Paul McCartney greatest flaw as an artist ?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by johnny moondog 909, Mar 11, 2018.

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  1. johnny moondog 909

    johnny moondog 909 Beatles-Lennon & Classic rock fan Thread Starter

    Now this isin't a thread for McCartney bashing, let's establish that ok.

    The great artist that is Paul McCartney does it all. Writes words & music, sings lead & harmony, plays bass, guitar, drums, piano, can fiddle about on ukelele, mandolin, trumpet & more.

    He's an award winning record producer for himself & for other artists like Badfinger, Denny Laine, Peggy Lee & others. As a member of the Beatles in the 1960's, he was part of the most successful & (arguably ) groundbreaking band in history.

    Besides McCartney's abilities as singer, writer, producer, & musician. He's also a very personable & photogenic guy & has had one of the greatest careers in history as a live performer. Not Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison or Elvis Presley, but still huge career as a performer !. Besides that, McCartney has played a fictionalized version of himself, co-starring in 4 major motion pictures, 3 as a Beatle & one as a solo (GMRT Broadstreet) as well as various cameos, interviews, & documentaries.

    McCartney paints, writes poems, sculpts ? Very creative guy. But obviously we aren't going to judge his paintings or acting skills, as we would his fields of expertise, songwriting, recording, singing.

    Just to give a couple fair examples before the poll, one could fairly say he's a great Songwriter but I've felt his lyrics can't measure up to his ability to come up with melodies. Or he's great but should've stuck to what he did best, dabbling in Electronica, punk, Jazz, was a mistake, pop was his strength.

    That's just hypothetical, not saying it's true or untrue, just an example. The poll couldn't possibly encompass every possible critique or viewpoint. Again I think he's a great artist, an all-time great. Like many people I have criticisms, as I would of anybody.
  2. Thesmellofvinyl

    Thesmellofvinyl Forum Resident

    Cohoes, NY USA
    Never uses a dropcloth.
    ramdom, Jazzmonkie, RangerXT and 4 others like this.
  3. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
  4. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    he WAS one of the best songwriters of all time, absolutely.
    I don't think he was written anything really memorable since the 70's.
    Not saying he hasn't had some good songs since, but just not in the
    'standards' category.
  5. cublowell

    cublowell Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    He was a Beatle, and now there's all this.
  6. smoke

    smoke Forum Resident

    Lacking gravitas is a good way to put it. Another might be that he's too genuinely nice and well-adjusted to make the kind of searing, soul-baring music favored by the current intelligentsia. Not a bad flaw if you can still manage a dozen or more songs which will, with utmost certainty, be sung and listened to in 200 year's time.
  7. Hokeyboy

    Hokeyboy Nudnik of Dinobots

    Quality control. He needed a strong editing partner. In the 70s alone he recorded about 12 albums of material, released 9 and varying quality, and should have pared that down to 5 great ones.
  8. gregorya

    gregorya Forum Resident

    I think he's at his best when being challenged by his collaborators. This is true of rest of the former Beatles and also a high percentage of all musicians.
    angelees, JannL, bumbletort and 12 others like this.
  9. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    With the Beatles alone that's quite a songwriting catalog to start!
  10. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    I love everything he did in the 60s and almost everything he did in the 70s...and not very much of what he did after. But he's hardly the only artist that ran out of great stuff. They pretty much all do and he had much more than most.
    angelees, YardByrd and sunking101 like this.
  11. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Wish multiple choices would have been available, because I would have voted for 3-4 things.
  12. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    United States
    I picked 4... ballads vs rock, although I'm not quite sure that fits. I think his biggest weakness is that he didn't exploit his ability to create really indeniable, catchy, hook-filled ballads and midtempo and uptempo pop and rock songs. Instead, his 70s albums are filled with about 3 really amazing songs and a lot of baggy, kind of jammy, lite rootsrock. I've learned to like a lot of that stuff... things like 1985 and Beware My Love are pretty cool once you catch the vibe... but songs like that aren't really what I'm looking for on a McCartney album. In other words, the world's best songwriter should've been filling his albums with the world's best songs.
    Changingman likes this.
  13. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Thinking he can still sing.
    Hi Lizard, john lennonist and dumangl like this.
  14. steve_miller

    steve_miller Forum Resident

    To many Silly Love Songs.

