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Paul McCartney Solo In Order of My Own Personal Preference


With McCartney playing in Detroit yesterday, and just one day till the end of the “Out There” tour I caught two years ago, I figured I’d take a closer look at solo Paul. I passed on the live albums becomes, come on it’s McCartney, also passed on  classical stuff and The Fireman two albums, just because I can’t read classical well enough and the Youth produced albums were somewhat vanity products… otherwise, McCartney Solo…

Band on the Run (1973) –  The  fulfillment of melodic concepts he’d been toying with since the second side of Abbey Road – A+

Ram (1971) (Paul & Linda McCartney) – If you can get past “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, this is a masterful piece of charming aging with grace album, the gentle joy of married life post-Beatles. Plus the best song you will ever hear from a father to his daughter – A+

McCartney (1970) – At the time it seemed a little on the flimsy side, despite “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Every Night” (or “Teddy Boy” -readied up for the Beatles album that never happened). Today it is a melodic highlight whose lo fi charm can’t hide its prime McCartney melodies – A+

Run Devil Run (1999) (covers album) – Heartbroken over the death of Linda, he returns to the scene of his youth, discovers an epigram in “Lonely Town” and finds solace in songs, including three new ones, all great  – A+

Wild Life (1971) – A melodic highlight, just about every song here is as good as you can imagine it being, “Tomorrow”, “Dear Friend” and “Some People Never Know” are better than that, “Love Is Strange” is an ace cover and “Bip Bop” is the nonsense song he couldn’t repeat – A+

Venus and Mars (1975) – If you disagree I understand, though if you disagree with “Listen to What The Man Said”, I don’t understand. Me? I was 18 years old when it was released and it reminds me of my teen years – A

Choba B CCCP (1988) (covers album) – Whenever McCartney digs into his rock and roll roots, the results are phenomenal -just about perfect covers of Teddy boy Paul’s back pages of heroes. The “20 Flight rock” is epic – A

Flowers in the Dirt (1989) – It’s not perfect, but two of the four Costello co-written tracks are, and so is the song for his son – B+

Flaming Pie (1997) – Paulie remembers the 60s, with more than his fair share iof nostalgia and some pretty great songs here and there, especially “Calico Skies” – B

McCartney II (1980) – Similar concept, new Moog, disco moves as well – B+

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) – I know you think, ok just another McCartney stopgap but, in fact, “English Tea”, “jenny Wren” and a number of others are first rate – B

Memory Almost Full (2007) – A companion piece to chaos but with less good songs – C+

New (2013) – This is a failure but it is a failure on its own strict terms, modern songs, well written, well thought out, passionately performed, but not quite good enough – C+

Tug of War (1982) – At its best, the title track for one, “Ballroom Dancing”, “Wanderlust” it is good second tier Macca. At its worse, the abysmal “Ebony And Ivory, it isn’t good enough. Nice to have George Martin producing, I am sure Lennon was on both their minds  – C+

Pipes of Peace (1983) – This is not his worst album, though “Say Say Say” may well be his worst song, but it is not good. “Tug Of Peace” is a diddly annoyance, “Pipes Of Peace” is less, and when McCartney misses on a big ballad as he does on “Through Our Love” , he sounds like he can’t remember how the song goes – C-

Back to the Egg (1979) – At least it has “Old Siam, Sir” – C-

Off the Ground (1993) – Flowers In The Dirt part II only much worse. “Biker Like An Icon” is up there in the worst McCartney songs ever stakes – C-

London Town (1978) – The most nondescript McCartney of all time. Not one memorable moment, either good or bad.

Red Rose Speedway (1973) – This is minor the way Pipes Of Peace is minor -he can’t get the songs right. Listen to “My Love” and you will see what I mean – C-

Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984) – The soundtrack from the disastrous movie, a rockestra of pros perform hits and misses from the catalog – C-

Press to Play (1986) – Quite why Paul decided tow rite with Eric Stewart of 10cc I have no idea. I mean, surely Graham Gouldman would have been a better choice. It sounds like bad McCartney – C-

Kisses on the Bottom (2012) (covers album) – Natalie deserved better than these lame pre-rock cover versions – D+

Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976) – This isn’t bad because it was released as the UK was reeling from three day work weeks, teenagers faced the prospect of never having a paying job, and the Sex Pistol were changing the face of music… but it didn’t help. Insulated, rich kid, bullshit. “Silly Love Songs” is his worst song ever, it is not merely bad it is also tone deaf to the atmosphere in the country- D-

Driving Rain (2001) – It is to Hayley Mills  what Ram was to Linda Eastman. Plus “Freedom” is maybe the second worse song he has ever written – D-


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