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Author Topic: Ranking Macca's Albums - this is what Ultimate Classic Rock think! Do you agree?  (Read 491 times)

kylenz

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http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-albums-ranked/

Whoever wrote that list seems to have an intense dislike for Macca's sappy side - I think you need to have that appreciation for pop in general to fully appreciate the scope of any of his albums - because he will usually put a little bit of everything on there. Say Say Say and So Bad for example, are poor examples to pick on - they are great pop songs. Sugary yes, but very good. I'm surprised he regarded Flaming Pie so high - not one of my faves! But pleased to see solid showings from Back To the Egg and Red Rose Speedway.

What do you reckon? Anyone willing and keen to do their own ranking list?
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2 of 3

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That was an interesting read. It almost seemed like he was struggling to rank them(which is understandable). I'm sure we all have "skippers"..which, of course, are songs on albums that just annoy the hell out of you so you skip over them. Paul has a lot of "skippers"...for me anyway. It really ruins the flow of an album for me. It's probably the reason I don't often listen to Sir Paul on  a regular basis. There is just something about putting on an album, hearing 2 great songs and then Arrrgh! :o More often for me, I just turn the album off now.  >:(

Band on the Run is always going to be ranked Number One...it has no skippers.  ;D
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kylenz

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Band on the Run is always going to be ranked Number One...it has no skippers.  ;D

That's so true! It really has no skippers!

Red Rose Speedway is also like that for me, because even though it has so many different styles of tunes on it (I know 'Loup' wasn't popular with a lot of Macca fans), it has a sentimental value that I always see the album as a whole and every song playing their part in their own way. 'Single Pigeon' has just as much value as 'My Love', for instance. But I also agree, a lot of Macca albums have songs you don't ever need to hear again - and thanks to the power of modern technology, I can now skip the likes of 'Cook of the House', 'Tug of Peace', 'Write Away', 'Biker Like an Icon' etc. I just drag-and-drop the strongest songs to my phone or whatever.

Side 2 of 'Pipes of Peace' is the biggest clanger! So many skippers in a row, all piled up there. But I must confess, I like 'The Man'! haha
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Keri

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I quite enjoyed that and yes you expect Band on the Run to be ranked at the top and I'm glad to see Ram second.

I like Off the Ground a lot more, I listen to it right through with pleasure I know I'm unusual there. I also think McCartney II is a very likeable album. I was surprised to see Chaos and creation so high.

Here's my list of the McCartney albums i like in order, but I like them all I could probably juggle these into a different order on a different day

Ram
Band on the Run
Venus and Mars
Flaming Pie
Red Rose Speedway
Off the Ground
Chaos and Creation
London Town
Tug of War
McCartney II
McCartney
Flowers in the Dirt

Back to the Egg might be added, but I don't have a CD copy and am a bit annoyed that I can't buy one. Also New and Memory Almost full might feature sometimes but they haven't sunk in for me.

That is quite a few albums from a single artist to like. I don't think George did that many albums, though he has a better batting average for me.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 04:49:15 AM by Keri »
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kylenz

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George would be an interesting one. All Things Must Pass would be a no-brainer, I also like Somewhere In England and Cloud Nine, and bits of Brainwashed I like. But never been a fan of anything on the other albums.. Gone Troppo, Dark Horse, Extra Texture, Living in the Material World etc I struggle to find one song I like.

ATMP on the other hand would rank right up with Band on the Run as the best album made by a solo Beatle.

What would we do with ranking John's albums? I am a sneaky fan of (Some Time) In New York City - though it is generally not highly regarded. And the same goes for Milk and Honey. Mind Games would go down the bottom.

Ringo - again, very tough. Are there any solo Ringo albums that would go right up there with the best of Paul/John/George? Maybe the self-titled 'Ringo' (1973). Any others?
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Mervap

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If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

Keri

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George would be an interesting one. All Things Must Pass would be a no-brainer, I also like Somewhere In England and Cloud Nine, and bits of Brainwashed I like. But never been a fan of anything on the other albums.. Gone Troppo, Dark Horse, Extra Texture, Living in the Material World etc I struggle to find one song I like.

