Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by johnny moondog 909, Mar 11, 2018.
He is recorded telling Donovan in a Get Back session how he came up with the song
That is so true. Without John's help Paul had to resort to splitting half of some of his albums with Linda, or that time in the 70's when Paul had to take a 5 year break as he could not come up with any new songs, or that time in the 70's when he had to do an album of covers rather than write an album of new material. Paul was certainly lost without John's help.
If I ever had a criticism of Paul McCartney it's both of these:
1-judging his own material
This is the guy that wrote "For No One" but this is also the guy that wrote "Bip Bop". This is the guy that contributed to Revolver and Sgt. Pepper in a big way but also the same guy that put the stamp of approval on Wild Life and Press To Play.
I'm never certain which Paul McCartney I'm going to get when I open a new album and maybe that's exciting, but it's scary. I really want to like everything because I have immense love and respect for him and his work. I'm real about it, though. I know what is great and what really should have never seen the light of day.
It's hard to work with Paul. Are you gonna tell him a song sucks? Most people won't. Nigel Godrich, Elvis Costello, and John Lennon were seemingly the only three that could do just that.
I believe Lennon & McCartney were two incredibly talented musicians and songwriters that were fortunate to find each other and play off each other’s strengths.
And the stereotype doesn’t always hold - John wrote some beautiful melodies and Paul wrote some fantastic lyrics.
Grateful for them both - just think, two of the greatest writing talents in the same band?!? No one else had a chance
I agree with most of what you say, and I've been saying the very same for years, but I disagree about his current band having sloppy lead guitar work, I love the freedom that Rusty and Brian have on stage! It is a shame that after all this time, McCartney has yet to record a full album with his current band?!
I love Brian, who also seems like a genuinely nice dude and a huge Beatles geek. Rusty is...something else. "My Love" or "Maybe I'm Amazed" guitar solos just aren't the place for Jack White style sloppy playing. My favorite Macca lead guitarist by far (including the Wings guys) was Robbie McIntosh. I wish he'd been retained with Wix when Paul started touring again.
But it seems insane to me he hasn't used them on a full studio album. It's cute that Paul can kinda play drums, but there's absolutely no reason to be doing the drumming yourself when you've got Abe Laboriel in your band.
Agree, I like that many of his songs aren't "on the nose" with regards to what they are about. Honestly it takes talent to do that, there is poetry in that too. Some people don't like to use their imaginations though, they'd rather just have it all spelled out for them.
A lot of time it I find it's more attitude of the listener than the reality of the song and lyrics - people just ASSUME his songs mean nothing(and yes he has some silly songs(but not Silly Love Songs) and some throwaway songs I'm not saying every single thing is great art but heck every thing doesn't need to be great art either), when if the same thing had been written by John suddenly they'd be finding all this deep meaning in it. For example:
If it was John writing Monkberry Moon Delight or Three Legs, for example, there's be almost no one who would be saying it was utterly meaningless.
Yeah it doesn't make sense to me. In fact one thing I love is versatility. I love a musician/songwriter who can write or perform all kinds of music. I love an actor who can play all kinds of roles. Yet there are so many people who seem determined to keep others in little comfortable boxes and then criticize them and act like it's a flaw of the artist for being more than that little box.
You even see it in fiction(tv/film/anime/books/whatever) - if a characters breaks out of the little trope/stereotype so many people ASSUME the character is upon introduction, a lot of times fans will actually just refuse to acknowledge it, they'll continue to discuss said character through that same lense. A lot of times you see writers actually attempting to write well rounded characters and it's the FANS who will refuse to acknowledge it and insist the character is something else. If a character appears to be a "boy scout" at first then that character will be judged in such a way, including all the negative connotations of being judgmental, close-minded, etc - even if the character is blatantly written otherwise over the course of multiple films/books/seasons. I've seen it happen. And the same is true vice versa - a character can appear to be a "bad boy" at first, maybe because of the way they dress or talk and yet even when shown to be actually anything but, they will still judge the character the same way including all the negative connotations.
It's really weird. I've never really understood why someone wouldn't want an artist they claim to like to expand and do as must as they can, to be as versatile as they can.
A song Paul wrote about his mother? I don't know I find Let it Be quite moving and did even before I knew it had anything to do with his mother. It's a beautiful song about finding hope in a bleak time. Frankly if Lennon was alive I doubt "Imagine" would have taken on the cache it has so it's kind of a moot point anyway.
It sounds like you decided this is how Paul writes and so of course everything he writers must be like that. It wouldn't matter how much heart or feeling he put into it or how sincere he was, if someone has already decided not to be open to it.
On the other hand Imagine could potentially be seen as trite and preachy. It's a nice tune, but it's like "lets see what can I say the opposite of, that might be controversial?" - oh I know imagine there's no money, that'll get 'em(never mind I'm a multi-millionaire living in a penthouse, let's just imagine it OK), imagine no possessions(see same). "I hope some day you will join us" - oh that's nice, once we have no money and no possessions you'll let us all come live with you in your penthouse? How very generous. Sort of like Working Class Hero - ("a working class hero is something to be, if you want to be a hero then just follow me" something along those lines) - working class hero should follow the not-working class Lennon in order to be a working class hero? Our betters being so nice to us, helping us out of our lowly state by showing us the way. Noblesse Oblige still alive and well in the 1970's. Good to know chivalry wasn't completely dead.
I would agree with everything the OP listed, except for "too much diversity on an album." Love that aspect. I also think that McCartney followed a fairly typical arc of any great artist: amazing period, pretty darn good period, mediocre period, followed by slowly trailing off. Nothing wrong with that. Happens to everyone from Neil Young to Prince.
Three things I'd add to OP's list:
- Having his wife play in the band.
