Where’s the shadow of Molly Jones?

McCartney is the melody come true. On May 28, 1971 was published the album Ram (Apple, 1971), second solo effort from Paul McCartney, one of the most important composers in popular music history, endowed with an extraordinary melodic talent, lover of album with a hard contrast in styles and founding member of the most important group in rock history. After his debut album, McCartney (Apple, 1970), with a homemade and self-indulgent sound, creator of the lo-fi sound with great songs such as That Would Be Something, Every night, Junk and Maybe I'm Amazed and playing all instruments, McCartney went a step further in his search for a new sound. Bearing in mind the sound of one of his major influences, Brian Wilson, McCartney created a pop wonder that arrives now at its fortieth anniversary. Many despised it then, now no one doubts his melodic and stylistic virtuosity.

“Too many people going underground, too many reaching for a piece of cake, too many people pulled and pushed around, too many waiting for that lucky break. That was your first mistake, you took your lucky break and broke it in two. Now what can be done for you, you broke it in two”. That’s the opening of a colorful and vibrant album. Too many people has lush, thick guitars and playful melody. 3 legs gets closer to the basics and then takes hold of echoes and rock arpeggios. Ram on makes us dance to the rhythms of piano and ukulele in a California sound. Dear boy sits Paul at the piano showing off his vocal, simply impeccable. And so to the end of the album through beauties like the triptych Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey and the lyricism of Long haired lady, the crudeness of Monkberry moon delight, and impeccable rocks like Smile away and Eat at home, ending with the voluptuous Back seat of my car and the verse “We believe in what we can be wrong”.

Paul McCartney's career has slipped since then by various facets, many of them even led us to doubt his musical talent. But with hindsight his solo career shows us splendid works as Band on the Run (1973), Tug of War (1982), Flaming Pie (1997), Driving Rain (2001) and the more recent Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) with producer Nigel Godrich, as well as his electronic and eclectic project with Youth called The Fireman with delicacies such as Rushes (1998) and the last Electric Arguments (2008) and his collaborations with Elvis Costello in the late eighties, the collaboration with Johnny Cash and Tom T. Hall composing and recording together the song New moon over Jamaica featured in the Cash album Water From The Wells Of Home in 1989, the song Is it raining in London cowritten with Hamish Stuart and arranged by Angelo Badalamenti in 1992, and the recording with Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass and Lenny Kaye The ballad of the skeletons (1996).

His latest work is a symphonic piece for ballet titled Ocean's kingdom (Decca, 2011). This is his fifth classic project after Liverpool Oratorio (1991), Standing Stone (1997), Working Classical (1999) and Ecce cor meum (2006), all irregular but with some of the best melodies of Paul McCartney as the pieces Settle down, Eclipse, A leaf, Haymakers, Tuesday or Spiritus. His recent Ocean's kingdom is a delicious work fully classic, with a deep romantic influence with some notes of New York in the twenties. This is not a profound work, but rather to a child's vision, a hymn to innocence drawn in delicious melodies interspersed with rhythmic beats. Four movements born of his collaboration with choreographer Peter Martins in which the second one called Hall of dance highlights because of its colorful nerve. Nothing new under the sun, but beautiful as ever.

Text by Juan Carlos Romero
Photo by Chris Floyd. © Chris Floyd
Video by and courtesy of mpl communications ltd
All rights reserved