ATMP on the other hand would rank right up with Band on the Run as the best album made by a solo Beatle.

What would we do with ranking John's albums? I am a sneaky fan of (Some Time) In New York City - though it is generally not highly regarded. And the same goes for Milk and Honey. Mind Games would go down the bottom.

Ringo - again, very tough. Are there any solo Ringo albums that would go right up there with the best of Paul/John/George? Maybe the self-titled 'Ringo' (1973). Any others?

I've just started similar threads for George, John and Ringo.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 05:33:56 AM by Keri »
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kylenz

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George would be an interesting one. All Things Must Pass would be a no-brainer, I also like Somewhere In England and Cloud Nine, and bits of Brainwashed I like. But never been a fan of anything on the other albums.. Gone Troppo, Dark Horse, Extra Texture, Living in the Material World etc I struggle to find one song I like.

ATMP on the other hand would rank right up with Band on the Run as the best album made by a solo Beatle.

What would we do with ranking John's albums? I am a sneaky fan of (Some Time) In New York City - though it is generally not highly regarded. And the same goes for Milk and Honey. Mind Games would go down the bottom.

Ringo - again, very tough. Are there any solo Ringo albums that would go right up there with the best of Paul/John/George? Maybe the self-titled 'Ringo' (1973). Any others?

I've just started similar threads for George, John and Ringo.

Oooh great stuff!
Will check them out.
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kylenz

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My current Paul McCartney album rankings:

1 - Red Rose Speedway
2 - Band on the Run
3 - Back To The Egg
4 - London Town
5 - McCartney
6 - Wings at the Speed of Sound
7 - Tug of War
8 - Venus and Mars
9 - Ram
10 - NEW
11 - Press To Play
12 - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
13 - Give My Regards to Broad Street
14 - McCartney II
15 - Flowers in the Dirt
16 - Wings Over America
17 - Wild Life
18 - Pipes of Peace
19 - Run Devil Run
20 - Off The Ground
21 - Flaming Pie
22 - Memory Almost Full
23 - Driving Rain
24 - Unplugged
25 - Electric Arguments (even though it's Fireman it may as well be a Macca album)
26 - Kisses on the Bottom

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kylenz

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Some comments on each one:

