Sunday, 4 November 2018

Paul McCartney - Off The Ground (1993)


Released in February 1993

Recorded in Sussex and London

This album is often condemned as being one of Paul McCartney's worst, which is somewhat unfair and does it something of a disservice. It is nowhere near as bad as it is made out to be. Personally, I prefer it to "Tug Of War" or "Pipes Of Peace" from ten years earlier. It is quite a direct, rocky album and eminently listenable. There is no "whimsy" on it either, always a good thing for me.


1. Off The Ground
2. Looking For Changes
3. Hope And Deliverance
4. Mistress And Maid
5. I Owe It All To You
6. Biker Like An Icon
7. Peace in The Neighbourhood
8. Golden Earth Girl
9. The Lovers We Never Were
10. Get Out Of My Way
11. Winedark Open Sea
12. C'mon People

"Off The Ground", the title track, is a catchy, upbeat number with a hooky "sha-la-la" chorus, while "Looking For Changes" is a riffy, lively rocker, with some excellent guitar. It is a "cause" song concerning animal welfare and animal testing. In fact this is one of McCartney's most political albums. Having said that, it is hardly Billy Bragg! He sings of a desire for peace and of hope on many occasions. "Hope And Deliverance" is song that speaks of a wish to come out of "the darkness that surrounds us...", albeit of a jaunty, rhythmic backing. The staccato, Lennon-ish "Mistress & Maid", co-written with Elvis Costello, (no doubt left over from the "Flowers In The Dirt" sessions) is an interesting number. "I Owe It All To You" is an enjoyable mid-pace rock ballad. "Biker Like A Icon" is a bit silly, lyrically, at times but it has a solid bluesy thump to its upbeat rhythm.

"Peace In The Neighbourhood" is an invigorating and appealing number. It is just an ordinary McCartney, easy-listening rock number, but none the less pleasant for it. "Golden Earth Girl" is a pastoral-ish, beguiling number, with some evocative, melodic brass sounds near the end. "The Lovers We Never Were" is the other Costello co-write on the album. It is clunky and lyrically quirky, as you might expect. "Get Out Of My Way" is the album's one real, fast-paced rocker, featuring some rocking guitar, barroom piano, fabulous bass from McCartney, along with an energetic, enthusiastic vocal too.

"Winedark Open Sea" is the one often chosen to represent this album on compilations (such as "Pure McCartney"). It is a folky, engaging and profound number with bags of appeal. "C'mon People" is a fine, lengthy, atmospheric closer, with an uplifting, singalong refrain. This hasn't been a bad album at all. Sure, it is not a special album, but it has its underrated moments.


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