Paul McCartney - The Official "Memory Almost Full" Album Thread (part 3)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Gary, May 21, 2007.

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  1. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    I was kidding . After all the great reviews of MAF posted here , I was just picking the McCartney album I like the least and I still like four or five songs on it.
  2. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil

    I suspected...anyway it's been a fun talk!
  3. intv7

    intv7 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    I don't think anyone, anywhere will ever make music that is on par with the Beatles catalog on the whole. Paul has certainly outdone himself (his post-Beatles self, that is) on MAF, though.

    I think it's right up there with Ram, Band on the Run, Flaming Pie, and Chaos and Creation -- all of which I consider to be the top of the heap as far as McCartney solo albums go. This is as strong as any of those albums, easily.

    While I don't think there is a track on it that's as good as the song "Band On The Run", I think it is a better album overall.

    It's got all the elements that I love about the last three "proper" Paul LP's -- and discards the few elements that I thought were sketchy. I don't think there's much, if any filler. The songs are creative, catchy, and bold.

    This is the kind of album I expect from Beatle Paul. I love it.
  4. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Has anyone out there heard how many songs Paul recorded and completed for MAF ? I wonder if there are only the three bonus tracks , or if he had actually finished other songs.
  5. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil
    There were 25. Only 16 finished up. The others are still to be completed.
  6. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    I have to agree with that , although some may differ.

    Interestingly enough (to me anyway) I never heard an ex Beatle claim anything they had done personally was as good as the Beatles..except George.
    He said at some point (and I don't have it in front of me, so I am paraphrasing)
    that he had written some songs that were as good or better than some songs the Beatles did .
    Please help me out here if you have the quote handy....
  7. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Thanks ! Paul works a lot like that I guess , as opposed to the Beatles who he said were pretty tidy about not leaving much unfinished stuff around.

    So , his "Unreleased Anthology" cd box set will be about the size of a suitcase, whenever he gets around to it.:)
  8. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    One of my favorites is "Your School." I wish he'd properly record that... not that the demo isn't brilliant.
  9. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    I disagree 1000%. But I've already gone on record as liking II better than Flaming Pie... by a mile.
  10. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Your School ? Unfamiliar with it, so please explain. What era ?
  11. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Recorded around 1995. A part of it appeared on Oobu Joobu radio series presented by Paul.
  12. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Thanks . I have it in my 'archive" somewehere then...
  13. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    Hopefully you have the whole thing. It's really great IMO. The demo runs about 3 min.

    Was Return to Pepperland from that same period?
  14. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil
    No, RTP is from 1986-87. Produced by Phil Ramone.
    And there's actually no "3 minute version". That was a fake produced track. They simply glued the middle on the short demo from Oobu Joobu. Unfortunately...
  15. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

  16. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    Ah. They did a good job.
  17. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    I have all of Oobu Joobu and the Lost Lennon Tapes , on that fab new handy format...cassette.:(
  18. Wollensack

    Wollensack Breakfast With The Beatles

    Philly, PA, USA




    Paul McCartney’s new music video ‘Dance Tonight’, from his soon to be released 21st studio recording ‘Memory Almost Full’, will be internationally premiered on YouTube on May 23rd. This will be the first screening of the video anywhere in the world. Filmed in London last March, the video stars Paul McCartney, Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. It was directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind). It will be available to watch on YouTube from 12 noon (UK time) on Monday May 23rd.

    Paul explained, “I had seen 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind' that Michel had directed and had really liked it. I thought it had a good sense of humour and was a very well-made film. His work is really simple, witty and just good fun. The connection with Natalie came from my daughter Stella, who makes non-leather shoes that Natalie buys, so I just thought, "Well, I'll ring her up and just see if she'll do it". So I rang her up and said "Hey I'm Stella's dad!" She had a bit of time off as she was between films so it was great. I mentioned that I wanted to work with Michel Gondry and it turned out that Natalie was a fan of his.”

    With its community of millions of worldwide users, YouTube is the leader in online video, and the premier destination to watch and share original videos through a Web experience. The video for ‘Dance Tonight’ will be featured and promoted through the ‘Director Videos’ slots, which sit at the top of the homepage.

    ‘Dance Tonight’ is built around a mandolin part. The mandolin also plays an important part in the video. Natalie Portman appears as a futurist electronic ghost that reacts to the sound of the mandolin. As the video develops more ghosts appear. All the ghost effects are done in camera: the ghosts are actually evolving in front of a glass separation that reflects their image into the shot. This technique is based on smoke and mirror effects of magic tricks (known as the Pepper’s Ghost effect) and other early cinema effects. The results are stunning and give the effect of realism that can’t be obtained with post-production effects.

