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The follow-up to the classic “Band on the Run” has achieved its own cult following amongst die-hard fans, thanks to whimsical tracks like “Magneto & Titanium Man” and “You Gave Me the Answer”, plus “Venus & Mars/ Rock Show” the epic opener that sums up the entire concert-going experience from a fan’s point of view.
Paul made his involvement in “The Fireman” collaboration with producer Youth public with this album, and it’s easy to see why. More than just an electronic experiment, the two play around with sound effects, musical styles, and lyrics, even including a backwards message at the end. The result is a album with scorching rock (“Nothing Too Much, Just Out of Sight”, “Highway”), light pop (“Two Magpies”, “Sing The Changes”), and mind-expanding numbers (“Lovers in a Dream”, “Dance ‘Til We’re High”). Yet all of this surprisingly weaves together as a sort of concept album for the mind. You’ll either really like it or really hate it.
Unique in both lyrics and instrumentation, Ram found the McCartney’s fiddling around in the studio and singing about Uncle Albert and Admiral Halsey, “a piano up” his “nose”, and three-legged animals (or, according to some people, taking thinly-veiled potshots at former bandmates), among other things. It’s all a little bit nutty, but it goes together well.
The kind of album that Grammy voters love, Chaos is only an introduction to where Paul’s music would go in the 2000s. “Fine Line” is beloved by almost everybody and “Jenny Wren” is a critical darling, but the album’s finest points lie in the brooding “Riding to Vanity Fair” (further proving that he’s very good at writing revenge songs) and the celebratory “Promise to You Girl”. Plus, there is the cutesy “English Tea”, a sweetly old-fashioned track that only he could successfully pull off.
“With a Little Luck” became the hit single, but there are many more flavors in this musical melting pot. Ranging from the 1950’s-inspired “Name and Address” to the dreamy pop of “Girlfriend” and the ridiculous yet awesome “Morse Moose and the Grey Goose”, anything goes here. Plus, I can’t say enough about “Deliver Your Children”, a smart, stylish Irish rock-inspired track that Celtic Thunder is probably dying to record.
Too few people know how great a team Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello make. Three of their collaborations are featured here: the bouncy “My Brave Face”, devastating “That Day Is Done”, and the sarcastically witty “You Want Her Too”. An ‘80s pop masterpiece, the rest of the album is mostly lush romance like “We Got Married” and “Distractions”: perfect for those with a crush on McCartney.