to parse out their every contribution and to weigh and evaluate their exact contributions--as though musical appreciation is a science. I think on balance it's a little ridiculous when I find myself doing that.  So I try to avoid "Who's better" thinking.  But I think a comparison along different lines is worth pursuing.  John said that for him writing every song was "torture."   We know that he could, if necessary, write a song overnight. (Help. A Hard Day's Night.)  But one does not gather that melodies were floating through his brain 24/7 whether he wanted them to or not.  In contrast, Paul always speaks of songs as coming to him effortlessly.  He finds songwriting easy.  Melodies come to him in his sleep.   I wonder whether that helps explain some differences between the two songwriters.  John really worked at his songs--his chords are a little more unexpected and unusual; his lyrics a little more meaningful.  He played with his guitar and piano until he found an interesting sound.   In contrast, Paul sort of cranks out songs whenever he wants.  Aaron Copland said that melody was a gift from the gods; melodies come when they do.  If you think of melody as the top line playable with one finger on the piano, I think Paul's melodies truly are (taken as a body of work) the greatest in the modern era.   

John has his shares of fabulous melodies.  Yes, of course.  And Paul's chord choices are at times surprising, his lyrics intriguing.  But they each had their respective strengths.  And I wonder finally whether the very ease at which melodies come to Paul sometimes allow him to create songs that might have shown more soul were he forced to struggle a bit more with their creation.  Example:  "So Bad."   Taken solely as a melody in the manner noted above, "So Bad" is really beautiful. But the song itself is ... well, it depends on one's perspective, I suppose.  I like the melody enough to like the song, but I can easily understand how someone might (rightly) think it no better than a silly love song.  

 

25 March 2014
12.51pm
Atlas
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Billy Rhythm basically writes off 40 odd years of Paul's work as rubbish……..As is his entitlement it seems.

A rightly peeved Paulbass picks up the gauntlet on Paul's behalf and draws the ire of the Lords of the Board……. And now feels compelled to buggar-off and I don't blame him.

BR knew he was being divisive and should be able to accept his contentious statements would be contested.

 Surely this place is big enough for the both points of view. If it ain't…..You can delete me too.

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paulsbass
25 March 2014
4.10pm
Zig
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@Atlas 

"Billy Rhythm basically writes off 40 odd years of Paul's work as rubbish……..As is his entitlement it seems."

Entitlement? No. Opinion? Yes, although since the OP asked for rankings, maybe the initial post by Billy would have been better posted elsewhere. Lesson learned.

"A rightly peeved Paulbass picks up the gauntlet on Paul's behalf and draws the ire of the Lords of the Board……. And now feels compelled to buggar-off and I don't blame him."

Nothing drew the ire of this Lord of the Board. I simply asked both parties to focus more on why they feel they way they do and not focus on why they think the other was wrong. These are opinions, after all. If paulsbass wants to stay or leave, that is entirely up to him as long as he is civil. That goes for everyone, including yours truly.

"BR knew he was being divisive and should be able to accept his contentious statements would be contested."  

That is quite the assumption.

"Surely this place is big enough for the both points of view. If it ain't…..You can delete me too."

It's big enough for everyone's opinions - including yours. No reason for anyone to be deleted.

Now, can we all please just

stay-on-topic 

Thank you.

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25 March 2014
4.32pm
Von Bontee
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Well, Paulsbass kinda has a history of showing up to defend Paul McCartney's honour, getting people angry at him leading to arguments, then warnings from moderators; and then proclaiming he's leaving the forum in a huff, never to return. And then returning after 6 months or so to repeat the process. It's a fun game we all like to play! :D :( :D :(

(For my part, I thought Billy Rhythm's contribution was worthwhile, and completely on topic: He ranked the two albums he liked ahead of the 40-odd ones he hated. Nice to see a think-piece among all those undifferentiated lists of 26 or 9 or 17 random albums.)

But just to stay on topic...hmm, I've already ranked the albums I've heard. So I'll rank the Paul McCartney albums that I'm most-to-least interested in hearing!

1-4. Memory Almost Full, New, Driving Rain, Chaos & Creation - People have been speaking well of 21st Century-Paul for quite some time, enough to get me interested. It's really just a matter of overcoming my instinctive dislike of 21st Century production methods.

(to be continued...I've got work to do!)

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IveJustSeenAFaceo
One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
25 March 2014
5.24pm
meanmistermustard
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There is no ant-bias towards anyone here as far i can tell. As far as i can make out, and what i posted over whenever it was (and this is dragging on for so long it seems like years ago), it was about name calling not the views posted or the opinions held towards Paul's catalogue. By all means disagree strongly (i'm not looking for or expecting complete agreement on every point as otherwise it would be tedious) just refrain from name calling and personal insults. Its one of the very few rules.

Paulsbass apologised for his part and we had moved on from the whole damn thing yet here we back traipsing thru, going over the same stuff. Can we all just draw a line under it all and move on.

 

 

 

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25 March 2014
6.07pm
Von Bontee
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Paulsbass, you can't leave now! You're only five posts away from 700 - don't you want to get mentioned and congratulated in the ""Milestone Posts" thread?

