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BGLeduc
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Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation

Lots of anticipation for this one at certain other sites, but I was not really expecting anything great, not having purchased a new Macca LP since...well, never I guess, although I do have a recently purchased Ram and Band on the Run in the collection.

But then I started reading all kinds of positive reviews, and they all seemed to say that this was among Paul's best solo work...EVER. Now, for me, critical acclaim for a pop record is normally like Kryptonite. The louder the critical buzz, the less I like the band (for reference, see early releases by the White Stripes).

OK. Enough of my blathering. This is an incredible CD. If you are looking for a rocking record, this ain't it, but it is some of the nicest, most well recorded music I have heard in a long, long time.

Its sonics will not be confused with a new Steely Dan release, but while those records can sound almost too perfect and in fact, antiseptic, Macca's work here sounds as close to analog is I can imagine coming from a CD.

It sounds dynamic, and not at all bright, harsh, or compressed. Someone will probably publish a wave form putting the lie to all that, but in my room, my gear, my ears, its probably one of the best sounding pop releases I have heard in a long, long while.

Paul is in great voice, and his vocals are mixed upfront, dead center, and with very little if any processing. No lie; sitting dead nuts in the sweet spot, it sounds like Paul is in the room. Incredible sound.

I am not sure that there is any really new musical ground here, and there are a few echos to tunes from Paul's days with that other band he played in during the 60's(!), but I can forgive all that. Actually, what this music most reminds my of is if you took Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "Summerteeth", put them in a blender with Beck's "Sea Change", made it a little poppier, and had Paul handle the vocals.

One tip: After the last track plays, resist the temptation to stop the disc. About 20 seconds later begins what I guess are 3 studio out takes. The first is not that great, but the 2nd is a really cool sounding piano track, and last is some ambient noise that brings to mind some of the sonic mayhem in "A Day in the Life" mixed with "Tomorrow Never Knows" channelled through Wilco.

Putting all that aside, if this CD does not clean-up at the Grammies next year, I will be shocked. And given Stereophile's affection for "Let It Be Naked" I don't think its a stretch to nominate this release for a future "Recording of the Month".

Brian

mrlowry
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Re: Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation

So you want to know what I think of Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard." Here goes. "How Kind Of You" or a distressed guinea pig Paul Mccartney has shut in a small cardboard box? You decide, I'm not playing it again. You've probably guessed that I don't like Paul Mccartney very much. It's due to being assaulted by things like the last gasp of a boiling lobster, or "Jenny Wren" as it is known on the back of CD. To be honest, it's been a long time since I've heard an album quite this bad. I do this for a living, and you won't believe the shit you get sent as the 'Next Big Thing'. Take track four, "At The Mercy" for example - if I'd wanted a recording of a troupe of clowns honking away in their clown car going around and around the circus ring with no hope of ever stopping I'd have asked for it. Take it away and put it out of its misery. Please.

It is difficult to stop yourself from throwing a brick at your CD player when tosh like a track like "Friends To Go" comes out of it on a regular basis. We should ban things like "Too Much Rain" from ever being played on public radio. Oh? We have? Well, I'm starting a campaign to ban it from being played in private too. Oh my god. I've clearly missed the whole point of this album - until you listen to "Riding To Vanity Fair" you've no idea that the sound of nails being slowly drawn down a blackboard by the Marquis De Sade is what Paul Mccartney was trying to create all along.

In fact, I wish Paul Mccartney had never been born.

Just kidding, put the gun away. That was randomly generated by this site, http://www.chthonicionic.net/bile/ What did I really think of McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard?" Well in short I liked it quite a bit. The problem with most McCartney albums is that he is such a talented song writer completely surrounded by yes men that he rarely stretches his creative muscle much anymore. No one has the guts to tell him that something utterly sucks, after all he is Sir Paul McCartney for God sakes. He can come up with a brilliant melody and some clever chord changes over lunch and by the time the checks arrived he's written some passable lyrics on a ketchup stained napkin. When he gets back to the studio the yes men fall all over each other to be the first to tell him how great it is. I guess that being a former Beatle has that effect on people. The new album is different. The producer insisted on the banishment of McCartney's gang of yes men from the studio, and it shows. McCartney plays many of the instruments himself giving the whole album a personal, almost intimate feel. The album has a melancholy to it that really is very refreshing. It also sounds more organic and less slick than his recent works which makes you pay more attention to the songs, not the production.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation

