Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (Album) Song by Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Pepper, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    It's been 5 years since it's release, and maybe it's time for a song by song analysis.

    Chaos and Creation in the Backyard


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
    Studio album by Paul McCartney
    Released 12 September 2005
    Recorded Winter 2003 - Spring 2005
    Length 46:53
    Label Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
    Producer Nigel Godrich

    Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is an album by Paul McCartney released in 2005. A long time in the making, the set was produced by Radiohead and Beck collaborator Nigel Godrich at George Martin's suggestion.

    McCartney plays almost all of the instruments similar to his 1970 album McCartney and the 1980 McCartney II. In addition, Chaos And Creation In The Backyard marks the first time since 1984's Give My Regards to Broad Street that McCartney was not involved in producing one of his studio albums.

    Chaos and Creation in the Backyard was McCartney's last rock album release for longtime label EMI. He signed a deal with Hear Music, owned by Starbucks, in March 2007.[1]

    Upon being asked to produce an album with McCartney, Godrich admitted:

    "My initial reaction was one of terror, not only because it's a very important person, but I really wasn't sure how willing he would be to get his hands dirty."[2]

    The two tentatively began a collaboration, recording the songs "This Never Happened Before" and "Follow Me" which was enough to convince both of them that they could develop an album. Godrich's participation was active: he inspired McCartney to write the song "At the Mercy", added piano loops on "How Kind of You" and worked with McCartney to slow the tempo of "Riding to Vanity Fair" which McCartney says "changed the mood completely".[3] Although initially taken aback, McCartney appreciated Godrich's tenacity and honesty.[citation needed]

    According to McCartney, Godrich was at times blunt in his appraisal of McCartney's songs-in-progress during the making of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:

    "Nigel... refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn't like, which was very cheeky of him"[3]

    Advance reviews for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard were very strong and signified that after delivering Flaming Pie, Run Devil Run, Driving Rain and this album — all in uninterrupted succession — McCartney is in a late-career creative peak. Many critics and longtime listeners also acknowledged that the album was unusually reflective and intimate-sounding for McCartney.[citation needed]. The sudden shift in direction was generally considered an unexpected and welcome surprise, and resulted in three Grammy nominations for the album, including the nomination for Album of the Year.

    In the United States, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard debuted at the number-six on the Billboard 200 with sales of 91,544 copies. The album also entered the top-ten in the UK, spending 3 weeks on the chart. According to EMI, the album has sold over 1 million copies worldwide up to April 2007.[14]

    Individual tracks
    The first single, the upbeat "Fine Line", was released in late August 2005, ahead of the release of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and reached #20 in the UK. A second single, "Jenny Wren", reached #22 in the UK that November.

    McCartney said that the song Friends To Go is influenced by, and dedicated to George Harrison.

    The cover for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is from a photograph of McCartney strumming a guitar in his family's back yard in Liverpool, taken by brother Mike McCartney (aka Mike McGear) and originally entitled Paul Under Washing, before being retitled Our Kid Through Mum's Net Curtains.

    Follow up concerts
    The 'US' Tour in fall 2005 helped to promote the album in the States and Canada.

    There was also a promotional concert for the album held at Abbey Road Studios, called Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road.

    Track listing
    All songs written and composed by Paul McCartney.
    No. Title Notes Length
    1. "Fine Line" 3:05
    2. "How Kind of You" 4:47
    3. "Jenny Wren" 3:47
    4. "At the Mercy" 2:38
    5. "Friends to Go" 2:43
    6. "English Tea" 2:12
    7. "Too Much Rain" 3:24
    8. "A Certain Softness" 2:42
    9. "Riding to Vanity Fair" 5:07
    10. "Follow Me" 2:31
    11. "Promise to You Girl" 3:10
    12. "This Never Happened Before" 3:24
    13. "Anyway" Contains a hidden track "I've Only Got Two Hands" at 4:10 after 20 second break 7:22

    Other songs
    In addition to the above tracks, the Japanese release of the CD included the song "She Is So Beautiful". The song was also offered as a free download in Windows Media Audio format to US customers who purchased the CD at Target stores. Other bonus downloadable songs were made available to people who bought the CD at certain other stores, such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Also, "Fine Line" and "Jenny Wren" appeared on singles with their running time shortened.