    Needs a collaborator to keep his songwriting honest.
    I lost my interest after 1980.
    Say Say Say, Coming Up, Give My Regards To Broad Street, Ebony and Ivory,etc.
    To much garbage.
  15. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds

    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree. Elvis Costello seemed to bring McCartney to a level of quality he hadn't reached since the Beatles. If only that partnership had continued.
  16. Neil Anderson

    Neil Anderson Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    overthinks his own material. I actually really like about half of Wild Life (Mumbo, Wild Life, Tomorrow, and Dear Friend). I'd take songs like that over the very polished Venus and Mars any day.
    Electric likes this.
  17. Padraic Coffing

    Padraic Coffing Well-Known Member

    West Coast, USA
    I voted, like many others at this point, for too sappy but that was happening in the Beatles. However, I also think that like many artists he suffered from the breakup with song-writing partners or bandmates that would speak thier mind. Hire-lings or short term collaborators won't do that.
    john lennonist, TS582 and Scott in DC like this.
  18. Remy

    Remy Forum Resident

    Brooklyn NY
    Probably parts of everything on the list but I went with 12.
    lesterbangs likes this.
  19. Hokeyboy

    Hokeyboy Nudnik of Dinobots

    McCartney's 1997 through 2013 work has been of very high quality. The five studio albums from 1997-2013 >>> the fourteen studio albums from 1970-1986 (not counting classical, collaborative, covers, or other side projects).
  20. MaccaBeatles

    MaccaBeatles Forum Resident

    McCartney's greatest flaw as an artist?

    Largely the same problem that John has had in his solo career. Released just about anything without a care for quality control. A major reason The Beatles are looked at with wonder all these years later is because of the extraordinary lack of filler in their catalog. This was largely because John and Paul each 'only' had to write and record less than half of the songs they would for a solo album. Paul has stated that him and John 'forgot' dozens of songs before they recorded them. But back in those days they were effectively competing and helping with each other's songs, so it would only make sense for them to contribute their A-game or release the stuff that deep down they knew would impress the most.

    After the break up in 1970 Paul was pretty much free to release anything he liked without much thought or a serious musical rival to bounce ideas off. He's released 24 studio albums to date, but truthfully the majority of them are inconsistent and unfocused. Because he's so good at creating melody's there are a lot of great-excellent songs in his solo catalog, but he can get extremely lazy with the lyrics or not focus enough or getting it just right.
    Sometimes just a few tweaks can turn a 'good' song into a 'great song.

    As a consequence of his lack of quality control, only three of his albums are ones I could honestly say I wouldn't change a thing about them. Band On The Run, RAM and Chaos & Creation In The Backyard. It is no surprise that 2005's Chaos and Creation was his greatest overall work since the 70s considering producer Nigel Godrich actually had the brass balls to tell Paul what songs he wasn't so fond of:

    So, he largely hasn't had enough musically minded people in his post-Beatles career that dare to tell him what works and what doesn't, and he settles on his laurels far too often considering his enormous amount of talent which is still apparent today in recent songs like Queenie Eye and NEW. Even with all of this in mind, filtering his discography to the top 40-50% percent or compiling a large box set of his best songs over the last 48 years shows that when condensed to his best work he is still a huge force to be reckoned with. He just needs to be pushed out of his comfort zone.
    ramdom, angelees, sami and 20 others like this.
  21. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    I think it's sort of a combination of a lot of them. To me, it all comes down to that post-Beatles, he put out a lot of mediocre or misguided music. A lot of what made that music not worth listening to is the style; A lot of what he put out was either in a style that didn't fit his approach, or was that kind of fluffy, cutesy pop that a lot of people don't like. There is also a definite inconsistency in his songwriting; When he is good, he is great (arguably the best!), but he can also be beyond dull.
  22. jefferyuniverse

    jefferyuniverse Well-Known Member

    I would say number 2. He is at his best when he is with a good collaborator. I think he has great work from just about every decade but there are definitely missteps.
  23. Mr.Sean

    Mr.Sean Senior Member

    I'm sure Steve Lillywhite harbours a strong opinion on this.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  24. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Greatest flaw? Having a fan like you.
    paulewalnutz, angelees, zen and 3 others like this.
  25. formu_la

    formu_la Pigs whisperer

    Toronto, Canada
    As flawless as it gets.
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