Anyway, back on topic...More ranking-of-albums-I've-yet-to-hear:

5-7. Wings at the Speed of Sound, London Town, Back To The Egg - I need to hear these to complete what I know about Wings' output. All I currently know about these is the singles, some of which I like. These haven't got a lot of critical praise as Wings albums, but I have a predisposed interest in them because the 1970s is my favourite beginning-to-end decade for rock/pop music.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
25 March 2014
8.05pm
Zig
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OK, paulsbass that really is enough. This is bullshit. Go, stay whatever. Boo fecking hoo.

If you want to talk about the ranking of Paul's albums, keep posting in this thread. If you want to bitch, moan, and cry, start a new topic in another thread. There is no room for it here.

And everyone else, please stop feeding him straight lines. It is not funny.

If you disagree paulsbass, you are highly encouraged to do so with me via PM.

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25 March 2014
8.22pm
Von Bontee
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Sorry, Zig. Sorry, everybody. :(

8-9. Flaming Pie, Run Devil Run - These two I don't know much about, don't know if there's even any critical consensus around them. Maybe they're old enough to feel "classic" by now?

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
25 March 2014
10.40pm
Billy Rhythm
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Von Bontee said
Flaming Pie, Run Devil Run - These two I don't know much about, don't know if there's even any critical consensus around them. Maybe they're old enough to feel "classic" by now?

It's the closest thing to a Paul McCartney blues record ('Run Devil Run&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10, depending on your definition of blues for everyone seems to have their own.  I'd prefer it over the "synth-pop" material that he'd dabbled in on more than one occasion, but it's not really his "forte", in my opinion.  You be the judge:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....RyzZwdXWwk

 

I like the production but feel as though the album lacks substance, I haven't listened to this one personally since the year it came out, nor do I feel compelled to listen to it anytime soon, but that's just me.  'Flaming Pie' was generally warmly received from what I recall, but I don't really enjoy that one either..:-)

26 March 2014
12.45am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I feel like I missed something...

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26 March 2014
1.11pm
plastic
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Well I only have 3 of Paul McCartney's studio albums sorry as I had been mainly working my way through the Beatles and John Lennon's albums in the last 18 months but what I lack in knowledge and numbers I have tried to compensate for by being seriously verbose lol (apologies in advance)

1st: McCartney.

This is a very special piece of work. It is the musical equivalent of a self-portrait. Minimalist, pure, simple but capturing perfectly in music the fragmented state of McCartney's life, world and music in that moment. We hear of his affection for his new wife in the simple and melodious Lovely Linda. His amazement at the depth of feelings he can barely comprehend in Maybe I'm amazed, a raw and powerful ballad, one of his best.

Themes of loneliness, a fight to the death between hunter and prey, taking comfort in the love of another. I find the whimsical song about uselessness the discarding of things so valued so bought into and now discarded, gone, - junk - truly beautiful. McCartney sings about his nervous breakdown, not wanting to get up, not being able to get out of bed, just wanting to get out of his head, of just wanting to stay in night after night and in song we learn how imporant Linda was in pulling him through his worst of times.

Paul McCartney is a musical genius. This album is the sound a musical man's heart makes when it breaks, you don't hear tears, or screams, you hear fragments of melody. You hear wistful tunes encapsulating nostalgia, regret and defeat, raw acoustics, a drum pounding like a rapid heart beat as the prey takes flight and raw emotional piano riffs.You also hear strands of comfort love and hope. McCartney's inner world, even in turmoil, is not completely dark. He is clinging to a new love with trembling hands.

It is a deeply personal, auto-biographical album.

Favourites: Junk, Junk singalong, Man we were Lonely, that would be something, Oo you, Momma Miss America, Maybe I'm Amazed, Every Night, Kreen Akrore.

1st equal: Ram.

This is a masterpiece. The inventiveness, creativity, imagination and quirky eccentricities captured in these 12 tracks make this about as much legal fun as you can have with all your clothes on in 46 minutes (ok lol maybe not but you get the gist!) I have difficulty articulating the wonderfulness of Ram.

It's offbeat but it's up-beat, it's simple but it's complex, it's clever, it's witty, it's heart felt, it's home spun with a country feel in places but in others a nod to Spike Milligan and the Goonies is given. It climbs, it soars, and then it slays you with a simple ukelele and a whistle. It's just indescribably brilliant really! I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't love it because if you do, if it is to your taste and you can peel away at the onion finding layer after layer of whimsy and musical joy, you are all the richer for taking the ram ride.

In addition, if you have the remastered version you will have the bonus track Another day. A beautiful song, written from the female perspective so often forgotten and overlooked in popular music. It is the story of an ordinary woman, living a real life, with typical hopes, dreams and disappointments. I consider it one of McCartney's greatest achievements.

Favourites: All 12 tracks. I never skip a thing. I love it.

3rd: Flaming Pie.

This is a great album. I love the acoustic numbers Little Willow, which is achingly sad "no one's out to break your heart... it only feels that way" and Calico Skies with it's simple but emotional lyrics "It was written that I would love you, From the moment I opened my eyes". Heaven on a Sunday is a personal favourite it has a very jazzy feel which for reasons I can't explain makes me think of Steely Dan's Chain Lightening - just something in the 'vibe'. I really enjoy the monster bass line on Really love you, and Souvenir is a powerful track, encapsulating the 'I will comfort you' theme present throughout the album.

