Press to Play (1986)


 
1. Stranglehold 2. Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun 3. Talk More Talk 4. Footprints 5. Only Love Remains 6. Press 7. Pretty Little Head 8. More Over Busker 9. Angry 10.However Absurd 11.Write Away 12.It's Not True 13.Tough on a Tightrope 14.Spies Like Us * 15.Once Upon a Long Ago * * CD Bonus Track

 

It's kind of ironic that each member of the best Rock and Roll band in history would manage to put out some really really bad solo albums. This is Paul's worst. He had been in a slump for the last several years, and sadly this only brings his reputation and his work down further still. This album is a prime example of trying too hard. He's trying to do many things too hard, and none of them worked at all.

For starters, he doesn't seem to be handling the aging process well. He was in his mid forties when this album came out, and on the album cover, it looks like he's trying to look like a twenty year old kid. Not that this should matter. Twenty year olds probably hated this album as much as those Paul's age, however. The music sounds like he's desperately trying to be "hip". He would later learn, as he got older, that he could just be himself, and his talent would resonate with millions regardless of his age. He's embracing the eighties style of dance-syntho music to the extreme. He experimented a bit with this on McCartney II, and even though that album wasn't that good either, at least it sounded like experiments. Here, he's fleshing them out into actual songs and the results are tragic.

He really was trying. He's got a lot of talented musicians helping him out such as Pete Townsend and Phil Collins, and he even uses mega eighties superstar producer Hugh Padgham. In addition to Phil Collins, Padgham also had success with Genesis, XTC and The Police, so at the time it probably seemed like a good choice. Sadly, for the most part, the music is just bad. There are so many obnoxious synthesizer elements, electronic drums, and bad eighties production, that it just takes the mediocre songs and plummets them to the depths of disgust.

If you want to look hard for anything good (and you have to look real hard), the tracks Only Love Remains, a semi-decent ballad, and Press, a semi decent pop songs, are really the album's only salvation. The rest is a cacophonous mess. He also, like most of his other albums in the past decade, leaves a hit single released around the same time off the record. I still can't figure out why. The single Spies Like Us from the movie of the same title is included in the bonus version of this album, and had in been on the original would have improved the quality slightly. Another bonus cut, Once Upon a Long Ago is also a sweet piece that easily outpaces anything else here. Not surprisingly, this record didn't even crack the top 100.

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