    ‘Dance Tonight’ is the opening track on Paul’s new studio album ‘Memory Almost Full’, (UK release June 4th/US Release June 5th). ‘Memory Almost Full’ is Paul McCartney’s 21st solo album. It will be the first release on new Hear Music (the label formed between Starbucks Entertainment and Concord Music Group).

    Check out for the latest new and information.
  19. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil

    That was the second time I interviewed Memory Almost Full's producer David Kahne. We had our first professional contact in 2001, when we talked about the making of Driving Rain. I can tell he's a very polite and nice person, very down-to-earth. He didn't show any sign of stardoom by having produced Macca. Actually, he seemed to be really in awe of the man, always humble and shy about his skills as a producer. At the same time, he seemed confidend of having done the best he could.
    This interview were done in bits around the end of April and early May. Most people had already listened to Ever Present Past and the rest of the songs hadn't leaked out in the internet.

    Some of the references to Paul's past work were used to construct this interview, as I had only listened to the album once and had no track (except Ever Present Past) available to listen back and ask him about, more precisely. The results achieved were really fun, as my questions really sounded very teasing and curious to David Kahne because producers and Paul - as it seems - do not think the same way fans our journalists do.
    I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did enjoy interviewing him. And may this little write up is of any help to track Paul McCartney's recording history, which is not as well documented as The Beatles.

    An edited bit of it is due to appear on the Brazilian magazine called BIZZ, out this week.

    The interview as follows...

    After working in several projects with Paul, you're back with him on Memory Almost Full. How different is now, compared with the Driving Rain sessions back in 2001?

    The only difference is that I know Paul better now, so I have more insight into the way that he works and what he's looking for. He's still the same great musician. I'm still the guy trying to figure out what to do next.

    And how would you describe the feel of the new album and how did you achieve it?

    Oh, The feel of the album is very broad, and most importantly, very personal. The whole album is that way. Beatle-ish and classic McCartney-ish, but very contemporary. There's a very timeless quality to it, and some things he's never done before on an album. That comes from the writing and incredible vocal performances, and also from taking the time to let the album develop. The achievement is not mine, but that of everyone who worked on the album.

    How many tracks did you tape for the album and which studios did you work at?

    We recorded around 25 songs, I think. We worked a lot at the Mill (Paul's place in the UK) and some at Henson Studios, Abbey Road, AIR London, and my place in NYC, SeeSquared.

    According to Paul himself, you started working even before starting his (latest album) Chaos And Creation In the Backyard. How many songs on Memory Almost Full are from the early sessions and how many of them (included on MAF) were finished later?

    Roughly half and half. We worked really hard on the tracks we did before Chaos, though, when we started back up again.

    Do you recall how many songs were recorded before and after they did "Chaos"?

    I don't really know in detail which songs were recorded where or when. Actually, I am not too good at timelines because I tend to remember what happened and not when as far as recording goes. I do know we did You Tell Me, Mama Only Knows, and the medley in the first group of sessions, pre Chaos. All those were done at Abbey Road. After the hiatus, most of the other songs were recorded at the Mill, plus all the continuing work of the medley. We worked some at Henson in LA, RAK and AIR in London, and my place in NY, SeeSquared.

    Any song off the album that you would call it "a favourite"?

    Hard to answer. I couldn't say I have a favorite, but Nod Your Head
    and House of Wax are two that I listen to a lot. Oh, and Mr. Bellamy.

    Based on the first track available to the public, Ever Present Past , we realise it's something really different compared to his recent past recordings. Some reviewers even compared this track to some stuff released on his McCartney II (1980) solo album, which I don't agree although it has some electronic feel throughout. Was the whole atmosphere of the track based on something Paul had already in mind or everything turned out very spontaneous?

    One thing people should know about Paul. He doesn't think about or reference other music he's done. It's all as purely compositional and performance driven as it can be. Because he's singing and playing, one can go back and make a case for "this is influenced by that", but I've never seen a hint of that. My (sic) Ever Present Past was a song he was playing on acoustic guitar. We recorded an electic guitar track to a loop, Paul went and played the drums, then more guitar, then bass, then sang it. As I said, the mystery is not where or what Paul was referencing; the mystery to me is where his ideas flow from inside himself. And I'll never know the answer to that one.

    Yeah, I see. But we are all speculative, you can't stop us, you know (laughs).

    It's true, indeed.

    Now I'd like to hear from you a little about Memory Almost Full tracks, commencing with Dance Tonight, the album's opener.

    Paul had never played mandolin before. Great chord voicings. And I love the fuzz bass.

    The mandolin/whistling bits take me back a little bit to the track Ram On (from Ram 1971's album). Any reference to mix/record this song while producing it? Was it the first track to be taped, by the way?

    "Dance" was actually the last one recorded. You know, what I told you before was true. I've never had one conversation with Paul about references. He doesn't think like that, ever. He just writes and records...

