Paul McCartney Archive Collection - Flowers In The Dirt*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sean Murdock, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. PhilipB

    PhilipB Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Just to correct you on this point, the BBC - to be more accurate, Radio 1 - most certainly did play 'Free As a Bird', it was the follow-up 'Real Love' that they didn't playlist.

    That was less to do with the Beatles or McCartney and more to do with Radio 1 going through a phase of not playing anything that was deemed too old - and letting everyone know that was the case. The more famous case being the Status Quo one
     
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  2. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yes, a lot of this is a matter of opinion. I really REALLY hated the ubiquitous 8o's sound... metronomic explosion drums, piles of echo, sterile, mechanical-sounding keyboards, the overall slickness. To get away from that sound I spent the first half of the 80s listening to old 60s music, and the second half listening to college rock (once I finally discovered there actually was tons of great new music out there if you looked beyond the top 40). Anyway, it was always disenheartening to me when an act I liked from the 60s embraced the cheesey top 4o 80s sound. And McCartney sadly was one of the biggest embracers throughout the decade.

    I have to say you are coming from a completely different perspective (and one that I cannot even begin to fathom) if you think McCartney's version of "That Day is Done" is underproduced. Wow. Booming drums, piles of echoey backup vocals, cheesey keyboards, and a histrionic bit of oversinging on the lead vocal. No subtlety whatsoever for a song that really needs it to shine. Have you heard Elvis's version with the Fairfield Four, by the way? That's how the song is supposed to sound.

    MBF is kind of at cross purposes with itself. Lyrically it's too dense and complicated for a hit song (there's a reason Elvis didn't ever have hits) and musically it has that bombastic 80s production. So it didn't please guys like me who wanted something quirky and idiosyncratic, and it didn't please those who were into the top 40 sounds either. On the whole Paul was kind of at cross purposes on the entire album, in fact. He wanted to write better, more substantial material and get back in the good graces of the critics (hence the collaboration with Elvis) yet he also wanted a commercial comeback and hit songs (hence the Fosters and Horns and the 80s bombast/sterility). The result is an album that to me sounds disjointed and all over the map.
     
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  3. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Why would "picking a fight" even enter your mind? Simply because somebody has an opinion that differs with your own? No disrespect intended, but I bought the album in 1989, and my opinion has not changed. If anything, I think less of it now. Especially after hearing stripped down versions, such as the "Pepperland" version of "This One". I love "Distractions" and like "Figure of Eight", but that's about it. The three b-sides "Flying To My Home", "Back on my Feet" and "The Lovliest Thing" are far superior to the MOR dreck on side two. I mean...wow..."Motor of Sludge" is downright painful, and no passage of time is going to change that.
     
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  4. Oyster Boy

    Oyster Boy Well-Known Member

    Mmmm, and I would rather hear most of FITD above any of those. Sooo dated, yet despite the production on FITD at least the songs by an large are are still great. This One would beat any of them in retrospect IMHO.
     
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  5. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    When I first heard it, it sounded to me like McCartney was covering an Elvis song, rather than cowriting one. The rapid-fire wordiness just screams Elvis, and as you say, the title is based on an expression ("putting on a brave face") that was probably somewhat dated and not in common usage at the time.
     
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  6. Frank

    Frank Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philly, PA
    This thing is not coming out a minute too soon! :wantsome:
     
  7. sdldawn

    sdldawn Active Member

    Location:
    USA
    Very interested in disk 3
     
  8. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Your analysis of MBF is what I was trying to convey...well done!!!
     
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  9. emkay

    emkay Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I remenber buying this CD on the day of release, and it had a hype sticker like so many new releases during that era. It boldly proclaimed that it "featured" Motor of Love. WTF? Who in their right might EVER considered that song would be a draw and create a sale. I want to find the consumer that walked into a record store and asked "do you have the new Paul McCartney album? The one with Motor of Love on it?" I remember thinking that track was a total piece of sh**, and generally being a little disappointed with FITD - I expected a little more after Press to Play. That, and I thought MBF was a promising preview. My feelings softened over time, and I see it as the beginning of a move in the right direction. In a lot of ways, I think Off The Ground is a much better record - though I realize that is a minority opinion. But then again, that is only because you are all WRONG about it! ;-)

    Over time, my feelings toward "Motor" have softened - I think it's a nice tip of the cap to Brian Wilson... but the production sux! Too much. VERY 80s...
     
  10. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yep. "Say Say Say" was a huge hit, but the general perception of McCartney at my high school was that he was a middle-aged Rockwell. I can't imagine my peers were unique in feeling that way. I think in the long run, that song did more harm than good, making him look like a desperate coattail rider.
     
  11. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    I think OTG is certainly a more cohesive album, and I like "Hope of Deliverence" as a single, more that MBF. But again, I find much of the b-side material stronger than some the tracks on the album proper. Regardless, the material from the OTG period is stronger.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  12. emkay

    emkay Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Best joke I heard at the time was that McCartney was a Visine junkie - a white Lionel Richie. Yeah, there were a couple of big hits in there but McCartney became Kathie Lee Gifford for a while. Not relevent, not cool, not a rock star. The return to form I wanted from him at the time was just to forget the over the top collaborations and use a damn guitar...
     
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  13. emkay

    emkay Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Yeah - there were some good B sides. That said, OTG IS a cohesive album and the songs are very "McCartney-ish." I've said in the past, if you have a strong bias against this album, you probably really don't like him - because this record is him ALL DAY. It feels less like an effort to assume a current identity.
     
