Friday, November 04, 2005

On my turntable: Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

I received this in today's mail, and am listening to side 2 now for the second time. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is not the McCartney album I wanted it to be, as I had hoped for an LP full of upbeat tunes like "Fine Line", the fantastic first single. Yet, despite its consistent mellowness I am not at all displeased with this album. Producer Nigel Godrich has done a good job at challenging McCartney to work outside of his comfort zone, to make a thoughtful and assumedly personal record. Chaos has been compared to 1970's McCartney, but outside of the fact that Paul played most of the instruments I don't see any similarities. In contrast to the homemade McCartney's rough-edges, Chaos is a very polished, mature, piano-based album.

I'm sure I'll grow to love this album with time; I intend to listen to it a lot over the next week. After initial listens there are some obvious gems: "Fine Line" is one of Paul's greatest singles ever. A charming highlight of last week's St. Paul concert, "English Tea" sounds almost like the Rutles or even Julian Lennon. The album's last upbeat song is "Promise To You Girl", which hints of Wings in its harmonies and guitar. I really like this song! "Jenny Wren", the newest single from the album, was not one of my favorites at first, but I've decided it's quite lovely.

The LP itself is wonderfully packaged in a gatefold sleeve, including several prints of line drawings by artist Brian Clarke. The front cover features a vintage 1962 photo by Mike McCartney, titled
Our Kid Through Mum's Net Curtains. In my opinion, this new album (along with Flaming Pie (1997), Driving Rain (2001), and Flowers In the Dirt (1989)) offers some of Paul's most interesting and enjoyable work of the past 20 years.

No comments: