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POLL: How do you rate Paul McCartney's "Pipes of Peace" album?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, Aug 25, 2014.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boise, ID.
    Time to evaluate another McCartney album. Round 10 in an ongoing series, spread out a couple weeks between albums (to show a modicum of mercy to those sick of Beatle-related threads). This time the arrow points to an 80s release!

    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 291 votes, with a weighted average of 3.62 (edging slightly towards "solid effort").
    The "Back To The Egg" album poll. 233 votes, also with a nearly identical (!) weighted average of 3.61.
    The "Wild Life" album poll. 281 votes, with a weighted average of 2.87 (just below "not bad").
    The "Driving Rain" album poll. 238 votes, with a weighted average of 2.79.
    The "Flowers in the Dirt" album poll. 236 votes, with a weighted average of 3.71.
    The "Flaming Pie" album poll. 262 votes, with a remarkably favorable weighted average of 4.17 (!).
    The "McCartney II" album poll. 191 votes, with a weighted average of 3.14.
    The "Red Rose Speedway" album poll. 146 votes, with a weighted average of 3.43.
    The "Memory Almost Full" album poll. 163 votes, with a weighted average of 3.32.

    Suggestions are always welcome for the next entry in the series. Thanks to all those who continue to take place in the voting!
     
    theMess likes this.
  2. moople72

    moople72 Forum Resident

    Location:
    KC
    Reheated leftovers from Tug of War.
    A low-point.
    With the next album being absolute bottom.
     
    john lennonist and JimC like this.
  3. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boise, ID.
    Just curious, by "next album" are you meaning Broad Street or Press to Play?
     
  4. helter

    helter Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    For bottom feeders only
     
  5. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

  6. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    I always liked it. I know Tug Of War is better, but POP was probably a more successful album here producing 2 huge hits in the title track and Say Say Say. 3 if you count We All Stand Together which was added to the 1993 remaster as a bonus track.

    I'm fond of The Man and So Bad too. In fact, all side one is very good. Nice, mellow, warm sounding album.
     
  7. dylankicks

    dylankicks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oshkosh, WI
    I haven't had any desire to listen to it in a long time and I have certainly heard it enough to rate it "low tier." It was a disappointment after the excellent "Tug Of War." Tracks I like include: title track, Sweetest Little Show, and Through Our Love. Always hated So Bad and I think Say, Say, Say is decent; nowhere near the embarrassment that The Girl Is Mine was.
     
  8. D+

    Very weak effort--a couple of songs are decent but its clear that McCartney had used the best material for Tug of War. It's a pretty bad album IMHO.
     
  9. anthontherun

    anthontherun Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    If I'm being honest, in the context of all the music I've ever listened to, I wouldn't classify any of Paul's albums as worse than "pretty solid." Even the worst of the bunch (Press to Play if you ask me) is at least 60-70% worth listening to/recommending, and that's not me being a fanboy; it's the simple fact that the guy has an unparalleled gift for writing great pop melodies. As I look at the tracklist, there are 7 or 8 of 11 tracks on Pipes of Peace that I genuinely enjoy listening to (I have to be in the right mood for that falsetto on "So Bad")...but relative to his other releases, this is definitely lower-tier McCartney, in that, if I was stuck on a deserted island with no chance of escape and only had a limited amount of space on my MP3 player, I would probably be able to get by with just the title track and "Sweetest Little Show" for the rest of my life (though I'd really want to squeeze in "Keep Under Cover" and the unjustly-maligned "The Man" if I could).
     
  10. HeavensAbove

    HeavensAbove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    I voted "Pretty Solid Effort." Though POP has some pretty horrible filler tracks, it also has a quite a few personal faves on it to warrant repeated listens, IMO. Standout tracks for me are:

    The Good
    Pipes of Peace
    Say Say Say (his best R&B/funk effort, next to What's That You're Doing and Arrow Through Me)
    Keep Under Cover
    So Bad
    The Man
    Sweetest Little Show
    Through Our Love (one of his very best ballads)

    The Others
    The Other Me
    Average Person

    Filler
    Hey Hey
    Tug of Peace

    Replacing the lesser 4 tracks with some b-sides from the era (1982-1983) would make PoP a pretty fantastic album, if you're into 80's Macca:
    Rainclouds
    Ode To a Koala Bear
    I'll Give You A Ring

    (I enjoy PoP far more than Electric Arguments, an album that has received widespread acclaim.)
     
    Shak Cohen, Ryan Lux and fallbreaks like this.
  11. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    "Filler" is one of the most over-utilized terms on this forum. But if you look it up in the dictionary there's a picture of "Hey Hey" next to a picture of "Tug Of Peace".
     
  12. HeavensAbove

    HeavensAbove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    Yes...and quite perverse that they're immediate neighbors on the album.
     
    theMess likes this.
  13. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I think that this album suffers for three main reasons: it was the follow up to the diverse and substantial popular success that was Tug Of War, it was made up of songs left over from the Tug sessions and finally because much of the album has a light R&B/Soul sound.

    I imagine that no matter what Paul had released as a follow up to Tug, it would have suffered simply because it was the follow up. Tug of War was well received, partly because of the goodwill caused by John's death, and partly because it was his first ever solo album without Wings and where Paul was not a 'one-man-band', that almost any potential follow up would not be reviewed as well, especially not by a music press that had savaged much of his work after leaving the Beatles. Even much of the praise for Tug of War came at the expense of the rest of his solo/Wings work, so Pipes was always going to suffer in certain critical circles.

    Tug of War was also originally going to be a double-album, before the idea was scrapped, as Paul explains here: ''Record companies don’t like double albums — they panic,” he explained. “So we said we’d split it into two albums — ‘Tug of War 1′ and ‘Tug of War 2,’ but that became a boring idea''.
    So I think that in some ways it is certainly true to say that much of the best material and most of the material with 'gravitas' was included on Tug Of War, simply because Paul needed a strong statement album after the disbandment of Wings and death of John. Pipes of Peace does look quite sappy, ballad heavy and light in comparison.