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  14. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    It was a difficult time to be a McCartney fan. dePRESSed TO PLAY was the first album I did not purchase upon release. But then, the eighties were a difficult time for many of my sixties/seventies heroes.
     
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  15. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Best joke I heard at the time was the line in one critics review of "Broadstreet".
    "You don't have to play this movie backwards to know that Paul is dead".
     
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  16. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    My Brave Face, This One and Figure of Eight received loads of airplay here... and one cannot tell mid 80's had been kind on him.
     
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  17. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Plus, I had great seats for that tour...it was incredible!!!
     
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  18. gottafeelin

    gottafeelin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Illinois
    As a kid, I remember listening to Thriller and wondering why the old guy with the boring voice was ruining a great Michael Jackson record. Seriously.
     
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  19. MsMaclen

    MsMaclen Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    And many of my favorite albums are 80s albums by 60s artists. :) But there have been other times when I too shunned current music in favor of older or more obscure stuff.

    Yup, I like that version and the other solo versions he's done, but none of them top Paul's for me. I wouldn't call Paul's version "underproduced," it just didn't pop out at me right away like some of the more upbeat and layered tracks on the album. Songs with a strong rhythm and/or hook(s) tend to catch my attention right away, while ballads can take me longer to warm up to, as in this case. However, the production on the track doesn't stand out for me strongly either way -- it always sounded basically normal to me, though I can hear how it might annoy someone who is sensitive to 80s production. What does stand out to me are the song & lyrics, and Paul's singing, both of which I think are amazing. What to your ears sounds like histrionic oversinging sounds to me like one of the best vocal performances of Paul's career, providing exactly the right emotional feel while showcasing his expert abilities. However, I've heard others have the same opinion as you comparing the two approaches, so to each his own.

    Well I do agree with you about FITD seeming disjointed. I've always felt like there is an inconsistency to it that keeps it from being my favorite. I'd say I agree with the (your?) earlier point that it might have been a better album if he'd focused more exclusively on the Elvis collaborations. I feel like OTG is much more cohesive, and that's one reason it's my favorite. However, I've also always felt like Revolver is slightly all over the place, and that's the main reason it doesn't sit atop my Beatles list, but obviously plenty of people don't have the same issue. :)

    As for MBF, it certainly has the trademark Elvis wordiness -- there's no question who was primarily responsible for the lyrics. It might have been a bit too esoteric for the time. Yet Billy, also part of the "older" crowd, had a hit with We Didn't Start the Fire that year, and it's hard to get more dense lyrically than that! I don't know. I'm sure everything mentioned so far contributed in some way, but some of these things are a bit unpredictable.

    Going back to the broader question of Paul trying to sound modern, or just doing his own thing, I think he's very much done both throughout his career, especially from the 80s on, and he seems to enjoy doing both. Most generally though, it seems like everyone is happier when Paul is being himself and doing what he wants to do rather than trying to fit a particular image, whether that's experimenting with modern styles and techniques, or doing something without any external referencing. There is a lot of evidence that he knows this himself and has for quite some time (e.g., discussions on the Get Back sessions), so I'd say the best thing is for him to go with his gut and not overthink things. :cool:
     
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  20. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Kids today probably had a similar reaction when watching the "FourFive Seconds" video.
     
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  21. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Some, but most of the comments that I have seen regarding that song on Youtube praise or compliment Paul, and at least with 'Four Five Seconds', Paul was actually involved with the writing, whereas with 'The Girl Is Mine' he simply sang on Michael's composition.
     
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  22. paulmccartneyistheman

    paulmccartneyistheman Forum Resident

    FourFiveSeconds was a fun song, and a fun time to see Paul in a "relevant" song for the first time in my lifetime, but I can't imagine what other younger folks thought(folks that haven't been Beatles fans forever)
     
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  23. Brian from Canada

    Brian from Canada Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Great White North
    The film may have been a disaster — for reasons far beyond Paul's reach — but the album went gold and had a hit single.
    As for Michael Jackson's participation being polarizing, for me that happens more with the purchase of ATV than anything else; Stevie Wonder's duets are equally outside the McCartney frame, but nothing on Tug Of War is anywhere as polarizing.
     
  24. gottafeelin

    gottafeelin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Illinois
    Except Ebony and Ivory...
     
  25. Brian from Canada

    Brian from Canada Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Great White North
    To be fair, though, the early 80s was an explosion of new acts and new sounds — and for the first time, they are quite absent on the albums of the period… because George Martin wanted Paul to go back to his Beatles-style song construction. (Remember that Martin told Paul some of the demos from 1980 were below standard.)

    But it also didn't help that the media was pushing him into irrelevancy at the same time. That has to be underscored. The idea that Paul McCartney was the melodic, safe voice behind John Lennon's political, daring, experimental, true rocker voice was wholly supported by a Pipes Of Peace that was even worse than, to borrow a phrase, 'silly love songs.' Had Pipes Of Peace gone more to what was going on at the time — in the way Wings had done — it would have been much better for Paul.

    Just as connecting Broadstreet to A Hard Day's Night was a gross misstep because the film lacked any of the kinetic energy that goes with The Beatles. The blame on that one, though, goes wholly to 20th Century Fox: how anyone greenlit a 20-page concept script with a director who has never been behind the camera on a feature film — and then treat it as a blockbuster — is beyond me.
     
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