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A summary of the "How do you rate Paul McCartney's Albums?" polls...

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, May 26, 2015.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Well, I was gonna do this at some point anyway, but when I got an actual REQUEST to do so over the weekend, I figured now was as good a time as any...

    Over the course of a year, I asked folks who were familiar with McCartney's post-Beatle work to chime in with their opinions on it, on a sometimes (validly!) criticized scale of my own making. In case you somehow missed it, here's the reasoning behind that scale.

    Anyway, after a combined 7768 votes on those albums, I thought it might be interesting to post a "where are they now" update for the set of polls. Unlike previous posts, this time I'll rank them in their order of preference here at SHF. These numbers will change as folks rediscover the polls over time (I intentionally did not put "closing" dates on the individual polls), but they're unlikely to change much.

    So here's how they came out from favorite to ... not-so-favorite.

    #1: "Band on the Run". 436 votes, with the highest average rating of 4.65 (out of 5.00).
    #2: "Ram". 603 votes, average rating: 4.58.

    #3: "Venus & Mars". 278 votes, average rating: 4.26.
    #4: "Chaos & Creation". 225 votes, average rating: 4.16.
    #5: "Tug of War". 248 votes, average rating: 4.09.
    #6: "Flaming Pie". 400 votes, average rating: 4.08.
    #7: "McCartney". 358 votes, average rating: 4.04.

    #8: "Flowers in the Dirt". 388 votes, average rating: 3.76.
    #9: "Run Devil Run". 156 votes, average rating: 3.71.
    #10: "Electric Arguments". 215 votes, average rating: 3.70.
    #11: "New". 404 votes, average rating: 3.64.
    #12: "Back To The Egg". 371 votes, average rating: 3.60.

    #13: "Memory Almost Full". 245 votes, average rating: 3.38.
    #14: "Red Rose Speedway". 317 votes, average rating: 3.33.
    #15: "London Town". 242 votes, average rating: 3.24.
    #16: "At The Speed Of Sound". 350 votes, average rating: 3.142.
    #17: "McCartney II". 299 votes, average rating: 3.140.
    #18: "CHOBA B CCCP". 190 votes, with an average rating of 3.05.

    #19: "Wild Life". 408 votes, average rating: 2.89.
    #20: "Off The Ground". 297 votes, average rating: 2.86.
    #21: "Driving Rain". 326 votes, average rating: 2.75.
    #22: "Press to Play". 296 votes, average rating: 2.64.
    #23: "Kisses on the Bottom". 234 votes, average rating: 2.55.
    #24: "Give My Regards to Broad Street". 233 votes, average rating: 2.51.

    #25: "Pipes of Peace". 249 votes, with the lowest average rating of 2.47.

    And a few other random facts and figures, for your amusement/boredom.

    "Total Votes". Ram was the big winner, garnering nearly four times the number of ratings of last-placed Run Devil Run, despite Ram's poll being open less than a month! Albums averaged 310 ratings and only a handful topped 400+. Only Run Devil Run and its 50s's cousin "CHOBA B CCCP" failed to get 200 votes. Note: perhaps the strangest stat of all to me is that the lowly Wild Life ranked third in votes cast, trailing only Ram & BOTR. :yikes:

    "Top Ratings". Only 3 of you gave "Broad Street" the top rating, while next-lowest "Pipes of Peace" doubled that figure. Ram put up about 150x that amount to easily win the most "first-place" votes. If you're new to post-Beatle McCartney, look no further than the nine albums which amassed 100+ top rankings:
    • Ram (463)
    • Band On The Run (347)
    • Flaming Pie (175)
    • McCartney (160)
    • Venus & Mars (138)
    • Chaos & Creation (122)
    • New (115)
    • Tug of War (114)
    • Back To The Egg (105)
    "Lowest Ratings". Mirroring the previous category, only 3 of you felt "Venus & Mars" deserved the worst rating, but many multiples of that bestowed Spankings instead of Kisses on that album's bottom, letting it bring up the rear in that category, so to speak. Newbies to solo Paul should likely be wary of albums earning 50+ votes in the worst category:
    • Kisses on the Bottom (69)
    • Press to Play (68)
    • Wild Life (54)
    • Pipes of Peace (53)
    I'd certainly be interested in any thoughts folks might have about these polls, positive or negative (though hopefully with constructive criticism).