1 - Red Rose Speedway - my sentimental all-time favourite. It was originally conceived as a double album but I never liked any of the extra tracks - they were basically sub-par jams and would've completely changed the album. Paul was right to leave them off the final product. Fave tracks - 'Hold Me Tight', 'Little Lamb Dragonfly' and 'Get On The Right Thing'.
2 - Band on the Run - Paul's most consistent album - it is flawless, possibly the only one in his solo career that would easily go toe-to-toe with the finest Beatles albums.
3 - Back To The Egg - Macca at his most hard-rocking, but it is also a varied journey. Features one of my favourite-ever Macca singles 'Getting Closer', and 'To You' is underrated too. Favourite track - 'Winter Rose' as ornate as a medieval garden. Love it.
4 - London Town - like RRS, this album seems to get little love in retrospect.. I think it is brilliant. From the excellent title track to the folky 'Don't Let It Bring You Down' to the hard-rocking 'I've Had Enough', it has a bit of everything. 'Cuff Link' is a great instrumental.. 'Backwards Traveller' is another fave (and the way it segues into Cuff Link is awesome).
5 - McCartney - even though it has its home-made charm, it also has the greatest song ever written of all-time (and yet was never released as a single!!!) - 'Maybe I'm Amazed'. And it has 'Every Night'. The instrumentals are cool. 'Oo You' is an underrated rocker. Remarkable given it was Macca playing every instrument on it.
6 - Wings at the Speed of Sound - another underrated Wings album. Featuring Denny's best song ('Time To Hide') and I love the warm feel of the keyboards throughout on the album. Best song: 'Beware My Love' - still cool to hear after all these years. 'Must Do Something About It' is another great song and Joe English does a fantastic job on lead vocals.
7 - Tug of War - certainly has a digital feel to it, and 'Take It Away' is one of his greatest singles. Featuring collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Carl Perkins, overall it's solid throughout. However, Macca improved the recordings of 'Wanderlust' and 'Ballroom Dancing' on Broad Street a couple of years later. Underrated track - 'Somebody Who Cares' - featuring a great acoustic guitar solo too.
8 - Venus and Mars - the only fallback on this album is the trebly brittle engineering. But the songs are varied as ever, from music hall ('You Gave Me The Answer') to hard-rock/pre-punk ('Rock Show'). Letting Go is such an awesome track. Fave song: 'Love In Song'. Beautiful.
9 - Ram - this is usually very high on most people's ranking lists. It's not that I dislike the album, I do really love it. 'Too Many People' would have to be one of the greatest openers on any McCartney album. Maybe the one thing that draws me back a bit, are Linda's vocals on the latter part of Side 2 particularly, 'Long Haired Lady' and 'Back Seat Of My Car' are a bit shrill. Still great songs though, despite those slight flaws in execution. 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' is still a fave - pure genius at work. Right up with the best Beatles work.
10 - Press To Play - a sadly underrated album, ruined by perhaps the choice in single - 'Press' (the way the synth-heavy 'Press' was recorded.. I reckon it would've been better done 'Angry'-style with raw guitar - like we hear Macca recording it in that documentary that came out at the time). But in some cases, the synths are used to great effect, on 'Good Times Coming' and 'Talk More Talk', and 'Pretty Little Head' of course. Stranglehold is an awesome opener with such swag! Footprints is an underrated folk song right up there with Blackbird as amongst his best acoustic songs, and 'However Absurd' is a neo-psychedelic masterpiece!
11 - NEW - easily the best album Macca has recorded in maybe 30 years. Well I would say Press to Play is still better, but NEW is certainly better in my eyes than Driving Rain and Flaming Pie etc. Even better than Flowers in the Dirt! The fire and imagination is back. It's modern and indie without pandering to certain styles.
12 - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - a return to the golden era of melodies Macca is known for. It also has its share of darker moments (At The Mercy, How Kind of You, Riding To Vanity Fair etc). Favourite song - 'Promise To You Girl', but special mention goes to 'Friends To Go', and the B-side 'Comfort of Love'.
13 - Give My Regards to Broad Street - sadly ignored by even his most loyal fans, but features the best-ever recorded versions of several of his songs, including Wanderlust, Ballroom Dancing, a beautifully jazzy Long and Winding Road, Good Day Sunshine, For No One, Yesterday (superb re-rendering), Silly Love Songs with the scintillating slap-bass funky bass guitar playing taking the song to a whole new level. 'No More Lonely Nights' is one of his great singles that no one ever talks about now, and the 2 best songs on it are both hard rockers - 'Not Such a Bad Boy' and 'No Values'. I'm tempted to rank this album even higher! Heh, maybe next time..
