Nightman Listens To – McCartney Debut (Beatles Solo Series)!

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Greetings, Glancers! It’s safe to say we haven’t got off to a flying start with regards to the quality of the Beatles solo work I’ve heard so far. Experimental guff and Ringo’s ramblings, but surely old faithful Paul will give us a slice of groovy pop rock with his debut? And hey, I even know (and like) one of the songs listed here so it can’t be all bad! I know the album was mostly written and recorded when The Beatles were splitting up and fighting so maybe the music will reflect whatever anguish and torment was being felt. Or maybe it reflects the fresh start Paul needed. Or maybe it’s more of the same sort of ballad and blues based stuff from Let It Be. Who knows? Well, I’m about to….

‘The Lovely Linda’ hand drums of some sort and sweet ‘la la la’ vocals and melodies. Oh, it’s over. An unnecessary laugh at the end there.

‘That Would Be Something’ is led by a neat riff. It’s a little bluesy. The vocals feel distant. Nice introduction of the drums and a funny piece of mouth drumming going. Sounds like he’s experimenting and having fun without being too outlandish or abstract.

‘Valentine Day’ continues the low-fi style. It’s a pretty cool introduction. Unless it’s going to be an instrumental. Still, it’s neat and lean, like a jam or a loose set of ideas waiting to become something else.

‘Every Night’ reminds me of Joni Mitchell. The guitar sound, anyway. It’s very sweet. It’s just as catchy as you would expect. I could see this landing on something like The White Album. A nice surprise. Surprise isn’t the right word, it’s McCartney for Heaven’s sake.

‘Hot As Sun/Glasses’ feels Mediterranean, lazy, Mexican, Greek? I don’t know, something about lazing about on a beach with a drink and zero cares. It’s already better than most of the instrumental stuff on Yellow Submarine. Then it goes all weird and ghostly. Then he sings… something?

‘Junk’ is another sweet one, more sorrowful this time. It ticks the melody box, and it ticks the emotion box, so what more do you need?

‘Man We Was Lonely’ opens in dreamy fashion. Then it goes off in stomping fashion like some of the more dodgy compositions of his final years in The Beatles. It’s similar to those, but maybe this one’s newness means I don’t mind it as much. Catchy too. Feels like one Ringo could have tackled.

‘Oo You’ is very bluesy and mirrors the rock tracks of Abbey Road. Good vocals. It still feels very loose, like he just walked in with a few ideas and started recording. Still good.

‘Momma Miss America’ is, I’m guessing, another instrumental. At least these instrumentals are good – I can see these being hits or becoming hits if vocals were added, unlike what most bands’ instrumentals are like. It gets less dreamy and more groovy as it goes on. Great bass and guitar all around.

‘Teddy Boy’ is another which sounds straight out of The Beatles later catalogue. It’s fine but a bit too close to McCartney’s Music Hall stuff.

‘Singalong Junk’ is a sequel to junk? More piano led. Or an instrumental version. It’s quite lovely too.

‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ is the one song I knew before hearing the album, and as far as I can tell it’s the main (only) one which has survived over time. It does feel like the most complete song, compared to the jam-style nature of most of the others. It has a tighter, more traditional structure, and again wouldn’t feel out of place on Let It Be. 

‘Kreen Akrore’ starts with sporadic drums for about a minute before a jumpscare guitar and piano drops. Then it gets weird – monkey noises and more drums and sounds. It’s the most experimental piece of freestyle on the album, just a few minutes of arsing about and messing with different sounds and styles.

So, that was somewhere middling. It followed the experimentation and avant-garde nature of John and George’s first solo outings, but thankfully these were not as esoteric, coming across more as studio jams than ill-advised freak-outs. Quite a few of the ‘traditional’ songs feel either unfinished or waiting for that little extra touch to make them fully realised – in the traditional sense, but most of those are still perfectly good to listen to thanks to Paul’s ability as a songwriter. There are a few songs here that I didn’t know previously which I plan on listening to again – which is more than I can say for any of the other three boys’ efforts so far. It’s not peak Beatles material, but there are gems.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Every Night. Hot As Sun/Glasses. Junk/Singalong Junk. Oo You. Momma Miss America. Maybe I’m Amazed.

Tell it like it is!

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