Universal present a full brace of new Paul McCartney‘s post-Beatles material in reissue form. McCartney II was recorded in 1979, as Wings were on their way out, and was assembled entirely by Paul himself, using a stack of synthesisers. And it includes the wonderful deep McCartney cut ‘Temporary Secretary’! CD and LP reissues.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 15 November 2017
The silliest album ever made. Ten years separate McCartney I and II but it might as well be a lifetime. Where McCartney I was a continuation of the lo-ish fi homespun acoustic he was making around the time of 'Abbey Road' by the time 1980 rolled around McCartney had been through his Wings period, going back to live performances and a 'proper' band by the time 1978's 'Back to the Egg' hatched it was all starting to become jaded. McCartney wanted to have some fun and by gum is he enjoying himself here. McCartney picked up synthesisers and made a sort of proto-synth pop record. The most notorious track on here is 'Temporary Secretary' with its brilliant pulsating synths and stabbed acoustic guitars....aligned of course to some utterly ridiculous lyrics. Even better though is 'Coming Up' - surely influenced by McCartney's then love for Talking Heads, the track is a tour de force of his innate musical skills aligned to eccentric production and the a ridiculous climbing bass line that isn't happy until it reaches the very pinnacle of the fret board.
It's hard sometimes to work out what McCartney was thinking. As usual it's a mixture of styles and veers wildly in quality, the fairly ordinary blues runs of 'On the Way' are followed by 'Waterfall's gorgeous lament that almost sounds like Ariel Pink covering 10CC then there's the awful 'Nobody Knows' - the sort of lazy assed jam that McCartney with his abilities should be way beyond. More interesting are McCartney's electronic compositions 'Front Parlour' and 'Frozen Jap' both the sort of brilliantly naive synth pop he was immersing himself in at the time. The latter is particularly brilliant - a strange cross between early Human League and the melody from Anika's 'Japanese Boy.
There's moments here when you'll truly despair but the best bits are just great. It closes with 'One of These Days' a lovely acoustic Beatles-esque ballad presumably just to prove that he could still do them pretty well when he wanted to.
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