    There are six songs which were recorded for Chaos not released on the album but were released as B-Sides and on imports:
  2. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    Fine Line
    (Paul McCartney)

    There is a fine line, between recklessness and courage
    It's about time, you understood which road to take
    It's a fine line, your decision makes a difference
    Get it wrong, you'll be making a big mistake

    Come on brother, all is forgiven
    We all cried when you were driven away
    Come on brother, everything is better
    Everything is better when you come home and stay

    Whatever's more important to you
    You've got to change what you wanna do
    Whatever's more important to be
    That's the view that you've gotta see

    There is a long way, between chaos and creation
    If you don't say, which one of these your gonna choose
    It's a long way, and in every contradiction
    Seems to say it's a game that your bound to loose

    Come on brother, all is forgiven
    We all cried when you were driven away
    Come on brother, everything is better
    Everything is better when you come home and stay
    Come on back
    Come on back
    Come on back to me

    It's a fine line
    It's a fine line

    Whatever's more important to you
    You've got to choose what you wanna do
    Whatever's more important to be
    Well that's the view that you've gotta see

    It's a fine line
    It's a fine line
    Whatever's more important to you (It's a fine line)
    You got to choose what you want to do
    Whatever's more important to be (It's a fine line)
    That's the thing that you gotta see
  3. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Fine Line, Jenny Wren, English Tea, and Riding To Vanity Fair are all great tracks. Overall, one of Paul's best.

  4. MusicFan76

    MusicFan76 Well-Known Member

    East Coast, USA
    Fine Line is a catchy song, but somehow it seems out of place on this album (an album that I believe to be Paul's best of recent times, much more of an artistic triumph than Flaming Pie, which I know won't be a popular opinion here.) Fine Line sounded great live, too.
  5. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA USA
    I think it is a nice opener. It is pretty much a "by the numbers' McCartney track and doesn't tip its hat too much to the somber tone that is about to emerge. In that regard I can see how MusicFan76 would say it was out of place - and if it was sequenced anywhere else but as the lead off track I would agree. A good song though that has grown on me over the years.
    Paulwalrus likes this.
  6. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Forum Resident

    Dearborn, MI
    "Fine Line" is a good rockin' intro to the album. I don't agree with MusicFan76 that it doesn't fit. Perhaps it wouldn't if not in the opening spot, but I think it serves things up rather well. Good wordplay in this song.. I like the lyrics. The talk about recklessness, courage, chaos, creation, decisions, mistakes, etc.. it all fits with the rest of the album themeatically.

    I agree. My favorite McCartney album. But not how the thread works.
    Paulwalrus likes this.

    PIGGIES Forum Resident

    The first Macca album I bought since Tug of War, a pleasant & honest album.

    The only track that spoils it for me is "English Tea", an annoying song that spoils the melancholic mood of the album, its almost as if Paul can't help himself & feels he has to stick one of those on there.
    somnar likes this.
  8. moople72

    moople72 Forum Resident

    Fine Line is odd to me.
    The lyric seems forced while the vocal melody sounds a little too effortless.
    Like he strained on the lyrics and didn’t try hard enough (or wasn’t inspired like he often, obviously, is) with the melody.
  9. Todd W.

    Todd W. A Beautiful woman continued.........

    I agree with all of this. He played Jenny Wren and English Tea in 2005 when I saw him.
  10. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    Not to worry, I'm alright with folks talking about the whole album if they wish. Those of us who plan to stick around for the whole discussion can go song by song.
  11. Reader

    Reader Forum Resident

    e.s.t. tenn.
    Didn't much care for "Fine Line" when I first heard it but I like it a lot now. The album as a whole is in my top 5 favorite of all his post Beatles work. I started listening to it again a couple weeks ago after it being on the shelf awhile. It's a very good album and one I think could serve as a good introduction to his work for someone not very familiar with his music.

    Can't believe it's been 5 years since it was released.

    Good thread. I probably won't have many comments but will enjoy reading what everyone else thinks.
  12. RickH

    RickH Forum Resident

    Raleigh, NC
    Fine Line sounded very ELO/Jeff Lynne-influenced to me. I like the track and while I agree it doesn't really fit the mood of the rest of the album - it sounds like it should have been a bonus track or non-album single- it was still a nice uptempo album opener.
  13. albert_m

    albert_m Well-Known Member

    Atl., Ga, USA
    Fine Line is an ok opener. I really can't add much. It's a light song and nice to have something somewhat upbeat to start the album
  14. Jackstar74

    Jackstar74 Well-Known Member

    Anyway is easily the best song on the album and one of McCartney's better ballads in years
  15. Jerryb

    Jerryb Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    To my ears this is a very unique PM album. Something very Lennonesque about it to my ears.
  16. DrJ

    DrJ Forum Resident

    Davis, CA, USA
    "Fine Line" is a great opener for this particular album. It's uptempo and a bit of a "rocker" but it lets you in on the overriding tone of the album pretty quickly with that darker, minor-sounding instrumental bit. It has never hit me as overtly "happy McCartney" in the least, rather unsettled and edgy sounding.
  17. heatherly

    heatherly Forum Resident

    I like "Fine Line" lyrically but I felt Nigel could've pushed for a 'rockier' arrangement. The drums sound weak and the whole production is a bit too sterile. His performance on the Grammies was a whole lot better.
  18. 8tracks

    8tracks Forum Addict

    San Diego, CA USA
    While I consider McCartney the greatest songwriter/performer of the past century, I think the majority of his solo albums only have a few stand out tracks. I had really low expectations with C&C, as Ram, BOTR and V&M are his only albums I enjoy from start to finish.

