McCartney II

Paul McCartney

Capitol, 1980

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Listening to McCartney II is akin to being a 2007 Phoenix Suns fan; sure, it was entertaining, but given the second round exit was it really worth it?

After a short jail stay in Japan due to a marijuana bust, Paul McCartney essentially went back to square one. His former touring band Wings was, for all intents and purposes, disbanded. His commercial fortunes, while far from being bleak, were not up to Macca’s previous standards. So, with nothing but time on his hands, the former Beatle set about recording my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 McCartney II.

Performance-wise, both of the McCartneys are quite similar. Both feature Paul practically playing all the instruments and having written all the songs. Unfortunately, the similarities also extend to the quality of the music itself.

Sometimes I really have to wonder what could have happened had McCartney actually taken some time between albums and put some genuine thought into what he was creating. Interesting moments occur frequently throughout McCartney II, but nothing approaches the complexity of a “Maybe I’m Amazed” or “Band On The Run.”

Singles must have been few and far between for the record execs in 1980, the only song that could possibly work was what was eventually chosen, “Coming Up.” A nice R&B flavored number, it represents classic McCartney. The lush ballad “Waterfalls” was decidedly too laid back for radio, but its sounds gorgeous today. And to close things out, McCartney elected to play things stripped down with the simple acoustic number “One Of These Days.”

Problem is, half the album works and half of it doesn’t. Because this was 1980, and technology had given the music industry wonders such as the synthesizer, everyone had to use it. So many of the songs on McCartney II, especially the instrumentals (such as “Frozen Jap”), sound horrendously out of date.

Now, I appreciate the approach that McCartney took with this album. It does represent some minor risk taking, since songs like “Temporary Secretary” and the instrumental “Front Parlour” are not what one would deem accessible. However, that does not equate to success. McCartney II is weird and wields plenty of flash on the outside, but on the inside it lacks soul.

Rating: C+

User Rating: B-



© 2007 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.