Paul McCartney
Memory Almost Full


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
June 13th, 2007 | 33 replies | 10,351 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Consistently better than McCartney's other solo work.

To be honest, when I saw that Paul McCartney signed to the new Starbucks record label, I got a little worried. I am opposed to Starbucks in general, and the fact that they have a record label astounds me. People in the café population are stereotypically indie snobs, yes, but coffee shops and record labels? It just does not mix in my mind, especially when Starbucks is not in it for making good music; they just want more publicity and money. However, I underestimated Paul McCartney. His solo career, all in all, falls short of his Beatles success or even the success of John Lennon’s solo career. Chances are, when he dies, no one will make any double-disc cover albums in his honor with the biggest names in music playing, and let’s not forget this. Paul McCartney is 64. Mick Jagger is 63, and it’s safe to say that his singing voice just isn’t the same anymore. Neither is Paul’s, but he embraces it and embellishes it with everything Starbucks can buy, including a mandolin.

The music video for “Dance Tonight” starts with McCartney receiving his mandolin, and as he begins to play it, the song kicks in full swing. McCartney’s mandolin chords are basic but well-played, and it opens the album with a fresh, unique sound from McCartney, equivalent to Harrison and his sitar. The lighthearted, happy mood of the song lets McCartney sing freely and easily, not putting too much strain on his voice. However, “Dance Tonight” is not much of an indication for the rest of Memory Almost Full. The mandolin fades away, not making a significant appearance on the rest of the album, and Memory Almost Full becomes modern pop with a certain McCartney spin. At times, there are melodies and harmonizing techniques that are distinctly Beatles, and other times, it sounds completely fresh out of his catalogue. Songs like “Mister Bellamy” and “House of Wax” combine the modern with the old perfectly. The two songs switch feels constantly, from a beautiful brass ensemble to a piano-based groove to great guitar solos. The consistent change makes the songs feel bigger, better, and more epic even though they run at typical song lengths.

Not every song works, however. Memory Almost Full is like McCartney mixing chemicals together, and of course, some reactions just don’t work. “Gratitude” is one of these, taking a typical McCartney chorus that blends in with the rest of the album, but the verses find McCartney overdoing and forcing his vocals. For just this moment on the album, his age starts to show. Mixed with the death march tempo, “Gratitude” is extremely boring. Most of the album’s other flaws come from lyrical flaws or musical annoyances. “Feet in the Clouds” finds McCartney saying “very” six times consecutively. Meanwhile, “That Was Me” sounds like Rick Rubin got a hold of the track and put a stereotypical, boring groove to it. This middle section of the album from “Gratitude” to “Feet in the Clouds” is easily the worst on the album. Luckily, “House of Wax”, arguably the best song on the album, saves it and brings the album into its concise closing statements. The beautiful “End of the End” finds McCartney contemplating death, a sign of certain maturity in him. Still, the short “Nod Your Head” is proof that McCartney surely has life left in him. He nearly screams the vocals with heavy distortion in the guitars.

Memory Almost Full finds Paul McCartney throwing out relatively simple sketches and taking them to the studio. The production quality does most of the work here, because when you listen, everything seems relatively simple. And that’s not a bad thing by any means. He’s never been known to write the most complex music of all time, just simple, good songs. The difference between Memory Almost Full and McCartney’s other solo work is that this is much more consistent and possesses songs that stand up to his best work.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
RandyfromPennywise
June 13th 2007



752 Comments


I don't really have anything to say, but seeing as I can't vote, I guess a comment is required. Tight review there son.

Zmev
June 13th 2007



983 Comments


I work at a cafe what are you trying to say

RandyfromPennywise
June 13th 2007



752 Comments


HAHAHA

Fort23
June 13th 2007



2474 Comments


Good review, decent album. Paul McCartney is kind of a snob, but I hate Heather Mills. Paul's a good songwriter. This Message Edited On 06.13.07

Skyler
June 13th 2007



1084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have this album sitting on my harddrive, but after listening to the first song I'm kind of scared to listen to the rest of it.

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007



3553 Comments


Every review I've read of this has said the first song is the worst on here, or, at least, is very different to the rest (as noted here).This Message Edited On 06.13.07

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 13th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I happen to really enjoy it, but yeah definitely do not judge the album off of that song.

RandyfromPennywise
June 14th 2007



752 Comments


[QUOTE=Ah, Plath?]Would I be the first person ever to make a 'When I'm Sixty-Four' joke at this juncture? I know, I would.[/QUOTE]I know, it was ridiculous, it was as if those headlines and stories had been sitting there forever just waiting until his 64th birthday. That was (and is still being, mind) done to absolute death.

samthebassman
June 14th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album, I was surprised.

Good review as usual.

MTEK
June 14th 2007



65 Comments


Good review!

I like McCartney's solo stuff and this album is among the better..

La Revolucion
June 14th 2007



1060 Comments


My dad wants this, so if he gets it I might listen to it.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 14th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That was (and is still being, mind) done to absolute death.


Yeah, I typed "Paul McCartney is 64." and then made sure I avoided all references to the song.

El_Goodo
June 14th 2007



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your opening statement is awful! You are opposed to a place that sells coffee and other beverages? John Lennon would be right behind you screaming "power to the people!" Stop the burnt tongues the coffee's too hot!

And McCartney's career was much more "successful" ...better is debatable but you used the word successful and that brings to mind sales and chart positions which McCartney wins in, and I'm a bigger fan of John and George but it's a fact that McCartney was more successful.

As for the music review I agree with some of your points I'm shocked by how modern this record sounds and how greatly it contrasts with Chaos. But I disagree saying that from Gratitude to Feet in the clouds are the worst songs. I love Vintage Clothes...but That Was Me is a bit on the boring side. And Nod Your Head is just placed terribly it could have been a secret track or something...Paul is never content to let a great end song be the actual end...*cough* Her Majesty *cough.* I'd give the album a 4 as well.

Two-Headed Boy
June 14th 2007



4527 Comments


The deluxe package is so excessive.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2007



17920 Comments


spelled consistently wrong in summary

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 14th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shit thanks Chan.

Fort23
June 15th 2007



2474 Comments


I gotta agree withyou that starbucks does suck. They basically destroyed all those little mam and pap coffee shops so just shut up El_Goodo (no offense). For the most part, Starbucks is like the hide out for wannabe intellectuals to swim in their disgust. And if you don't agree with that, then you should know that signing to a starbucks label is kind of like career suicide. At least at what I've seen Correct me if I'm wrong.......


El_Goodo
June 16th 2007



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea...Paul's career is over now! He's only number three on the charts...and getting mainly favorable reviews. A label that tries new ways to promote your record is absolutely terrible. Stop being such cliched pretentious down with the corporate chains people...it's coffee dammit. And in my city we've got a Starbucks, and Esquires and a nice little "mam and pap coffee shop" called Pennyhouse.

plane
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2007



6085 Comments


everyone is overreacting to this coffee house statement, let's just buy everyone cokes.

tinathefatlard
June 16th 2007



1597 Comments


^^ Yes, indeed ...we'll put 'em on your tab.

I heard Dance tonight on that itunes commercial and i have to say its pretty catchy..havent heard anything else tho.



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