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POLL: How do you rate Paul McCartney's "Tug of War" album?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, Feb 17, 2015.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Album poll #20 (of 25) for Paul's post-Beatle albums!

    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 may 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 how the others have rated so far:
    The "New" poll. 382 votes, with an average rating of 3.65 (edging slightly towards "solid effort").
    The "Back To The Egg" poll. 310 votes, with a nearly identical (!) average rating of 3.66.
    The "Wild Life" poll. 377 votes, with an average rating of 2.90 (just below "not bad").
    The "Driving Rain" poll. 296 votes, with an average rating of 2.77.
    The "Flowers in the Dirt" poll. 338 votes, with an average rating of 3.75.
    The "Flaming Pie" poll. 337 votes, with a very favorable average rating of 4.12.
    The "McCartney II" poll. 270 votes, with an average ratingof 3.13.
    The "Red Rose Speedway" poll. 300 votes, with an average rating of 3.33.
    The "Memory Almost Full" poll. 224 votes, with an average rating of 3.37.
    The "Pipes of Peace" poll. 230 votes, with the lowest average rating to date of 2.47.
    The "Band on the Run" poll. 405 votes, with the highest average rating of 4.63 (!!).
    The "Give My Regards to Broad Street" poll. 217 votes, with an average rating of 2.56.
    The "McCartney" poll. 329 votes, with an average rating of 4.01.
    The "At The Speed Of Sound" poll. 331 votes, with an average rating of 3.14.
    The "CHOBA B CCCP" poll. 173 votes, with an average rating of 3.02.
    The "London Town" poll. 206 votes, with an average rating of 3.25.
    The "Kisses on the Bottom" poll. 194 votes, with an average rating of 2.54.
    The "Off The Ground" poll. 234 votes, with an average rating of 2.91.
    The "Run Devil Run" poll. 128 votes, with an average rating of 3.71.

    Thanks to all those who continue to take place in the voting!

    For those who question/dislike the poll choices, I take full blame. My fullest attempt to explain the "logic" behind the rating options is explained here.
    theMess likes this.
  2. erocky

    erocky Forum Resident

    Really good. Not quite a masterpiece as side two gets a little to mellow with the adult Cont. sound but it is a really good album. The song Tug of War is incredible. Take it Away is pure pop heaven. Here Today could be on Revolver.
  3. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    I played it to death when it came out and it remains one of my favorites. The title cut, "Somebody Who Cares", and "Wanderlust" are standouts.
    gja586, LynnH, theMess and 1 other person like this.
  4. WolfSpear

    WolfSpear Music Enthusiast

    I'll say it's his best solo effort of the 1980's and one of his best overall.

    Sure, side 2 has some weak moments but side 1 is really strong.
    Mooserfan likes this.
  5. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Definitely my favorite album credited to him solo (ie: not Wings or with Linda).
  6. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Surrey BC.
    I remember it being really big at the time, I would imagine this was the first solo Beatles album released after Lennon's murder and that had put everything Beatle under the spotlight again. I know Ebony and Ivory gets a lot of flak, but it was a very popular song at the time, getting to number one. I preferred the other singles but still have all three 7"s. I have never actually bought the album, but have heard it. I am not sure why I never bought it, must have just been lack of funds at the time. At this time McCartney was really back in the limelight, I remember he appeared on Parkinson and also on Dessert Island Discs around this time. The reunion with George Martin was a big thing as was the Lennon tribute.
  7. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Actually, both George (Somewhere in England) and Ringo (Stop & Smell the Roses) had 1981 solo albums that preceded Tug of War in 1982.
    theMess likes this.
  8. Hokeyboy

    Hokeyboy Nudnik of Dinobots

    Pretty solid effort - worth recommending. One of my favorite Macca albums, although it's not quite perfect (I don't particularly care for Rockabilly, and the chintzy horns at the end of 'Take It Away' mar what is otherwise a fantastic pop tune).
  9. Chris from Chicago

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

    In spite of the syrupy Ebony and Ivory, I love this album. It features the finest three consecutive song Paul has offered, in my humble 'o. Ballroom Dancing, The Pound is Sinking (the best middle eight from the middle eight master), and Wanderlust.

    Paul seems to respond to tragedy well with his music. And he responded astoundingly well with this album after John's death.
    LynnH, johnny q, theMess and 2 others like this.
  10. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Surrey BC.
    Ah right, mind playing tricks on me again. :)
    mrjinks likes this.
  11. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    theMess likes this.
  12. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Ohio, USA
    The bridge of "Tug of War" ("In years to come...") is one of my favorite moments in any Paul song.
  13. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    Option one. This was my first McCartney album and I've always loved it. Yes, the quality falls away a little on Side 2, but there are some great songs here. For me, Take It Away is the best song overall. Paul at his most majestic. The beautiful Lennon tribute, Here Today, is phenomenal, as is Wanderlust.

    I'd recommend this to any budding McCartney fan as a starting point. It certainly worked for me. Had I bought McCartney II first, I might not be here on this forum singing his praises today!

    Beautiful production. Wonderful range of songs. Even the sleeve artwork is excellent. The only way this album could be improved upon is with the ( hopefully) stunning upcoming Archive re-release!
    theMess, RickH, Bemagnus and 2 others like this.
  14. jgkojak

    jgkojak Mull of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS
    It is good within the context of being the most solid record Macca had released since Venus and Mars.... to be followed by another 8 years before another solid effort in Flowers... then 8 years until Flaming Pie... and... 8 years until Chaos and Creation...