    Always willing to give Paul a listen, I was blown away by this album. 5 years after its release I still get a thrill when I hear it. We still had a local Sunday morning Beatles show and they played "Fine Line" before the release from what sounded like a low bit rate streaming source. I thought it was an okay effort intended to be a hit. It was a grower for me. It does seem out of context from the rest of the album, but after a few listens I decided it's like Todd Rundgren's "I Saw The Light" on Something/Anything?: A commercial sounding track that isn't very representative of the rest of the album, but I feel "Fine Line" is a great way to kick off this fantastic album.
  19. jricc

    jricc Forum Resident

    Jersey Shore
    It took me a few listens to "get into" Chaos, although Fine Line, I liked immediatly.

    As a big McCartney fan, I guess I always have the impression that his songs, especially his melodies, will jump out at me on first listen. This album didn't do that and initially I was disappointed, however it has since become a favorite of mine.
  20. mindgames

    mindgames Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Really liked "Fine Line" when it came out. Perfect album opener, and the video is another classic example of McCartney's way to show off how many instruments he can play :D.
  21. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA USA
    I just re-read my post and see I am mixing metaphors - oops "tip your hand" (I actually think the song is very polite and definitely kindly tips its hat to the rest of the album).

    I agree that this track was a little underwhelming when I first heard it and maybe it could have used a little more "oomph". But then maybe it would have stood apart from the rest even more. Ultimately I like it as it is.
  22. fabtrick

    fabtrick New Member

    Personally, this is one of my favorite Macca albums of all time, despite only being 5 years old. I TOTALLY get this album - I connected with it on an emotional and personal level.

    I seem to recall there being a lot of disdain held for "A Fine Line" (I've heard it referred to as "A fine SLIME") - which I couldn't really understand. There's nothing really wrong with it, and I enjoyed it as much as most of the songs on the album. Now that I think about it, there is really NO SONG on this album I DON'T enjoy. Most of my close and personal "Beatle Buddies" feel the album doesn't rock enough - that's not what this album is about, and if you can just set the "not rocking" thing aside, you'll see it for the masterwork it truly is.

    My only beef is, when Paul has a new album, and does promotion on it, he tends to try and make a connection to a current event, or movement, etc with a song on the album. In this case, he used "A Fine Line" to this end; regarding the ongoing war in Iraq, he related the lyric "Come home brother, all is forgiven, we all cried when you were driven away - come home brother, everything is better, everything is better when you come home to stay" to the soldiers in that war. I felt this was a bit of pandering on Paul's part - the song is not even CLOSE to being related to the Iraq war. It's like he says these things (Remember "How Many People" being mentioned as related to some south american environmentalist guy?) to try and get some kind of positive publicity out there to sell the record to a "cause".

    That being said, it is still my favorite Macca album of the past 20 years.

    And could someone list all the "b-side" material for this album, please? I think I'm missing a song or maybe two...
  23. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland.
    "Fine Line" is OK as an opener I suppose, but it almost made me not listen to the rest of the album as I thought "Oh no, it's generic McCartney again", fortunately I gave it time and loved the rest of the album, or most of it anyway, sounded like he was making an effort again, good songs, good arrangements. I've been really pleased with this and MAF (not to forget the recent Fireman album too).
  24. Sure he was inspired for the melody, it's borrowed wholesale from another song!

    I really have no other criticism for this album, I love it start-to-finish, including "Fine Line".
    Remy likes this.
  25. mindgames

    mindgames Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Comfort Of Love [Fine Line CDS B-side]
    Growing Up Falling Down [Fine Line CDS B-side]
    I Want You To Fly [Jenny Wren CDS B-Side]
    This Loving Game [Jenny Wren CDS B-Side]
    Summer Of '59 [Jenny Wren 7" B-Side]
    She Is So Beautiful [Japanese Bonus Track]

    And for the real completists:

    Jenny Wren [Radio Edit]
    Jenny Wren [Live at Abbey Road - iTunes exclusive]
    This Never Happened Before [Radio Edit]

    All brilliant songs.
    Paulwalrus likes this.

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