McCartney II (1980)


 
1. Coming Up 2. Temprary Secretary 3. On the Way 4. Waterfalls 5. Nobody Knows 6. Front Parlour 7. Summer's Day Song 8. Frozen Jap 9. Bogey Music 10.Darkroom 11.One of These Days 12.Check My Machine * 13.Secret Friend * 14.Goodnight Tonight * * CD Bonus Track

 

The "II" in the album title is an indication that this is a "sequel" to 1970's McCartney in that he virtually plays every instrument on this album by himself. Whereas the original was a rather sweet, rustic affair, this one bombards the listener with McCartney's apparent new best friend - the synthesizer. Sadly, in many respects, this album sounds so dated that it's worn thin with age, whereas the first one, ironic enough, became better with subsequent listens.

Most of the ideas here have enormous potential. Therein lies the problem since one really doesn't want an album of "ideas", but rather an album of "songs". The one thing this did have in common with the McCartney album is that this could have been so much better had more time and care went into the actual production. A song like Waterfall for example, has a very sweet catchy chorus that's a joy to hum along to, yet the song itself is rather patchy and lacks the proper production that would make it a decnet song. Then, consider the hit single Coming Up. It has all the right notes and catchy riffs that make a song a hit. Well, about halfway through the song's radio rotation, a live version started getting substituded during radio airplay, and the new one sort of "pushed out" the studio version. I've never known of an event where something like this happened. It justifies the problem with the songs - good songwriting, lackluster production.

Ironically it's the instrumentals that come off very favorable. It's almost as if more attention and care were given to songs such as Frozen Jap and Front Parlour even though they, like everything else, simply have too many heavy keyboards resonating throughout. There's a few annoying songs that bring the whole album down several notches. Temporary Secretary is a prime example of how to completely annoy someone with a tedious, screaming chorus, whereas Bogey Music has McCartney trying (I think) to do very bad Elvis impersonations.

The bonus disc contained an almost two year old single Goodnight Tonight, that was pleasant, although a bit disco heavy. Also on the bonus disc are two of the very very worst Paul McCartney songs ever, Check My Machine and the ten minute flop Secret Friend. He's not even trying to be melodic on these. If anything, the whole album shows us that Paul could definitely take almost any instrument, muddle things together and come up with at least some good ideas. There are several here, but they are a bit too scattered and the bad songs on this album are really bad. Really really bad.

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