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POLL: How do you rate Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" album?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, Aug 11, 2014.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Time to evaluate another McCartney album! Round 9 in an ongoing series, spread out a couple weeks between albums (to show a modicum of mercy to those sick of Beatle-related threads). The last thread was posted almost simultaneously with press releases for the latest archive McCartney reissues. Hopefully this thread will draw out a Harrison "Apple Years" press release! ;)

    This album is universally panned for it's poor sound quality and I expect some may lower their rating for it accordingly. I would ask that you evaluate the album for its artistry (or lack thereof) only, if possible. If that's not possible - I understand - thanks for at least considering my request!

    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 intentionally don't name "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 current recap of how the others have rated so far:
    The "New" album poll 282 votes, with a weighted average of 3.60 (edging slightly towards "solid effort").
    The "Back To The Egg" album poll. 229 votes, also with a nearly identical (!) weighted average of 3.61.
    The "Wild Life" album poll. 276 votes, with a weighted average of 2.87 (just below "not bad").
    The "Driving Rain" album poll. 233 votes, with a weighted average of 2.79.
    The "Flowers in the Dirt" album poll. 230 votes, with a weighted average of 3.71.
    The "Flaming Pie" album poll. 259 votes, with a remarkably favorable weighted average of 4.16 (!).
    The "McCartney II" album poll. 173 votes, with a weighted average of 3.18.
    The "Red Rose Speedway" album poll. 140 votes, with a weighted average of 3.44

    Suggestions are always welcome for the next entry in the series. 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 continue to take place in the voting!

    Note: this is my 5000th post on SHF!
    Chris from Chicago and theMess like this.
  2. ampmods

    ampmods Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    It's a good album that I probably rate lower than I would if it hadn't come out after Chaos. I think "Ever Present Past," "See Your Sunshine," "Mr. Bellamy" and "Vintage Clothes" are awesome. Everything else I'm kind of lukewarm on although "Dance Tonight" kind of annoys me.
    arthurprecarious likes this.
  3. PhoffiFozz

    PhoffiFozz Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, 60173
    I absolutely LOVE Memory Almost Full. I think it's a very creative album full of great overlooked music. However the mastering is so horrible, I can almost understand why.
  4. apple-richard

    apple-richard Overnight Sensation

    Lower tier and nothing to do with sound quality. I find the majority of it boring.
  5. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    I voted 'A Pretty Solid Effort', but had the album been tweaked slightly, I would have maybe voted for the top category.

    I think that Paul mis-represented this album with his poor single choices. Ever Present Past, Nod Your Head and Dance Tonight make the album seem very lightweight and 'poppy', and this is just not true.
    It doesn't help that two of those songs (Dance Tonight and Nod Your Head) are amongst the weakest on the album, not bad by any means, being light and catchy little ditties, but not great either, especially lyrically.
    I personally really enjoy Ever Present Past, which has a catchy melody, but also more substance than the other two singles, and I think that it was a mistake not to play it live. I really like his short acoustic version of the song on Youtube, which is similar to how the song would have been when it was originally written as Perfect Lover.

    The rest of the album certainly contains some 'gems' IMO. I think that House Of Wax is wonderful, with nice abstract lyrics, a great guitar solo and a brilliant vocal from Paul. The End Of The End is a moving ballad, with surprisingly direct and serious lyrics for Paul. I think that That Was Me is a good rocker, especially the live version from Paris, and again, I think that the autobiographical lyrics work well.

    Only Mama Knows seems to be fairly divisive amongst his fans, but I really enjoy the song, another good rocker, and with decent storytelling lyrics, quite different from how he usually writes. Mr Bellamy is another very good surreal storytelling song, arguably the best song on the album, and one that I can easily imagine him releasing on a Beatles album, because it has a nice psychedelic 1967 feel to it.

    You Tell Me is a song that I used to dismiss, but now it has really grown on me. I have come to appreciate the experimental feel of the song, and the interesting lyrics. In some ways, the song points to what Paul did on New with songs like Hosanna and Struggle (so I am sure that Knarf likes it :D).

    As for the rest of the album, for me it is a mixed bag and it goes on for too long. I think that Godrich would have done a better job with See Your Sunshine and Vintage Clothes, which are a bit too shiny for me, I feel that the production let down what were good songs. I also feel that Godrich might have saved Feet In The Cloud from the 'very, very, very, very, very, very' line, which really lets the rest of the song down IMO. As for Gratitude; I just do not like the song.

    I really like the experimental 222, the infectious In Private and the wonderful Why So Blue, and I feel that Paul made a huge mistake by excluding them from the album, whilst including songs like Nod Your Head. I have made a playlist, where I add these three songs at the expense of what I consider to be the 'lesser' songs. I have added This Loving Game, which IMO is too good to just be a Chaos B-Side, and it fleshes the album out nicely.

    Ever Present Past
    Only Mama Knows
    You Tell Me
    Mister Bellamy
    In Private
    This Loving Game
    That Was Me
    Why So Blue
    House of Wax
    The End Of The End

    Had See Your Sunshine, Vintage Clothes and Feet In The Clouds been edited by someone like Godrich, they would make the list as well.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
    streetlegal likes this.
  6. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    :agree: "MAF" is probably my favorite Macca album since "Press to Play" - even with the awful mastering, I really enjoy it.

