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POLL: How do you rate Paul McCartney's "McCartney II" album?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, Jul 14, 2014.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Back from vacation and now it's been another couple weeks (plus!) since the last round of voting on the merits of a McCartney album, so here's round 7!

    The ground rules: this poll, like the others, is designed for people familiar with the album in question and with at least some familiarity with some of his other post-Beatle catalog (for comparison purposes). If the poll doesn't interest you, please kindly move on to a thread that does. I've intentionally not named "comparison albums" on the best-to-worst scale, as some may think a particular album of his is awesome, while others have a completely different take on the same album. Just consider how YOU would rate it in comparison with his other post-Beatles work.

    If you've missed a previous poll, feel free to vote below. Here's a recap of where the others have rated so far:
    The "New" album poll 262 votes, with a weighted average of 3.59 (edging slightly towards "solid effort").
    The "Back To The Egg" album poll. 213 votes, also with a nearly identical (!) weighted average of 3.60.
    The "Wild Life" album poll. 248 votes, with a weighted average of 2.84 (just below "not bad").
    The "Driving Rain" album poll. 212 votes, with a weighted average of 2.79.
    The "Flowers in the Dirt" album poll. 173 votes, with a weighted average of 3.72.
    The "Flaming Pie" album poll. 184 votes, with a remarkably favorable weighted average of 4.23 (!).

    I'm leaning towards another 70s release for the next round (a couple weeks out), and probably one of the "lesser" albums. Suggestions? I'd like to save BOTR & Ram for later on, as they may be the biggest challenge to Flaming Pie's current throne. Thanks to all those who have voted so far!
    theMess likes this.
  2. jupiter8

    jupiter8 Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    I voted "essential" but that was because there was no option for "his best 'bad' release". I love it but mostly for what people would consider to be the "wrong" reasons. I can understand why some serious McCartney fans would consider it a POS. It shows one side of his songwriting and style in its purest form...
    DrBeatle and drasil like this.
  3. Fivebyfive

    Fivebyfive Forum Resident

    East coast, US
    It's brilliant -- especially the 2011 remaster that included some excellent bonus tracks like Check My Machine (a Gorillaz track 30 years before the band existed) and the incredible Secret Friend.

    Such a strange and fantastic album. Temporary Secretary is the type of song that people either love or hate. I love it. But if you don't get it, you don't get it.
  4. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    "plenty of the usual throwaways" seems an oddly subjective comment that doesn't really relate to the option being suggested. I don't find most of his albums to have plenty of throwaway tunes. I guess the OP doesn't care for Paul much.
    foxylady and Perian like this.
  5. Izozeles

    Izozeles Pushing my limits

    I love these Paul poll´s threads. The fact there is a large amount of voters make these surveys pretty representative. Although I think since this is almost a McCartney forum the ratings are a little biased, so far I tend to agree with the general consensus.
    With regards to McC II, I think it´s another collection of some great tunes packed with the usually high amount of filler that used to come with Paul´s weak albums.
  6. LandHorses

    LandHorses Forum Resident

    New Joisey
    Lower tier
    Shak Cohen and Agent57 like this.
  7. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Apologies if you don't like the scale I created. Before I created the first of these polls, I thought about trying to build a consensus around five "descriptors" which would be different from a standard 1-star to 5-star scale. Why? Well, I'm one who would rate very few albums as being 5-star albums - maybe that's just me. So I tried to consider things from a viewpoint somewhat more detached than that of a rabid fan. And I also realized I'd never be able to build a consensus here on five differing descriptors...

    Aside from this forum, I know very few actual people who are "hardcore" McCartney fans. I know a handful that are familiar with most of his post-Beatle work, but just a handful. I've heard those folks - and many a critic - criticize Paul for having some great material on his albums, but rarely being able to come up with an album that's satisfying from start to finish. That's where that "middle level" rating comes from - it's a common viewpoint "out there". The other ratings move up and down accordingly.

    Again, I apologize if you (and others) don't like my "scale". But I think it's essential to use the exact same wording for each album that I throw out, and I think it's interesting to view the results in comparison. I can't believe that Driving Rain actually has a lower "score" than Wild Life, for example, but it's interesting to me (and, hopefully, to others).

    I hope you'll join in on past/future polls, and I take total responsibility for the inherent flaws in their design.
    OldShiftyEyes and theMess like this.
  8. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I agree it is worth having a common scale for the polls.
    I am one of those responsible for giving Wild Life a higher score, as it is one of my top 5 McCartney albums, while Driving Rain would probably come in no higher than 15 for me. Driving Rain and McCartney II are two of the only albums I would feel contain a "throwaway" track, and in each case I would rate them higher if Freedom and Frozen Jap were just eliminated from them.
  9. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    This album has two or three of my absolute favorite songs of his, but I don't much care for the rest. Voted 'Not Bad'.
  10. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    I could certainly be wrong, but I think most diehard McCartney fans see throwaways on even his best solo albums. Almost any discussion of Flaming Pie (which is universally "recommended" in its poll) will have plenty of disdain heaped upon:
    • If You Wanna
    • Used To Be Bad
    • Really Love You
    ,just for one example. And that's an album that's VERY well-appreciated. When you start talking about Pipes of Peace, Off the Ground, Speed of Sound, Press to Play, etc., even diehard fans will start pointing out throwaways.
    OldShiftyEyes likes this.
  11. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Those are all tracks I enjoy and would rather have than not have on the albums. Frozen Jap and Freedom I feel you could improve the albums by throwing away these tracks. There's probably a couple of those on Back to the Egg as well (Reception, Rockestra Theme, the Broadcast), and on the first McCartney (Kreen-Akrore), but other than those tracks I am glad we got more Paul songs than less on about all of his albums.

    If you mean something else by "throwaway" - more like "thrown together quickly without a great deal of thought," then there would be others. But I can't think of others I would rather were thrown away.
  12. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    I think the first time I ever heard the term "throwaway" was in Lennon's 1980 interviews. He used that term for a number of songs. Here's what he said about "Tight A$" from the Mind Games LP:
    "Just a throwaway track. I felt like doing that kind of a song. It’s a Tex-Mexsound which actually you could play now and it would be au courant, but I don’t think many people were doing it then."
    I've always heard it almost interchangably with "album filler", if that helps.
    theMess and supermd like this.
  13. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    "A pretty solid effort - worth recommending"
    theMess likes this.
  14. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

    San Jose, CA
    theMess likes this.
  15. ampmods

    ampmods Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    It's my favorite Paul album.
    KariK, drasil and theMess like this.
  16. ccbarr

    ccbarr Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    I voted a pretty solid effort, worth recommending. I prefer the album version of Coming Up, and I'm also in the Temporary Secretary fan club, love the synth work. I remember reading John Lennon saying Paul sounded down or depressed on this album, and I can hear that too. One Of These Days, Summer's Day Song and Waterfalls all have a kind of sadness to them, they are great songs though. I think Paul was getting sick of Wings when he made this album, and I think that is what gives it it's "down" feeling. But that's just my opinion. It's amazing if you look at the diversity of London Town, Back To The Egg and McCartney II. Such a variety of styles, not many artists can do that.

    Anway, I would put this in my top 10 Paul albums, probably at number 10. It's similar to The Beach Boys Love You (another great album) with all the synths. The Archive Collection reissue sounds terrific, and has some decent bonus tracks.
    theMess likes this.
  17. Seederman

    Seederman Forum Resident

    I am clearly in the minority here, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but a hardcore Macca fan, I am afraid. To me, half of the songs are downright unlistenable noises. The other half are tuneful, minor songs that don't rank very high among the best of his career. I thought "Coming Up" was obnoxious. I applaud his effort to try something new, but too much of it is Paulie picking his nose again. There is nothing here a non-Paul-fan would find particularly interesting. There were far better synth albums available in 1980 that actually broke new ground.
  18. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    I am a big fan of this album, and think that it is a nearly flawless experiment, although it is not quite in my very top tier of McCartney albums, which is why I voted for a pretty solid effort. That a pop musician already so far into his career could completely change his style and experiment like he did shows how talented he is as a songwriter. Paul can be brilliant when he experiments in the studio, as this album attests.