    I see. It's sort of always moving forward, looking for a new sound, new recording.
    Right, it's basically that.

    Second track on MAF is Ever Present Past, the first song broadcast recently on the radio and internet. You already talked about some of the arrangement, but I can tell I found the bridge very interesting, it comes in very quick in the song.

    Yeah, the bridge works so well. You get there quickly, and it's a huge lift. Harpsicord part is perfect. Paul has a custom harpsicord that has a ton of bass.

    What about this "Getting Better-like" guitar throughout?

    The "Getting Better repeating note" is not exactly like getting better. In Getting Better, the note (called a pedal tone) is repeating on the 5th. In this song, it repeats on the octave or the 5th, and sometimes both. Paul has pedal tones on other songs too, but it's very loud in getting better. That song feels more centered around the 5 chord, whereas this one is a little more centered around the 1 chord.

    It works very well as a single in my opinion. However, I wonder why Ever Present Past wasn't picked as the international track? I heard the choice for the UK and international market was Dance Tonight.

    I have no idea how they picked the singles. I hope they did! It's really up to them...

    The following song is See Your Sunshine, also in my opinion one of the most "regular" McCartney tracks on the album.

    I see...but listen to the bass playing. Every possible inversion of every chord. True counter-melody playing that Paul is the best at.

    Next we have one of my favourites, Only Mama Knows, the big rocker on the album.

    It's great indeed. And it's straight up rock, with a great story. You can hear the Abbey Road room sound. A big room with a close feel.

    I'll tell you what I really got intrigued by the orchestral intro and ending on the track. How did you come up with this arrangement?

    We just had an idea and put it on there, to hear the theme in a different setting. It fitted very well, the results were great.

    You Tell Me, the ballad, sounds like an old Brazilian tune to me.

    It's such a sweet yet sad song. The vocal tone throughout still baffles me; I have no idea how he can make high tones hang in the sky forever.

    What about the backwards tape sound placed in the intro. Any particular idea behind this arrangement?

    No particular idea. There's some backwards stuff and some forwards stuff. It just fitted nice on the song.

    Now we have Mr. Bellamy, another outstanding track on the album in my opinion.
    Storytelling at it's best. You know, it was really fun doing the flugelhorn parts. The second bridge counterpoint is a classical composition.

    It sounds as something he's never really done before. How did you achieve that on the studio? I mean, was it deliberate?

    We had the song there, and Paul wrote a counter melody. His melodies are always strong, and the two melodies worked together the way some classical pieces do, so we put them together. It was nothing like "let's put a pop song and a classical arrangement together" going on, you know.

    Gratitude is next, a very bluesy and soulful track with outstanding did you work on the recording of that?

    As we worked on the vocals more and more Paul took more and more chances, and it kept getting better and better. It was like watching a flower bloom, actually. You know, I'm so grateful for getting to work on this album.

    Then Vintage Clothes comes in.

    Beginning of the medley. The low Mellotron notes that distort through the Mellotron speaker are so great sounding.

    The Mellotron sound is very upfront on the mix. Any particular reference to use the instrument in the arrangement? Also was it done using Paul's Hog Hill mellotron, if I'm not mistaken?

    Yes, Paul's Mellotron at the Mill. But no, not really. No references. Other than the fact that the mellotron has been used before by Paul, you know.

    True. And on one particulary famous song... (Strawberry Fields Forever e.n)

    Second track in the medley is the cool rockabilly-like, That Was Me.

    Yeah. We were talking about needing a lift for the third verse, after the vocal/guitar solo riffs. Paul said maybe he'd sing it up an octave. What's on the track is the second take. My hair was standing on end. It was like a rocket took off.

    What about the sort of distorted piano riffs? I know you don't use references, but...

    I know you'd like to find some references, but there aren't any. Wix (Paul Wickens, the keyboard player) was goofing around on the piano, and he hit that chord and I thought it sounded great because it's so dissonant. Paul liked it, so we put it in. Later, I thought it was kind of like the guitar chops Steve Cropper plays on Green Onions (Booker T. and the MG's).

    Paul's then got his Feet In The Clouds. What about this next track?

    There are several very personal moments in this song that might escape some listeners at first. And the chorale sections were really fun (and very painstaking) to work on. The Handel robots.

    What sounds amazing for me on this track at first listen is the crispy acoustic guitar sound.

    We worked quite awhile to get that particular acoustic sound. It had to have an immediate feel to pick up from That Was Me. Also, there's no drums for awhile, so size was important. I wanted it to feel like it was holding the voice in it's hand, to make it extremely close and personal because of lyric in the chorus.

    As I told you, some of the tracks have become quickly personal favourites, but House Of Wax really stunned me. It's a track hard to define, also different than Paul's past recordings.

