McCartney II

Performers Paul McCartney

Concord | June 14, 2011 | Compact Disc

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Entitled McCartney II because its one-man band approach mirrors that of his first solo album, Paul McCartney's first record since the breakup of Wings was greeted upon its release as a return to form, especially since its synth-heavy arrangements seemed to represent his acceptance of new wave. In retrospect, the record is muddled and confused, nowhere more so than on the frazzled sequencing of "Temporary Secretary," where McCartney spits out ridiculous lyrics with a self-consciously atonal melody over gurgling synths. Things rarely get worse than that, and occasionally, as in the effortless hooks of "Coming Up," the record is quite enjoyable. Nevertheless, the majority of McCartney II is forced, and its lack of memorable melodies is accentuated by the stiff electronics, which were not innovative at the time and are even more awkward in the present. At least McCartney II finds Paul in an adventurous state of mind, which is a relief after years of formulaic pop. In some ways, the fact that he was trying was more relevant than the fact that the experiments failed. [Hear Music's 2011 reissue of McCartney II is available in two separate expanded editions: a Special Edition with two CDs, and a Deluxe Edition that adds a third CD, a DVD, and a hardcover book. The CD included on both the Special and Deluxe editions contains outtakes, A-Sides, and B-Sides. On the familiar side of the equation is the Live at Glasgow version of “Coming Up” that topped the charts in the U.S., the B-sides “Check My Machine” and “Secret Friend,” and the seasonal “Wonderful Christmastime,” which fits comfortably into these synthesized surroundings. Then come the unreleased material: the shimmering “Blue Sway” with Richard Niles orchestration, the tightly wound squiggles of “Bogey Wobble,” the medley of the irritatingly quirky synth rockers “Mr. H Atom” and “You Know I’ll Get You Baby,” capped off by the medley of “All You Horse Riders” and “Blue Sway” without orchestration. The third CD included on the Deluxe Editions includes full-length versions of “Coming Up,” “Front Parlour,” “Frozen Jap,” “Darkroom,” “Check My Machine,” and “Wonderful Christmastime” -- some running just a few seconds longer -- an instrumental “Summer’s Day Song” and an edit of “Waterfalls.” Finally, the DVD contains a selection of documentaries and music videos from the album -- “Coming Up,” “Waterfalls,” “Wonderful Christmastime,” “Blue Sway” -- and the live “Coming Up,” along with footage of a rehearsal session from 1979.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: June 14, 2011

Genre: General

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 4

Label Name: Concord

UPC: 888072328006

Found in: General

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McCartney II

McCartney II

Performers Paul McCartney
Guest Artist(s) Linda McCartney

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: June 14, 2011

Genre: General

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 4

Label Name: Concord

UPC: 888072328006


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Coming Up --
2.Temporary Secretary --
3.On the Way --
4.Waterfalls --
5.Nobody Knows --
6.Front Parlour --
7.Summer's Day Song --
8.Frozen Jap --
9.Bogey Music --
10.Darkroom --
11.One of These Days --
0.DISC 2: --
1.Blue Sway --
2.Coming Up [Live At Glasgow, 1979] --
3.Check My Machine --
4.Bogey Wobble --
5.Secret Friend --
6.Mr H Atom/You Know I'll Get You Baby --
7.Wonderful Christmastime [Edited Version] --
8.All You Horse Riders/Blue Sway --
0.DISC 3: --
1.Blue Sway [Full-length Version] --
2.Front Parlour [Full-length Version] --
3.Frozen Jap [Full-length Version] --
4.Darkroom [Full-length Version] --
5.Check My Machine [Full-length Version] --
6.Wonderful Christmastime [Full-length Version] --
7.Summer's Day Song [Original Without Vocals] --
8.Waterfalls [DJ Edit] --
0.DISC 4: --
1.Meet Paul McCartney --
2.Coming Up [Music Video] --
3.Waterfalls [Music Video] --
4.Wonderful Christmastime [Music Video] --
5.Coming Up [Live at Concert for the People of Kampuchea, 1979] --
6.Coming Up [Taken from a Rehearsal Session at Lower Gate Farm, 1979] --
7.Making the Coming Up Music Video --
8.Blue Sway --

Editorial Notes

Entitled McCartney II because its one-man band approach mirrors that of his first solo album, Paul McCartney's first record since the breakup of Wings was greeted upon its release as a return to form, especially since its synth-heavy arrangements seemed to represent his acceptance of new wave. In retrospect, the record is muddled and confused, nowhere more so than on the frazzled sequencing of "Temporary Secretary," where McCartney spits out ridiculous lyrics with a self-consciously atonal melody over gurgling synths. Things rarely get worse than that, and occasionally, as in the effortless hooks of "Coming Up," the record is quite enjoyable. Nevertheless, the majority of McCartney II is forced, and its lack of memorable melodies is accentuated by the stiff electronics, which were not innovative at the time and are even more awkward in the present. At least McCartney II finds Paul in an adventurous state of mind, which is a relief after years of formulaic pop. In some ways, the fact that he was trying was more relevant than the fact that the experiments failed. [Hear Music's 2011 reissue of McCartney II is available in two separate expanded editions: a Special Edition with two CDs, and a Deluxe Edition that adds a third CD, a DVD, and a hardcover book. The CD included on both the Special and Deluxe editions contains outtakes, A-Sides, and B-Sides. On the familiar side of the equation is the Live at Glasgow version of “Coming Up” that topped the charts in the U.S., the B-sides “Check My Machine” and “Secret Friend,” and the seasonal “Wonderful Christmastime,” which fits comfortably into these synthesized surroundings. Then come the unreleased material: the shimmering “Blue Sway” with Richard Niles orchestration, the tightly wound squiggles of “Bogey Wobble,” the medley of the irritatingly quirky synth rockers “Mr. H Atom” and “You Know I’ll Get You Baby,” capped off by the medley of “All You Horse Riders” and “Blue Sway” without orchestration. The third CD included on the Deluxe Editions includes full-length versions of “Coming Up,” “Front Parlour,” “Frozen Jap,” “Darkroom,” “Check My Machine,” and “Wonderful Christmastime” -- some running just a few seconds longer -- an instrumental “Summer’s Day Song” and an edit of “Waterfalls.” Finally, the DVD contains a selection of documentaries and music videos from the album -- “Coming Up,” “Waterfalls,” “Wonderful Christmastime,” “Blue Sway” -- and the live “Coming Up,” along with footage of a rehearsal session from 1979.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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