    I voted "A pretty solid effort - worth recommending". It's just a notch below this poll's top ranking for me...
  7. micksmuse

    micksmuse Forum Resident

    san diego
    i have played that more than any other of his and some of the beatles releases. if dance tonight wouldn't have been the first track and ever present past or only mama knows would have been the opening track it would have gotten so much more attention.
    i like dance tonight but the people that are on the fence (including a lot of snob critics) that see a track like that as more of his goofy dance hall, throw-away (granny music) probably just stopped there.
    every track on the release is great and after the 25th listen i am still finding things i love and that surprise me. and his voice was still in top form not suffering from some of the short breath that he has come to exhibit as of late.
    alexpop likes this.
  8. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    very unhappy with the original release costing more to get the CD with the "extra" bonus songs and then re-releasing it later with all the "extra" songs thrown in plus one more, for an even lower price in a standard jewel case instead a DVD box.

    horrible marketing, just horrible.

    musically...it's paul mccartney.
  9. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    No vote option for his best album since RAM?
  10. RonW

    RonW Forum Resident

    New York
    I like it, liked it when I first heard it and still do. I guess I understand the songs and his frame of mind when he wrote and recorded it. Is it his best? I don't really know it's not something I care about. Just listen.
    theMess likes this.
  11. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Pertinent post, good observation.
  12. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    "notch below" likewise I'd give it a 9/10.
  13. GubGub

    GubGub Forum Resident

    Funnily enough I gave this a spin over the weekend, partly because I had just been reading about it in the Recording Sessions book and partly because, in the light of that, I realised that I can barely ever remember anything from it. Instinctively I don't regard it as a favourite and playing it again confirmed that.

    I know we are not supposed to comment on the sound but I just really dislike the production on this one. The vocals are way too upfront and the whole thing just sounds a bit clunky to me. There are 3 or 4 cuts that I would elevate to an extended Best of Macca playlist (I am in the pro Only Mama Knows camp) and once again the bonus tracks are often more interesting that the core album (much like the B sides from Chaos). The rest of it just does not stick. I listened to it 3 days ago and I can't remember it.

    I would have voted somewhere between Not bad and Lower Tier if possible but on balance it has to be the latter.
  14. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    It has some amazing moments that are on par with some of his best post-Beatles work, alongside some truly dreadful songs.
    botley likes this.
  15. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    "Dance Tonight" is a fun track; he played it live when I saw him and it was great, with Abe clowning around while holding the kick drum down. "Only Mama Knows" is also great on Good Evening New York City. "You Tell Me" is amazing. The second half of the record kind of falls apart, although "That Was Me" is a really good one. I'm not familiar with the bonus tracks/B-sides enough to comment, but it sounds like the production and sequencing of the album sunk it.
  16. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    Low tier. I like "Vintage Clothes", "Mr Bellamy" and "Dance Tonight". Didn't care for much else. Ear-bleeding mastering didn't help.
  17. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Scranton, PA
    Great songs that were brickwalled.
    theMess likes this.
  18. Chris from Chicago

    Chris from Chicago Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes

    Although this album starts off rather slowly (even comes off as light hearted, at first) right around Only Mama knows I notice a vibe begins. And it's a good one. I like this album a lot. It probably serves as the polar opposite to its predecessor, Chaos. While maybe not as consistent, it has higher highs but lower lows. Another way this album is different from Chaos, it is fun. And it sounds like Paul actually enjoyed making it.

    I also think this album should have ended with End of the End rather than Nod Your Head.
  19. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    It's good, but patchy. I do recall Dance Tonight getting a lot of airplay on Radio 2. Liked Mr Bellamy, which had a Pretty Little Head vibe about it to me! Much preferred Chaos & Creation and New as albums, though. As many have said, it's a horrible sounding CD. I'm not as sensitive to compression and brick walling as some, but that thing is deafening.
    theMess likes this.
  20. LandHorses

    LandHorses Forum Resident

    New Joisey
    Lower tier.....it's my least favorite of all his later period albums - well below Flaming Pie, Chaos, Electric Arguments, and New.

    It's not just the album quality......I didn't like most of the songs beyond "Dance Tonight" or "End of the End". I'm glad he dropped "Only Mama Knows" from the setlist after 2009.
    ConnieGuitar likes this.
  21. agaraffa

    agaraffa Forum Resident

    Raleigh, NC
    I voted Lower-tier. It may be better than that, but none of the songs really hit me on the first few listens, and being that the mastering is so bad, I never listened to it again.
  22. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA
    Definitely my favorite among his post-Flowers In The Dirt records, despite strong competition from Flaming Pie and New. It's probably Paul at his most lyrically bold and engaging, and the music is fine, if less hooky than I'd like.

    I voted "A Pretty Solid Effort - Worth Recommending," as it's most assuredly that. Even non-Paul fans might like it if they give it a chance.
  23. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Paul has not released a bad album since the wonderful Flaming Pie. But, among good and great albums, I think the best are Memory & Chaos. And like Chris (above) I tend to think of Memory as linked to Chaos (it's sort of the light & dark of McCartney). I also agree that it's impact is far lessened by including Nod Your Head as closer. End Of The End may be the most powerful song Paul has written in decades & it is undermined by Nod. Nod would make a really fun b-side along the lines of Oh Woman Oh Why - it does not belong on the album. The rest of the album is solid, but the "medley" at the end is superb. Some of the best stuff he's done.

    I voted "essential". It is in my top 5.
  24. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    I'll defend the placement of "Nod Your Head", as I think it acts as a nice little "piss-take" after the solemnity of "End of the End". Macca may've thought finishing the album with "End" was a bit too on the nose and wanted to undercut the potential pretentious feel.

    And I like it! :)
  25. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    If not for the mastering, I'd consider it one of his best. But the brickwalling makes it almost unlistenable.
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