REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/05/2007
With each passing month, the hype and praise heaped on the Beatles must have been a crushing burden -- free of that, Paul probably needed to just coast for a while and make relaxing music that reflected his shifting priorities in life. He knew he would never live up to the Beatles' best work, no matter how hard he tried. So he seemed content to live his life with his new wife, his child, a yen to travel and have some fun making music again, since those final Beatles sessions from 1968 on seemed anything but fun.
McCartney took care of his remaining Beatleera commitments with his eponymous debut -- "Teddy Boy" and "Junk" were White Album rejects and "Maybe I'm Amazed" was better than most of Let It Be -- freeing him up to start over on Ram. To help his transition into this next phase, Paul enlisted the help of his wife Linda, making Ram the only disc credited to both parties.
Much like its predecessor, Ram is a loose, ramshackle collection of fun, albeit far more complete than the snippets and half-finished ideas of McCartney. The album also continues a trend that would appear on pretty much every solo album from here on out -- one stunning slower song, one multi-part suite with goofy lyrics, one hardcore rocker and several lesser-quality versions of these three themes.
Here, in order, they are "Back Seat Of My Car," "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" and "Smile Away." The first of those is somewhat of an epic pop album closer, a soaring ballad that is among Paul's finest, while "Smile Away" turns up the guitar crunch, adds some shoo be do wops and has a great time.
"Uncle Albert" wastes its various short suites on meaningless lyrics sung with the utmost enunciation; the song is truly pointless and kinda fun. It takes talent to write something so catchy, so complicated and yet so dumb.
More hard rock (for Paul, anyway) appears in "Monkberry Moon Delight" and "Too Many People." The former is just noise for noise's sake, since the lyrics have no point, but it sounds cool. The latter is both a social statement and a gentle jab at John Lennon and Yoko's frequent bed-ins, press statements and the like ("Too many people preaching practices").
As with most Paul, there is a decent amount of half-baked filler, like "Eat At Home" and "Ram On," while "Heart Of The Country" isn't as good as it should be. "Long Haired Lady" also drags and "3 Legs" is just sort of there. It fits the spirit of the album but is hardly meaningful or memorable; even disregarding Paul's pedigree, this is still disappointing.
For Paul's work post-Beatles, this has enough charms to make it worth the occasional spin, but it's not likely one you need return to very often.