Monday, 5 November 2018

Paul McCartney - Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard (2005)


Released September 2005

Recorded in Los Angeles

After three excellent albums in "Flaming Pie", "Run Devil Run" and the underrated, slightly experimental "Driving Rain", Paul McCartney returned to the "solo" concept of "McCartney" and "McCartney II" in that he played nearly the instruments himself on this one.


1. Fine Line
2. How Kind Of You
3. Jenny Wren
4. At The Mercy
5. Friends To Go
6. English Tea
7. Too Much Rain
8. A Certain Softness
9. Riding To Vanity Fair
10. Follow Me
11. Promise To You Girl
12. This Never Happened To Me
13. Anyway

"Fine Line" is an extremely catchy opener, and "How Kind Of You" builds into quite an impressive slower number, with some nice bass and percussion. It is not quite as much of a "stripped down" album as one might expect, containing some full, varied, punchy and solid instrumentation. "Jenny Wren" is a return to the acoustic "Blackbird" style that McCartney had not employed for quite a few years now. These have never been my favourite type of McCartney songs, but this one is pleasant enough, staying a fair way from twee. More than you would expect. "At The Mercy" is a plaintive, short typically McCartney piano and vocal ballad. "Friends To Go" is a jaunty, short, melodic and appealing number. All these songs are perfectly enjoyable, but I have to ay I preferred the lengthier, more rocky numbers of the previous three albums.

"English Tea" is McCartney at his absolute worst, for me, I'm afraid. It is twee and positively dreadful. "Whimsy" to the highest degree. As is often the case with these songs, it is insufferably catchy and quite evocative. I still can't bring myself to really like it though. It is the one track from the album that sticks in my head, though, all the time. So, there you go. "Too Much Rain" restores things somewhat, as does the Elvis Costello-esque "A Certain Softness". The beguiling, laid-back "Riding To Vanity Fair" is worth more than a few listens.

"Follow Me" is very much typical of later-era Paul McCartney material. It is perfectly ok, but it has lost that rock vitality of the afore-mentioned albums and helps to put this album in the category of "just another Paul McCartney album". For me, stuff like this is nothing particularly special. "Promise To You Girl" starts very Beatles-ish before bursting out into some "Venus And Mars"-style Wings rock. Both "This Never Happened To Me" and "Anyway" are very Wings in style. Both are perfectly pleasant and inoffensive, but, for me, this is nowhere nearly as enjoyable as McCartney's rockier, bluesier material. (Funnily enough, the closing track, "Anyway" has a "hidden" bit of rock/dub instrumental at the end, for three minutes or so, which is the best bit on the album).


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