Thursday, January 26, 2006

I remember how it used to be

So I found my mp3 player, finally. It's a usb stick with a whopping 64 megs of memory, so I can get like ten songs on it. At first I filled the fucker up with stuff from the random folder - Dan Fogelberg's Longer, Debbie Gibson's Only in my Dreams, Glen Campbell and the Wichita Lineman,* and so on. The smallness of the drive wasn't that much of a problem, because I do very little driving - mostly it's the five minutes to an from school. But I got bored fast, and swapped out tracks fairly frequently, until I stumbled on the perfect Paul McCartney mix:

Every Night: One of three tracks from McCartney (1970), his immediate post-Beatles record (and a good one). Every night, you see, Paul wants to go out, get out of his head. Ooo ooo ooo. He also wants to be with somebody.

Maybe I'm Amazed: Also from McCartney. Megahit, I'm sure.

Junk: Last of the three McCartney tracks. Paul never really had the lyrical gift that Lennon had, but he could still pump out some really good lyrics from time to time. This is one of those times. "'Buy, buy' says the sign in the shop window, 'Why, why' says the junk in the yard." That's just great. There's a good demo version of this song on Beatles Anthology 3.

Ram On: From Ram (1971). Stephen Thomas Erlewine posits that Paul should be given more credit for being an influence on the lo-fi, home recording aesthetic. This track gives you a flavor of that sort of thing - a very subdued, simple recording of a lovely melodic track. One of two tracks from Ram

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey: The second Ram track. And in no way is it a lo-fi dealie, being instead a wacky medley that's really charming. There's a bootleg recording out there of Lennon screwing around with an acoustic guitar and a bunch of pals in which he busts into a sardonic version of this song, never quite getting the chords right. Though Lennon held it in contempt, I think it's a peach. Alternately dreamy and sing-songy.

Love in Song: From Venus and Mars (1975). Paul never really had the lyrical gift that Lennon had, but he could still pump out some really good lyrics from time to time. This is not one of those times. The chorus is "Happiness in the homeland." Blech. The verses go something like: "love love loving love love loving love", etc. But the song's worth ignoring the lyrics for.

You Gave Me the Answer: Venus and Mars strikes again. Honey Pie like old timey number, very well done. I really like this album. It's thirteen tracks long, and if you chop out like four of those, it's perfect. It has "Rock Show", which was covered on Innocence and Despair: The Langley Schools Music Project.

Listen to What the Man Said: Venus and Mars won't stop! Apparently, what the man says is "doo doo doo doo do doo doo doo."

Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People: Another medley, another VaM. Switches from 4/4 to waltz time.

Jet: From Band on the Run (1973). I swear it's a Krautrock song. Listen to this and then Hallogallo and tell me there aren't similarities. Except, of course, that Paul's song has a reggae opening riff.

The whole thing finishes off with "Together in Electric Dreams," a collaboration between the guy** from The Human League and Giorgio Moroder. Which has nothing to do with McCartney, but fits the whole "sweet and insipid" vibe.

*He is, apparently, still on the line.
**Phil Oakey.


Fishfrog said...

I'm not sure it can really be the BEST Paul McCartney mix without at least one Sleater-Kinney song on there.

Matt said...

So I get my emailed copy of your comment, and decide to check it out on the blog. Jesus, I had to scroll for hours to get through that Warcraft post. It was really long.