I’ve loved Paul McCartney’s music for fifty seven years now. There have been times when he’s faded out of view but I keep coming back to him and over the past few years I have come to be in awe and amazement at his capacity to write magnificent melodies, to provide sensational singing and show off some perfect playing. It’s not ever day that I get a chance to hear a new Paul McCartney album so today is pretty special.
“Long Tailed Winter Bird” is over five minutes long and is largely instrumental with some lovely guitar work, some backward recorders and hypnotic vocals. “Pretty Boys” features Paul McCartney’s multi tracked vocals, a typically exquisite McCartney melody and some weird lyrics about a photographer.
“Find My Way” acknowledges the possibility of being overwhelmed by anxieties. The song was written in the early days of lockdown and reflects his state of mind. The song features the phrase “I’ve walked towards the light” but he has denied that this is referring to the end of his life or a revelation of seeing God. He saw the phrase on a sign in an antiques shop in Liverpool. There are lots of special guitar effects on display here.
“Woman And Wives” is one of Paul McCartney’s favourite songs on the album and was sonically inspired by a book he read about Leadbelly. This is an optimistic song and the idea of the lyrics is that a better tomorrow is possible. The album was recorded in “rockdown” as he liked to call lockdown and he appreciated the fact that, despite all the difficulties, he was seeing more of his family – there’s always a positive spin to put on things. In the song he suggests that parents should offer good advice to their children and he is quoted as hoping that this will be inspirational. Paul McCartney regards this as the key song on the album.
“Lavatory Lil” feels like a follow up to “Polythene Pam” and is payback to someone who took advantage of The Beatles. Although the true identity of the individual is unknowable, he has taken his dislike of someone and made it into a song. The vocal on the album is a first take.
“Deep Deep Feeling” is a complex song and over the course of eight minutes it features a lot of repetitive lyrics, capturing the essence of lockdown. He feels that this is the craziest song on the album because there are lots of little changes on it. There are more multi tracked vocals, a guitar solo to make Eric Clapton jealous and it’s all completed by an engrossing freakout. He has always been proud of his experimental music and this song is just the latest chapter in a theme that has been ever present through his career.
“Slidin'” is a fantastic rock song with wailing guitars and lyrics about feeling free but by contrast, “The Kiss Of Venus” showcases the more melodic side of Paul McCartney. “Deep Down” is another song that lasts for over five minutes and is a little darker in mood.
On “Seize The Day” he sings that “it’s still all right to be nice” and this phrase possibly sums up the ultra-positive, thumbs up, smiling McCartney that is now hoping for a better future. He came up with a phrase “Yankee toes and Eskimos” which he liked but had no idea what to do with it until, some time later, he came up with “can turn to frozen ice”.
“Winter Bird/When Winter Comes” is a pretty acoustic song and tells us of Paul McCartney’s intention to dig a drain by a carrot patch. he was inspired to write that by thinking back to the dark days of 1970 when The Beatles had split and he was making a home in Scotland. “When Winter Comes” was recorded in 1992 and was produced by George Martin.
This is a very melodic album with a variety of styles. On the first few hearings, there are no duds and there’s always something interesting to enjoy. How lucky we are to be living in the era of Paul McCartney.