You're a pretty persuasive guy, Brian. When our copy of "Chaos and Creation..." arrived I played it through straight away and found it more than a little disappointing. So did my wife. I didn't throw the disc away, as I have with some disappointments, but filed it away asssuming I'd probably never play it again but might run into someone who'd want it. You've convinced me to give it another listen when I'm in a particularly tolerant mood. If I come to agree with you, I'll let you and the others here know. If, after another shot, I still think it was as big a mistake as Heather I'll keep my opinion to myself.

I am, however, looking forward with great anticipation to "Ecce Cor Meum". There's no doubt that Sir Paul is a great songwriter and the "Working Classical" showed some promise that I hope is fulfilled in this long awaited major tribute to Linda.

The man must have literally gone crazy. How anyone who had had what he did with Linda could have.......? Oh well, I can still smile and listen to all the great stuff he created and hope that there is more to come.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation - OK, so I lied.

OK, Brian, I gave "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard" another listen and I'll give you this, the package contained the ingredients for what might have been a satisfying performance of some good simple sad songs. There's nothing at all wrong with a good simple sad song, or several of them for that matter. Willie Nelson doing "Danny Boy" is an example, James Taylor's "Hey Mister That's Me up on the Jukebox", Sinatra's "September Song", Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" and whatever others you'd like to add. Paul certainly might have produced an album which consisted of a number of good sad songs delivered well. Instead, he produced a collection of what turned ou to be depressing songs delivered in a distinctly lackluster fashion. The fault, in my opinion, came out of the production rather than any lack of talent on his part or any substantial lack of overall quality in the songs themselves.

I'm a little older than Sir Paul, and his music has been part of my life in all of its incarnations. I also have clear recollections of Les Paul and Mary Ford who were the first I know of to make a commercial success out of the overdubbing game - hey, they were pioneers and there's no accounting for taste. I knew that would be part of this album, because I'd seen the little documentary Paul did demonstrating his games with the Les Paul approach augmented by better technology. For some reason, I thought he could do a better job with it. He did not.

True, lots of Paul's work has benefitted from great production skills and lots of clever stuff with tape machines, but, while they had a great and intimate relationship, Paul is no George Martin.

Had Paul taken these same songs and sat at the piano or held his guitar and sung them shouldering the responsibility to sell their meaning and their messages, I'm sure he could have pulled it off in fine fashion. Instead, he became enamored, I think, with the multi-tracking gimmick, and in the business of doing so many of the parts, left his own soul behind. The result had no gut, no heart, no intensity. It was just a series of depressing recitations. I'm sorry he did it, and I'll bet he is too.

Don't get me started on how these lyrics might relate to his two mates and his two marriages or the time in between. The man is a creative genius, entitled to his share of weaknesses, and entitled to act out his grief and to make some public mistakes without significantly tarnishing the body of great work he gave to all of us.

In my earlier post, I said that if my reaction to a replay was negative, I'd keep it to myself. Obviously, that was a lie. I didn't intend to do that, it just worked out that way. My apologies.

BGLeduc
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Re: Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation - OK, so I lied.

No problems here Clay. That is why they sell chocolate AND vanilla ice cream.

I have to say that I was amazed that folks are commenting on something I wrote 14 months ago, but thats cool. Reviews of this one at Steve Hoffman's forum were pretty polarized as well. Lots of positives, some middle of the road, and some folks absolutley HATED it.

I have not played C&C for a bit...time to give it another spin.

I have been listenning to Beck's "The Information", and have come around to really liking the production values that Nigel Godrich seems to infuse on recordings he produces. I really liked "Sea Change" too.

Maybe thats why I like C&C so much. I have not really tried to analyze what Macca is saying. I just sit back and enjoy the tunes, and for whatever reason, the sound of this recording seems to work well with my rig, my room, my ears....

Cheers.

Brian

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