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Friday, May 5, 2017

Paul McCartney - "Chaos and Creation in The Backyard" CD, Album, 2005 (Capital Records)


It was a moment of curiosity that I discovered Paul McCartney's 2005 solo album "Chaos and Creation in The Backyard."   The Paul albums that I loved were "McCartney," "Ram," and Wings' "Wild Life."  Also the hugely underrated Mike McGear album "McGear" is very much the lost great Paul work as well, since he co-wrote and produced his brother's album. The rest, at least for me, was pure wallpaper music.  "Silly Love Songs" became the first thing I thought of when the two words 'Paul" and "McCartney" came together.  Not a good connection.   So the moment of curiosity came I think due to the photograph of Paul taken by his brother Mike, that's the front cover of "Chaos and Creation in The Backyard.  Also the fact that Nigel Godrich, of Radiohead fame, produced the album.  

The album is a Paul masterpiece.   All instruments by the ex-Wing man and there is a focus on the whole LP that is direct and consistent.  At the time I believe there was trouble in Paul's personal life, and the sadness on the record conveys him in a blue mood.  I have read that "Chaos and Creation" is not his favorite album.  I think due to the relationship between him and Godrich.   In theory, Paul is very much a collaborative artist, and if there isn't someone out there challenging him to do better, he will come up with "Silly Love Songs."  I think Godrich aggressively kept McCartney on track, and made him come up with better lyrics and sonically do things that one is reminded of the early Paul solo albums. 

The songs on this album show why Paul is a great songwriter and performer.  One notices the age effect on his vocals, but it's all good for the material on hand here.  Even the Twee song "English Tea" is superb, because, in truth, Paul loves twee - but he was having a hard time distinguishing from good twee from (very) bad twee.   There are touches of McCartney going through his emotions that in hindsight probably made him feel uncomfortable.  Still, with the assistance of Godrich, and McCartney doing all the instruments and voices, this is an excellent album from an aging (in a good way) artist.  If haven't already, Paul and Beatle fans should re-check this album out.