McCartney, and McCartney II (Hear Music)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 29, 2011
Paul McCartneyMcCartney (Hear Music)
Paul McCartneyMcCartney II (Hear Music)
Following the deluxe reissue last year of 1973's Band on the Run, Paul McCartney sets his sights on two self-titled discs recorded a decade apart. Both are available in a multitude of formats with scads of extra audio and video, including a limited-edition 128-page hardbound book. McCartney, 1970, signaled that the Beatles had indeed broken up. Groundbreaking at the time, its namesake singing and playing all the instruments with occasional harmonies by his wife, Linda, it's best remembered for "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Every Night," and perhaps with good reason. John Lennon, for one, called it "rubbish." That leaves lots of Ringo-like bashing, elementary noodling, and a surprising lack of McCartney's famed melodies. Of the extras, jazzy outtake "Suicide" holds the most interest, while live versions of some of the songs by Wings in a 1979 performance are fun without being essential. Upon Wings' demise, McCartney returned to the idea of performing by himself for 1980's McCartney II. Ten years on, however, what seemed like a novel idea in need of editing, here resulted in synth-heavy New Wave of the era. Another pair of songs remain essential, the bright "Coming Up" and glistening "Waterfalls." Video on M2 is dominated by a revealing interview with songwriter Tim Rice and a wonderfully ragged video for "Wonderful Christmastime."