    I love the beautiful ballads Waterfalls, One Of These Days and Summer's Day Song, all classics, and I am also a fan of the catchy oriental sounding instrumentals Front Parlour and Frozen Jap. Coming Up is a wonderful song that showed that Paul could write in the then current style, and it was a deserved hit. I think that Darkroom is an underrated synth pop song, the type of song that I wish Paul had written more of in the 80's. On The Way, whilst not exactly similar to the rest of the songs, is a great blues-rock song, and Nobody Knows sounds to me like a White Album track.

    I am in the bracket of fans who love the extended remastered edition with the bonus songs, and I think that two of these (Secret Friend and Check My Machine) were futuristic and ahead of their time, alongside the club favourite Temporary Secretary. As Pitchfork said about Secret Friend: ''it is a beat-driven synth opus that shares plenty in common aesthetically with dance music a decade it's junior. Though relegated to a B-Side it is amongst the most forward-looking things McCartney recorded in his post Beatles career.'' I also love the glamorous Bond-sounding Blue Sway.

    The only song on the whole album that I don't like is Bogey Music. I imagine that I am not alone in having this opinion.

    Overall I rate this album very highly, partly because it showed that Paul could still be groundbreaking. As a the Queitus said when reviewing the remaster, the cold oriental crystalline keyboard motif of Frozen Jap seems to predict what Kraftwerk did a year later on Computer Love.
  19. anthontherun

    anthontherun Forum Resident

    When I first heard this album I hated it, minus "One of These Days," which I felt was buried treasure amid a sea of garbage noise. How did that awesome song from Wingspan, "Coming Up," become so unlistenable? What the hell was he trying to accomplish with this weird "Temporary Secretary"? And don't even get me started on "Bogey Music." But as the years passed and my musical tastes evolved, it quickly surged to my top 5 McCartney albums. It's Paul letting loose in a way he never has before or since, and I absolutely love it. Every track, plus the B-sides. (The full-length version of "Check My Machine" still isn't long enough if you ask me.) Now, some of the tracks that were cut when it went from a double to a single I can do without. But the album itself is superb, so I went for "Clearly one of his best efforts."

    Would I recommend it to someone just getting started in the McCartney catalog though? Hell no.

    Red Rose Speedway!
  20. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Not bad.
  21. dickens12@excite

    dickens12@excite Forum Resident

    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Much better than McCartney.
    Beatles Floyd likes this.
  22. KariK

    KariK Forum Resident

    Espoo, Finland
    Mine too.
    theMess, Buick6 and ampmods like this.
  23. GubGub

    GubGub Forum Resident

    Perfect timing to consider this album as I am currently reading The Complete Recording Sessions book (or whatever it is called. Sorry, I don't have it to hand) and just last night was reading the section about McCartney II. I bought the album on release, having been hugely excited by it in advance. Unfortunately I found it massively disappointing and largely disposable and have rarely listened to the entire album since. The book reminded me what it is that I don't like about it, the thin, half finished feel of most of the material. It does contain some great stuff, Waterfalls, One Of These Days and I am very fond of Summer's Day Song. Coming Up was also a great pop single, though I wish he had not processed the vocal so much.Much of the rest are home doodles that should have stayed home doodles. By contrast, I also bought the contemporary singles and both Check My Machine & Secret Friend were revelatory. I could not help lamenting why they they could not have been included on the album instead of Darkroom and Bogey Music. Secret Friend is, I think, one of the best things Macca has ever done.

    There are, of course, remixes of a couple of the McCartney II cuts on the Twin Freaks album which in my opinion improve enormously on the originals and which I like a great deal.

    So, for me, there are hidden gems on there which I have extracted to my Best of Macca playlist but it is not an album I want to listen to all the way through and I regard it as a bit of a dud.
  24. 905

    905 Senior Member

    St. Louis
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  25. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    a very typical paul mccartney album.

    1 - 3 good songs

    1 - 3 OK songs

    (there is some overlap between the above 2 statements)

    the rest filler.

    and before i get reminded, i know i've said it before, but the OP asked, so......
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