- Post-Lennon, never finding a collaborator that was his equal. Dabbled with Costello, Stevie Wonder, a few others. But mostly it was lots of sidemen that he basically directed.
- I think all the pot dulled his focus.
And he hasn't worked with him since.
2-judging his own material, putting wrong songs on his albums
He can't write lyrics
Costello is equally as gifted at melody writing
AND can write lyrics.....
....and might I say Bruce Cockburn can do both as well
Well, I chose #9: "he's not good at direct lyrics, or being topical- looking for changes-Freedom-Give Ireland Back"
He's OK at personal lyrics to his loved ones. But, Paul strikes me as the type of person who keeps his personal feelings to himself, and tell stories and invent characters. So, in that way, he keeps an emotional distance. It may be that some artists have to do that to maintain sanity in that crazy business. Even in his songs about his close friend John, he doesn't express too much pain. He keeps it to himself. It runs in deep contrast to John, who wore his heart on his sleeve and expressed every little though that entered his head, and and with George, who was quite passive/aggressive with his sarcasm.
As far as his sometimes banal lyrics are concerned, I think maybe he focuses so much on the music that the lyrics take a back seat. But, Paul wrote some deeply personal stuff while with The Beatles. It's hard to top songs like "Yesterday", Let It Be", and "The Long And Winding Road" for raw emotion.
This. The problem is always with the FANS, not the artists. A lot of fans would be horrified to learn that their idols like and listen to music they abhor. How many fans were upset to learn that Nirvana liked ABBA, or that Alice Cooper liked disco?
If Godrich had convinced Paul to nick House of wax & Only Mama Knows from the earlier MAF sessions, & used them in place of 2 weaker Chaos songs, they could've had a perfect album. Both albums are good as it is. But those 2 rock songs, in place of say Follow Me & one other weaker track. The only thing missing from Chaos is the rock element. 11 of 13 are slow & mellow. Only Fine Line & Promise To You Girl rock or get upbeat. I suppose Friends To Go swings a little bit, the tempo is midtempo not slow. But House Of Wax & Mama Knows would've offered the only thing missing, just a little rock in McCartneys roll. It would've still been 9 out of 13 on the slow & mellow side. House of wax is slow too, but slowly boils with a bit of Rock in it, tough guitars, thundering drums...
But then MAF would have been missing 2 of it's best tracks. I would've, & just thrown Sing The Changes & Dance Till We're High on there instead. Oh well.
I also suspect that tunes like "Bip Bop," say, are probably more about himself than most folks would think. And no, I'm not joking about that. What I mean is that he strikes me as the kind of guy who'd often go "bip-bopping" and such around the house naturally, for no one's entertainment but his own. Which I know about because I'm that kind of guy, too. That's just as personal and revealing to share with others as any confession one could make about relationships or whatever.
I think this is the single biggest misconception about him. Off the top of my head I could name a whole lorry load of songs that are about him, that express his thoughts and his feelings.
And yet Godrich told McCartney that Ever Present Past sucked and it's one of the highlights of MAF, in my opinion...
I went with the obvious, too much sappy stuff.
I think Lennon used music as therapy by talking through his angst; McCartney uses music as therapy by using it as a way of getting away from all the angst and having fun. Standing on a stage every night (or even sitting in a studio) singing about stuff that hurts isn't necessarily a great way of keeping your mental balance.
Well, that depends on the individual.
Agreed. Hence the use of the word "necessarily" to imply that it doesn't work for everyone. The someone in this case being Mr McCartney. My point being that BOTH songwriters used music to soothe them but just in different ways. Lennon, being a more insular character, preferred to talk about himself; McCartney, being more outward-looking, prefers not to (at least, not to the exclusion of all other potential subjects).
Well I think the honest answer here is that Paul has not really faced a lot of hurt, he has had a blessed life and more importantly he realises he has had a blessed life. He is the one who never really got sick of being a Beatle, had a grand old time in the 70's and had a pretty solid and happy marriage. The critics don't want to hear about how happy and content he is, they don't want that from 'artists' they want to hear about their struggles, heartbreaks and disappointments and Paul just does not have a lot of those to share, that is why he is more of a storyteller. I think his best autobiographical love songs came while he was dating Asher as there seems to be genuine insecurities from him about their relationship and it also about young love and courtship. He never really had that with Linda, it was always too secure. It is only since Linda has gone has he became a little more self reflective in his songs, not so much wallowing but being able to sing about personal things that are identifiable to many people. It is no real suprise that critics have found him a far more interesting artist since the death of Linda.
This is, in my opinion, one of the two main reasons why Lennon gets labelled the superior lyricist. He frequently wrote about himself, about his own insecurities, failings and his insignificance in the world and often his own self importance and anger and for the majority of us we can identify with these issues; multi millionaire genius Lennon sings about problems that we all have to some degree.
How can someone say McCartney hasn't faced a lot of Hurt?! The man almost had a breakdown from hurt! Almost became an alcoholic because of Hurt! You think it didn't hurt when Lennon died, when Harrison died, when Linda died?! I won't even go back as far as his parents!
Paul McCartney has done the exact same in his songwriting as Lennon, and misconceptions like this, are one of the reasons why I don't see Lennon as any better at lyrics than McCartney!
As usual McCartney doesn't get credit for it! A song like The End Of The End where the man sings about his own death, most definitely resonates with me, and I think many people. Somebody Who Cares is another, Here Today, One Of These Days, This Never Happened Before, It's Not True, Whole Life, Too Much Rain, The Song We Were Singing, This Loving Game, Kicked Around No More, I could go on and on, McCartney has written Plenty of songs that are identifiable to many people!
How does someone miss that?
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