Paul McCartney – McCartney II (Commercial Marketing)
Taking pot shots at McCartney for what he has done since 1970 is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. There are quite a few deserving targets. But these aside, there are a few things that do deserve praise. ‘Live and Let Die’ – best Bond Theme of the 1970s. Band On The Run. Much of the collaborative efforts that appeared on his and Elvis Costello’s 1989 albums, Flowers In The Dirt and Spike, respectively. ‘Another Day.’ ‘Hi, Hi, Hi.’ Wings may have had a stupid name. They certainly suffered from being McCartney’s post-Beatles band, but they had their moments. Over the course of the 1970s, they proved themselves successful in their own right.
This album was McCartney’s first solo album in ten years, recorded in 1979 and emerging in 1980, by which time there had been the infamous Japanese bust and Wings seemed to have imploded. ‘Solo’ album is accurate -even Linda isn’t on here. It’s quite highly rated in McCartney circles -largely because it is full of gems. Album opener ‘Coming Up’ is genuinely funky – and reportedly John Lennon loved it.
There’s definitely a sense of what was going on in the post-punk climate filtering through. Instrumental tracks like ‘Frozen Jap (not, as thought, a dig at Japan for imprisoning him, as it was recorded before the bust -but perhaps a silly title) and ‘Front Parlour’ see Macca experimenting with synths and producing work which has more in common with Sheffield electronic acts of the time (pre Dare Human League, Cabaret Voltaire) than might have been expected then or now.
There’s also ‘Temporary Secretary’ which has become one of those tracks that the hipsters like to pull out of thin air (see also ‘Was Dog A Doughnut?’ by Cat Stevens). This marries the funk of ‘Coming Up’ with early Soft Cell (think ‘Memorabilia.’) This is worth the price of the album alone -but there’s other great stuff here.
Look: I’m not going to defend crap like ‘Ebony and Ivory,’ ‘The Girl Is Mine’ or ‘Mull Of Kintyre.’ But this album shows that McCartney did (and arguably still does) have an experimental side and that to assume Lennon was the only Beatle with an interest in the avant-garde and the experimenta was erroneous.
This is a treat of an album and well worth investigating. Now: anyone prepared to help me defend Back To The Egg?
McCartney II is out now on Commercial Marketing