Favourites: Another album I am happy to leave the skip button unmolested for :)

That's all the albums I have - but I do plan to get more and if you are really lucky I will come on here and write War and Peace about each of them as I listen to them haha!

 

26 March 2014
3.12pm
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@plastic - very nice post. You remind me of me when I first joined the Forum in that I had not collected many of the solo albums from any of the Beatles. It's really fun collecting/hearing the albums for the first time.  

buick6 said 

  Calico Skies with it's simple but emotional lyrics "It was written that I would love you, From the moment I opened my eyes". 

That has to be one of my favorite lines of all time!a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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26 March 2014
8.30pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Paul is the only Beatle I have a full studio album from (I have 9), so I get the not having solo stuff.

I love Calico Skies. In my opinion it's in the top 10 of Paul's solo lyrics.

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27 March 2014
12.59am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
Paul is the only Beatle I have a full studio album from (I have 9), so I get the not having solo stuff.

I love Calico Skies. In my opinion it's in the top 10 of Paul's solo lyrics.

 

 I always thought he become a better lyricist after Flowers in the Dirt to present. Started to right more personally. I agree about Calico Skies great lyrics.

27 March 2014
1.18am
meanmistermustard
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Working with Elvis Costello gave Paul a much needed jolt in his songwriting for the FiTD and Off The Ground era material and then revisiting the Beatles catalgue did so for his solo work after that. Its one thing knowing you wrote and recorded great songs with John but to actually reconnect with that period totally reinvigorated Paul's whole approach to recording music - maybe it also took away some of the fairy dust that is sprinkled over the Lennon/McCartney songbook that everything they ever wrote was awesome. Not saying everything afterwards was amazing and profound, just that it gave him a huge shot in the creative side of his work.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
27 March 2014
1.28am
vonbontee
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10-12. Press To Play, Flowers in the Dirt, Off The Ground - These are the studio albums I have the least interest in hearing, both because of a strong dislike for that particular time frame, and because the first and third got particularly bad notices. "Flowers" I know is well-regarded, but it has bad resonance with me because I remember never liking "My Brave Face", and because I remember the hype over the Macca-Elvis Costello collaborations of that year, and I bought Elvis' album "Spike" at the time and didn't like it. And I also think "Flowers" has a particularly ugly album cover! (How petty of me, right?)

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
27 March 2014
1.34am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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Good points @meanmistermustard  Definitely gave him a jolt. He also mentioned in his last Rolling Stone interview that he like writes with John in his mind thought they phrased it as the ghost. (Strange as I wrote Ghost the feedback on my amp I left on just went nuts then stopped, been on for 2 hours with nothing lol).  Which I think shows Johns passing had a profound effect on his writing, besides losing a dear friend. Maybe knowing they would never reunite, broke his spirits and creativity for that rough period in the 80's. But yeah working with Elvis Costello and on the Anthologies, sparked something in his writing. Rights more personal/emotional material onward from period. I think John said in one of his last interview Paul is a very capable lyricist who thinks he's not. 

27 March 2014
2.33am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Now that you mention it, I have noticed that Flaming Pie (Calico Skies, Little Willow), Chaos And Creation (Friends To Go, Riding To Vanity Fair, and (possibly his best solo lyrics) Jenny Wren), Memory Almost Full (Ever Present Past, House Of Wax), and NEW (Alligator, On My Way To Work, Early Days). have some of my favorite lyrics. I love Band On The Run and Venus And Mars, but both of them are more catchy musical albums then deep lyrical pursuits.

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27 March 2014
10.35am
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I may get slaughtered but i don't think a lot of the Wings material says anything of note, it's great to listen to, Paul can write melodies and create great songs, but little of it makes you put down your cocoa and ponder what is being sung. Who sits down and thinks hard about Jet, My Love, Mull of Kintyre (3 big Macca songs)? Silly Loves Songs is a huge "fuck you" to the critics but nothing else (that intro is up there for me). There must be some that make you, not that i can think of many, Dear Friend, Too Many People, but thats '71, must have been a couple between those and Here Today? a-hard-days-night-paul-7

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
27 March 2014
1.06pm
Michael B
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Billy Rhythm saidIt's the closest thing to a Paul McCartney blues record ('Run Devil Run&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10, depending on your definition of blues for everyone seems to have their own.  I'd prefer it over the "synth-pop" material that he'd dabbled in on more than one occasion, but it's not really his "forte", in my opinion.  You be the judge: 

 

I don't know whether "Summertime" counts as the blues per se, but it's pretty bluesy.  At least Paul's interpretation of it here is.  And it's kind of trippy here to see Paul on lead guitar.  I'm not a guitarist, and I have no idea whether his technique is unique or even decent, but to my ears it seems quite fitting for the song.   (I apologize if I did not correctly format Billy Rhythm's earlier quotation.  I'm still getting used to the editing mechanics in this forum.)

 

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