14 - McCartney II - another album that divides Macca fans, I really like it.. Temporary Secretary is wonderful indie electronica, but there are also some good straightforward guitar-based tunes such as 'One of These Days' and the more bluesy 'On The Way' (featuring Macca out-Claptoning Eric Clapton I reckon). Fave song: 'Darkroom'!
15 - Flowers in the Dirt - featuring collaborations with Elvis Costello ('Don't Be Careless Love' in particular is an awesome song.. if only 'Veronica' was on this album too), but a fine return to form with hit singles 'My Brave Face' and 'This One'. A great rock vocal delivery on 'Figure of Eight' opens Side 2. Best song though, I reckon is 'Distractions' - a lush beautiful warm jazz-inflected number.
16 - Wings Over America - the great Wings live album, providing in some cases, renditions superior to the original studio versions. Some say this applies to Maybe I'm Amazed - (I disagree, I think the original 1970 'McCartney' version is miles better and SHOULD'VE been a single), but with Letting Go, Beware My Love, Spirits of Ancient Egypt etc, there is definitely a case for that. 
17 - Wild Life - now we are getting into the more uneven albums in Macca's catalogue. The albums above me have a lot of variety but generally retains a consistent song quality regardless. From 'Wild Life' down, the 'filler element' becomes more apparent. Having said that though, there are some fab moments - 'Some People Never Know' is an unheard-by-the-masses classic, and 'Tomorrow' is another. 'I Am Your Singer' predates 'Single Pigeon' for that simple melodic charm. And the opener 'Mumbo' is insane - what a great rocker to start it off!
18 - Pipes of Peace - this is where Macca fans openly resent his 80s phase. I love the singles from this era. 'Say Say Say' is still bloody magnificent to me. I still have the 45 with 'Ode To A Koala Bear' for its b-side. And I think it showed George Martin made a brilliant transition to modern production recording techniques - it still stands up well today. Side 2 is where it lets itself down, with some dire material especially towards the end. 'So Bad' is a great track though. Fave song - 'Keep Under Cover'. Brilliant. It would be on my compilation for top Macca songs never to have made it as a single.
19 - Run Devil Run - full of fire and energy, and has some great moments. An incredible cover of 'All Shook Up'. Best songs are 'No Other Baby' and 'Try Not To Cry' (a Macca original) - that song should've been a single. Mind you, 'No Other Baby' was a good choice of single.
20 - Off The Ground - an uneven album, featuring some of my least-favourite Macca songs (Biker Like An Icon, Looking For Changes) - but some good ones too. 'Golden Earth Girl' is a lovely tune.. and favourite song would be 'Mistress and Maid' (another collaboration with Elvis Costello).
21 - Flaming Pie - another album many people rank very highly.. for me I see it as an album with too many throwaways (If You Wanna, The World Tonight, Used To Be Bad, Really Love You), and the balance made up with wistful-yet kinda-bland songs (Calico Skies, Little Willow, The Song We Were Singing etc). I do enjoy the title track though - it is a good raw Macca rocker.
22 - Memory Almost Full - I see this an an ambitious album but fails somewhat in execution. I'm not sure if the vocals are that great on some tracks. But then you've got tracks like 'Only Mama Knows' which recall the likes of 'Junior's Farm' and the best Macca rockers. My favourite songs on this are Vintage Clothes and Feet in the Clouds, which in the grand scheme of things, function as a small part of a greater whole. But the best song would be 'Mr Bellamy' - songwriting genius at work again.
23 - Driving Rain - could never get into this album. At the time, like most 20-somethings, I was into mostly grunge and nu-metal and Macca's stuff from Off The Ground onwards had become a bit naff. This album did nothing to change my mind.
24 - Unplugged - one of the first-ever unplugged albums it certainly has its moments and good to rediscover and listen to every now and then. Featuring charming versions of 'Every Night' and 'We Can Work It Out', and the first song Macca ever wrote - 'I Lost My Little Girl'.
25 - Electric Arguments - (even though it's Fireman it may as well be a Macca album) - I know a lot of people regard it as Macca at his more experimental but I find the loops and songs themselves lacking some true substance and they're a bit repetitive and I'm not a fan of the reverb-heavy drum sounds either. And I don't think 'Sing The Changes' was that great a song either. And yet it somehow got a lot of airplay at concert performances. Hmmm.
26 - Kisses on the Bottom - nothing on this album appeals to me at all. Well, 'My Valentine' is good, and 'The Inch Worm' (also once done by Mary Hopkin), but the rest of it - not my cuppa tea.

Well, that was fun! Should have a go at doing this with the Beatles albums!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 10:33:20 AM by kylenz »
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