    5 songs that, had they taken the Milk and Honey songs and done a Beatle reunion album, would have fit in quite nicely-
    Tug of War, Take It Away, Here Today, The Pound is Sinking, Wanderlust

    All in the upper tier of solo McCartney. In this the album it mostly resembles is Flaming Pie - that cream of the crop is REALLY REALLY good.

    After that -

    Some pleasant filler: Someone Who Cares, Get It, Ballroom Dancing (which would work better as a Ringo song), Dress Me Up As a Robber

    One WTF moment: What's That You're Doing?

    And Ebony and Ivory

    As good as you could hope for from Paul, and it did mark a return to him sounding like a Beatle again.
  15. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    Not bad.

    Plenty of the usual throwaways
  16. major_works

    major_works This is my Custom Title

    Ramsey, NJ, USA
    Loved it when it came out, I felt like he'd finally gotten his songwriting chops in order. I rated it "strong effort." I don't consider it a masterpiece in any sense, really, in that it hasn't aged particularly well for me. I do play it once in a great while and when I do, I find things that grate on me a little. It's got a real 80s vibe going on, for one thing. For another, although there are some very good tunes on it, it somehow felt like he was trying a little too hard to reclaim the "great songwriter" mantle. There's a self-conscious feel about a lot of the album.
  17. andy75

    andy75 Forum Resident

    One of his finest moments on record. Great from start to finnish! Essential.
    theMess likes this.
  18. Bemagnus

    Bemagnus Music is fun

    I love this album. Imo it s a masterpiece of sonwriting craft, arranging craft and production craft. It s one of an handful Paul albums where everything seems to have landed perfekt.
    With that said- the album has flaws-the jam with Stevie Wonder drags on a bit for instance. Ebony and Ivory is song so much ridiculed that one has a hard time liking it. But I do- a great melody and I never understood what s so wrong bout the message of the song.
    But the good, great stuff overweight the others. The title track and Take it away are pure pop heaven, Wanderlust and Here today two of Pauls finest ballads- period. The pound is sinking - a meddle worthy of Abbey Road.
    All in all- one of the albums I always play to play for people who claim Paul has done nothing but crap since the Beatles. It has always turned out well- they have loved it,
    Just one of those rare albums where most everything seems to work- even the lesser stuff
    LynnH, theMess and Skywheel like this.
  19. Digital-G

    Digital-G Forum Resident

    Dayton, OH
    I don't really mind these polls and I've even participated in quite a few of them, but I've gotta say something. Your wording of the poll choices leaves something to be desired. Item 1 for example - if it's clearly one of his best works, shouldn't it be essential listening for everyone? I mean "essential listening for Paul fans" should go with item 3, 4 or 5. Right? I would imagine if you're a Paul fan that ALL of his albums would be essential listening (even if you don't ultimately love ALL of them).

    And item 3. That should be middle of the pack and shouldn't say something like "but plenty of the usual throwaways". Again, a comment like this should be with items 4 or 5. And is it just me or does "plenty of the usual throwaways" have a negative connotation to it?

    I would have commented on one of the earlier polls, but I didn't realize at the time that this would be an on-going 'series' lasting for months or even years.

    I really do understand what the intent was, I just wish the wording had been thought through a bit more. I feel conflicted when I make some of my choices in these polls due to the wording.

    1. Clearly one of his best works - essential listening for Paul fans
    2. A pretty solid effort - worth recommending
    3. Not bad - some good/great tracks, but plenty of the usual throwaways
    4. Lower-tier McCartney - only a couple songs worth revisiting
    5. Clearly one of his worst - avoid at all costs
  20. veejaycollector

    veejaycollector Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Essential McCartney. Tug of War, Wanderlust and Carl Perkin's laugh at the end of Get It alone make it required listening for everyone! :agree:
    theMess likes this.
  21. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Understood. Just curious, did you read my explanation? It may not be fully satisfactory to you, but it's the best I can come up with...
  22. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    For me, this is the one solo Paul McCartney record that displayed effort expended at his Beatle-like level. It doesn't all work but at least he was trying.
  23. Digital-G

    Digital-G Forum Resident

    Dayton, OH
    I'm not sure if I had caught that before. Thanks for pointing it out. To me it seems like some of the poll options are worded for the 'fans' while others are worded for the 'non-fans'. I now better understand your reasons for the poll choices, but I stand by my view that the wording is somewhat clumsy and confusing. Maybe that's the crux of the matter for me - I'm not sure if I'm voting as a McCartney fan or as a music fan and looking at a broader scale... if that makes sense.

    Re: Tug of War. I thought it was great when it came out. It felt like a "return to form", especially after the it-takes-a-while-to-warm-up-to McCartney II album. I still like it but now feel that all of the duets are the weakest tracks on the album. For me it was his best album of the 1980s, better than Flowers in the Dirt.
  24. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I called it essential. It doesn't rock much, and like most, I can't bear "Ebony & Ivory" (that's a steep drop from "Blackbird" to this), but the melodies are strong and there are a few tracks that rank among his best solo tracks.
  25. HeavensAbove

    HeavensAbove Forum Resident

    One of his very best albums, IMO. An extremely well-paced, expertly produced and performed collection of songs. Right up there with Band On The Run.
    theMess and mmars982 like this.
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