    What hit top level or bottom level for YOU?

    Thanks once again to all for playing. :wave:
  2. Isejingu

    Isejingu Forum Resident

    Tokyo, Japan
    Except NEW should be ranked higher in my opinion, I think this result is very objective and valid one.
    Brendan K and theMess like this.
  3. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Eric, I want my $5 back, please... ;)

    Seriously, thanks for coordinating this massive amount of info.
    mando_dan, Zeki, JoeF. and 8 others like this.
  4. Rob Hughes

    Rob Hughes Forum Resident

    Thanks Mr Jinks! Very interesting!
    Not exactly how I would have ranked them, but not so far off either.
    Thanks again for your amazing work, RH
    Brian Kelly, Marvin, CDC and 3 others like this.
  5. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    The top 10 albums are really a diverse bunch of albums, touching on all points of Paul's solo career.

    Now, start up a "How do you rate" poll of all of Paul's singles. With the albums all done, you need to stay busy.
    marc with a c, Hermes, Zeki and 3 others like this.
  6. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Seeker of Truth

    Early work his best
  7. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Alas, my 30-minute clock expired before I could link my twisted reasoning in the above statement. For those who didn't see it before, HERE is the reasoning behind my ratings scale!
    theMess likes this.
  8. gottafeelin

    gottafeelin Forum Resident

    This was fun. Interesting results. What a great body of work the man has!

    Thanks for doing this.
    theMess and mrjinks like this.
  9. 905

    905 Senior Member

    St. Louis
    Thank you for your time, I enjoy the threads.
    theMess and mrjinks like this.
  10. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Thank you so much for doing this and for starting these threads in the first place. I have really enjoyed taking part in them, and the results are very interesting.

    Paul's career has often been called inconsistent, but it should be pointed out that all but 7 of his albums have received at least 3 out of 5 in these polls, which is certainly not a bad grade. It also leaves him with many albums considered at least 'solid' by most members.

    These results should certainly be linked to people who are new to his solo work; they will be very helpful to them.

    I find it interesting that all of the albums with +4 ratings could be considered his most 'Beatlesque', whereas the lowest rating albums like the soul influenced Pipes Of Peace, the Standards covers of KOTB and the electronic Press To Play are amongst the lowest rated. It goes to show that most of his solo fans prefer his 'classic' sound to his more experimental ones.

    I can't understand why Pipes Of Peace is ranked so low, below even Broadstreet? I understand that opinions are divided, but I didn't expect an album that had 2 hit singles to rate lowest of all, especially when many members seem to appreciate songs like Through Our Love, So Bad, Keep Under Cover, etc. I expected Broadstreet to be ranked lower, even though I myself enjoy the three originals and some of the Beatles/Wings covers.

    I am also very happy to see that New is one of the top 10 albums when it comes to Top Ratings; I believe that had the thread for New been started now as opposed to a year ago, it would probably have a higher rating overall, seeing as more time has passed since it was released and since the mammoth New thread was at its peak.
    Zeki, She is anyway, 905 and 2 others like this.
  11. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    You weren't around here back when Memory Almost Full was released, but the thread coverage for that album was as massive in its day as the New thread was a few years later. The #2 shocker on this list to me (behind the massive vote total for Wild Life) is the relative lack of votes for Memory. Only 6 albums had fewer votes (including a Fireman disc, a soundtrack and three albums of mostly covers), yet this album was HUGE news here back in 2007-2008.

    I also never would've believed V&M would be as well-received as it was. It's kind of a "meh" album for me, and I thought a lot of folks preferred the WOA versions of the songs, but it had an astonishingly high overall rating to me.
    BZync, gja586 and theMess like this.
  12. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Timing is everything:
    You did the Venus & Mars poll AFTER the Archive set was released. I think many people were re-introduced to V&M, and they came away with a more-favorable impression of the album than they would have had otherwise (I know my impression of it was improved). The bonus disc for the V&M Archive set is also top-notch. And even though we don't include those bonus discs in the polling, I bet the good vibes generated by the bonus disc translated into giving V&M such a high rating.
    Zeki, theMess and AndyNicks like this.
  13. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks. The Run Devil Run position makes no sense to me. NEW should be lower
  14. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    You mean it was ranked too high; or not high enough?
  15. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    To me, #3-6 are rated too high, and #10-12 are rated too low... flop them around in the list and it's pretty accurate... with the anomaly of Speed Of Sound being way too high on the list.
  16. fallbreaks