    I agree. I've never heard a song like this, about this, with a vocal like this. Aside from the truly poetic lyrics, one of my favorite things in the track are the guitar solos. The sections were open for a long time, and I suggested to Paul that he play guitar solos in each one, maybe changing each solo feel-wise to build the song. Half hour later, these were done. I've never heard him play guitar like this!

    Yes, the song is one hard to describe. The orchestration has got a very "dark approach", by the way.

    As far as the orchestration goes, t's a dark song, so we followed the logic of the composition. There's three drum kits, one of them slowed down to half speed. The thunder at the beginning and end are actually tom fills.

    Amazing recording, I can tell.

    We're close to the End of The End now...
    Was it recorded at Abbey Road by the way?

    Yes Abbey Road on the Lady Madonna piano.Think about what this song is about, and what effort it takes to be direct and open about this topic. I don't know of a song about this, like this, from anyone in pop music. An artist can only write one song about this as far as I'm concerned. Think too about the connection he makes between stories and songs, children and lovers.

    Any particular story of this session?

    On End of the End, Paul was singing and playing live, and he had on headphones. After a few takes, he stopped and said he didn't need the headphones since he was just singing and playing, so he took them off and was sitting in the middle of the room at Abbey Road 2 playingand singing his song, as bare and purely musical as could be. About three takes later, he did the take you hear on the album.

    The high part at the end was so pure, like a blimp hanging in the air indefinitely. I was holding my breath as he finished, wondering if it was all going to fall apart because it was so delicate, but it stood up like iron. He came upstairs and we listened, and it was done. Boom, just like that. A lifetime in a moment.

    I loved the feel of the last track, Nod Your Head. It seems out of Chaos And Creation At Abbey Road TV special, the improvisation made by Paul at the end of the show. Did Paul ad-lib the lyrics and then record it?

    No, the lyrics weren't ad-libs. He wrote out a lyric and sang it, worked on it more, and kept singing it until it was right. I don't think verse two sounds anything but composed, with the great word-play and tense changing going on in there. There was some talk of this being an instrumental. When Paul finally put a vocal on it, I was stunned. He reached down and pulled magic out. He's the only singer ever to sound like this, and here he is pounding it out for us all to hear.

    We now are aware that there'll be three bonus tracks included on the album's special edition. They are 222, In Private and Why So Blue, which makes only 16 tracks available to us. I'd like you please to comment on these three leftovers and if there's chances for other songs to surface.

    OK. 222 is a groove track in an odd meter. Very moody, very cool and inside.
    In Private is an instrumental with a slight Indian flavor, although played on acoustic guitar. Why So Blue was on the album for awhile, and came off near the end. It's a great story song, and I always described it as being very kind. The other songs weren't finished.

    To wrap this up, what would be your final comments on it? Did you enjoy the questions or some of them were off-base? (laughs).

    No, they were cool. One thing that interests me about the questions you ask (and many other people ask me too) is that in trying to find references for new songs in old ones, you're making a memory game out of listening. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It just interests me.)

    A lot of this album is about memory, and Paul of all the people I've worked with - someone who has absolutely unique and voluminous experiences to remember- doesn't use his past work to inspire him. He has kept going, doing new things.

    You may recognize someone by their walk or their face, but you're not seeing them in the same place you saw them before because everything has moved on, including the planet. Paul's instinct is to find a new chord, a new sound, a new way to hit a note, a melody he's never thought of before.

    It's still Paul's voice, and it's still an electric guitar, but it's Paul on his own frontier, not looking back musically. Even though on this album the memory feeling is so strong. I think that's a great double feeling, a very rich contrasting landscape. Paul may not realize something as completely as he'd hoped to, but he's never - in the absence of knowing exactly what to do next - gone back and copied himself. That's the history of all great artists.

    That was a great overview of Paul's framework. Thanks for the interview.

    You are welcome. Cheers.


    So all in all, I think it was a cool interview. Feel free to post it and use it on your projects, if you find it interesting. The only thing I ask is giving me a little credit. Thanks!
  20. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served

    I thought it was recorded during the 88-89 era, but definitely post-Ramone. Paul's voice sounds better on "Your School" than it did by the mid-90s. Of course, I'll defer if you have inside info...
  21. Sammy Banderas

    Sammy Banderas Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA, USA
    Great interview with Mr. Kahne!!! Awesome work, my friend. I haven't been as excited to hear a new McCartney album as I am now.:righton:

  22. hoover537

    hoover537 Forum Resident

    Great Interview! It's nice to get Kahne's perspective and just as impressive to have an interviewer that really knows his stuff about Paul McCartney.
  23. I second the motion--great interview!
  24. Frank

    Frank Forum Resident

    In what year will May 23rd be a Monday? I hope this is not the kind of attention to detail we can expect from Hear Music's promotions department!
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