    As for the R&B/Soul influences; they left Paul in quite a no man's land. He was never really going to appeal much to the R&B audience apart from his Michael duets, and at the same time, the fans of his rock work would see the album as having too much R&B/Soul. Michael Jackson was also a big problem for many of Paul's fans; I personally enjoy both Say Say Say and The Man, but many fans of Paul's more rocking work do not.

    Despite all this, the album was a commercial success, but this unfortunately backfired in some ways, making Paul seem too 'pop' and making it look like Paul was riding off of Jackson in some ways.

    Although I understand all of the above problems, I do not dislike the album as many here do. I think that Say Say Say was a deserved smash hit, and showed that Paul could write dance-pop, and I also agree with Dave Grohl that the title track (a deserved UK hit) is a wonderful ballad with a nice message.

    So Bad was deservedly a top 30 hit IMO, showing off Paul's strong falsetto work. I also very much enjoy the extremely catchy The Man, and the beautiful ode to Linda that is Through Our Love. Keep Under Cover is another strong song, with a lovely 60's R&B sound.

    I enjoy parts of the other songs on the album; from the catchy melody of The Other Me to the 50's styled Sweetest Little Show, but I feel that they are let down by the production choices, which is surprising considering that George Martin was at the helm. This is confirmed IMO if you listen to the demo version of Sweetest Little Show, which is far superior because it doesn't sound as 'finished'.
    The song Average Person is one that I would really like, had Paul left off what I find to be the incredibly annoying 'na na na' parts.

    This leaves us with just Hey Hey, which is a pointless throwaway bass-playing exercise IMO and Tug of Peace, the less I say of which the better.

    I feel that the album would have been far stronger had Paul not worked on it at the same time as the Broadstreet project, which left Paul spreading his talents too thinly. Had he ditched that project (or at least post-poned it), he could have added some rock to Pipes with the inclusion of the power-pop gems that are No Values and Not Such A Bad Boy, he could have added another big hit with the lovely No More Lonely Nights.

    These songs would have greatly improved the album, as would the inclusion of the beautiful ballad 'Twice In A Lifetime', the catchy and infectious B-Side Ode To A Koala Bear, the New Wave sounding 'Give Us A Chord, Roy' and a solo version of the brilliant Beatlesque 'On The Wings Of A Nightingale'.

    The above songs are frustrating, because they show that Paul did have enough material to add more substance and consistency to the album, had he chosen to do so. The was no reason why the 3 original songs from Broadstreet could not have been released on Pipes and then performed in the film, as he did with So Bad and Wanderlust.

    Overall I would rate this album a pretty solid effort, because I do enjoy half of it very much. The songs that I like are either dance-pop or Soul ballads, but I don't see why this should be a bad thing; I have always admired Paul for his songwriting diversity. I understand that the album lacks substance and that it is not a rocking album, but I don't see why it is slated as much as it is.

    Here is my playlist for anyone interested:

    Pipes Of Peace
    Say Say Say
    Keep Under Cover
    Ode To A Koala Bear
    So Bad
    No Values
    The Man
    Give Us A Chord, Roy
    Twice In A Lifetime
    On The Wings Of A Nightingale
    No More Lonely Nights
    Not Such A Bad Boy
    Through Our Love

    Rainclouds and I'll Give You A Ring could also easily have been added.
     
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  14. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    As my comment shows, I could not agree with you more.
     
  15. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Yep, that's my vote also. There are a couple of good songs on Pipes Of Peace. I do think it's lower tier though, above Give My Regards To Broad Street, which is the nadir of Paul's album career, again...IMO.
     
  16. Hokeyboy

    Hokeyboy Nudnik of Dinobots

    Terrible, terrible album. Such a shame, after Tug Of War.
     
  17. 905

    905 Senior Member

    Location:
    St. Louis
    Not bad, and better than people give it credit for. Still, I'd give it a letter grade of C.
     
  18. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    It's So Bad
     
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  19. zen

    zen Senior Member

    How do I say this nicely?












    :idea: ....The last Paul McCartney album anyone should own.
     
  20. DrBeatle

    DrBeatle The Rock and Roll Chemist

    Location:
    Midwest via Boston
    I voted for lower tier...it's quite shocking how bad this was coming right after Tug of War, especially considering that much of it was leftover from those sessions.
     
  21. DrBeatle

    DrBeatle The Rock and Roll Chemist

    Location:
    Midwest via Boston
    You must not have heard anything from Flaming Pie onward?
     
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  22. zen

    zen Senior Member

    I have.
     
  23. Chris from Chicago

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

    First, thanks MrJinks, I like these threads.

    I am one of those that can not only find at least some good moments on every Paul album, but someone that can find good moments on most Paul songs. This album, tests my resolve greatly. I like Keep Undercover quite a bit. And I like So Bad (great bass, as usual). As well as the title track. But not much more interests me. I don't think the much superior Tug of War is the reason this looked so bad by comparison. I think this stinks completely on its own merit. And it is the one Paul album I am sort of embarrassed I own. Haven't given it a spin in decades.
     
    autodidact likes this.
  24. autodidact

    autodidact Forum Resident

    I have to disagree here. It's the songs. If Paul had waited a bit longer, until he had written and recorded stronger material, it could have held its own with TOW. There are many follow ups to successful albums that were as big or bigger successes, critically and commercially, because they upheld quality standards. POP was a major drop off in quality. Honestly, I haven't listened to it in 20 years and have no desire to hear it again.
     
    Nick Dunning likes this.
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