    fallbreaks Forum Resident

    For someone with a solo career spanning 45 years, it's pretty cool that 3 of the 9 'Best' are from the last 20 years, and only one of the 'Worst' is from the last 20 years. Not bad, Paul, not bad.
  17. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Some (like the anti-Macca critic, Robert Christgau) judge Run Devil Run to be his best:

    I don't want to call McCartney the most complacent rock and roller in history. The competition's way too stiff, especially up around his age, and anyway, I'm not judging his inner life, only his musical surface. From womp-bom-a-loo-mom to monkberry moon delight, his rockin' soul and pop lyricism always evinced facility, not feeling, and his love songs were, as he so eloquently put it, silly. This piece of starting-over escapism isn't like that at all, as, robbed of the wife he loved with all his heart, McCartney returns to the great joy of his adolescence in a literally death-defying formal inversion. So light it's almost airborne, Gene Vincent's "Blue Jean Baby" opens; so wild it's almost feral, Elvis Presley's "Party" closes. Some familiar titles are merely redone or recast, which beyond some Chuck Berry zydeco gets him nowhere. But arcana like Fats Domino's "Coquette" and Carl Perkins's "Movie Magg" could have been born yesterday, three originals dole out tastes of strange, and on two successive slow sad ones, the Vipers' hung-up obscurity "No Other Baby' and Ricky Nelson's lachrymose hit "Lonesome Town," the impossibility of the project becomes the point. Teenagers know in some recess of their self-involvement that their angst will have a next chapter, but McCartney's loneliness is permanent. Not incurable--the music is a kind of new life. But its fun is a spiritual achievement the man's never before approached.
    (it's the only "A" that Christgau gave to any of Paul's works)
  18. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
    I love both the results of data mining and McCartney so thanks for doing this!
    mrjinks and theMess like this.
  19. AndyNicks

    AndyNicks Forum Resident

    I'm too thought Broad Street and POP would fare a tad better. While they are uneven, and Broad Street contains remade Beatles tunes, and previously released songs, it did feature the smash single 'No More Lonely Nights' and Pipes had the #1 UK single. Great work gathering the data. A singles poll is a must!
    mrjinks and theMess like this.
  20. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Way too high
  21. 905

    905 Senior Member

    St. Louis
    I would agree with the top ten, except have Back to the Egg switch places with Electric Arguments.
  22. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Astoria, NY USA
    Yeah, I remember thinking back when Linda died if that was going to be it for McCartney. Especially after he basically disappeared from public view for about six months or so afterwards. I can still remember how blown away (and relieved) I was hearing this album for the first time. Not only was it reassuring to know that Paul was back (defiantly, as the final 20 seconds of the album hammers home with an impressive vengeance), he was all the way back with a collection of songs (and arrangements) that kicked major ass. Paul hadn't rocked so convincingly since the 70's, and while his voice had lost a step or three, the passion he played and sang with more than made up for it. The final four tracks of the album still give me goosebumps a-plenty when I have it cranked! :righton:
  23. somnar

    somnar Forum Resident

    NYC & Amsterdam
    Those are some crazy results, once you got out of the top two.
  24. Victor/Victrola

    Victor/Victrola Makng shure its write

    I like Press to Play a lot more than this poll indicates. I mean, it's MUCH better than Off The Ground and Wild Life. I'd also rank London Town higher (even though I think it has a lot of filler, but it's a rather long LP so it could be edited down to a much better album) but drop McCartney down about 10 notches. I know many people really love the debut, but I just can't give it much respect since it has so many under-developed ideas on it.
    Hermes and Mumbojunk like this.
  25. Frank

    Frank Forum Resident

    I love me some facts and figures. Great work, @mrjinks and a lot of fun to participate in.
    mrjinks, daveidmarx and theMess like this.
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