Archive for the ‘Paul McCartney’ Category


letI wrote about this album back in 2015.

Of all the fascinating details about Beatles releases, I don’t think any are more fascinating than the details about Let It Be.  I’m not even close to understanding everything that went on here.  But in a nutshell, it seems that they went into the studio to record an album called Get Back. They were even going to film the whole things.  It got scrapped.  Some members quit the band then rejoined.  And then they recorded Abbey Road.

And then the band did a concert on a rooftop (almost exactly 46 years ago!).  And soon after they broke up. Then some producers decided to release Let It Be as a soundtrack to the documentary made about their recording.  They used some of the material from Get Back and some from the rooftop concert and then Phil Spector got involved and put all kinds of strings on everything and then the album was released in the UK on my first birthday.

There’s lots of snippets of dialogue which seem designed to make it feel like a soundtrack (which it doesn’t).  There’s really short snippets of songs, there’s raw live songs, there’s overproduced string laden songs.  It’s kind of a mess.  But in there are some good songs too.

“Two of Us” is a pretty folkie number that I like quite a lot although I first became familiar with it from a Guster cover (which is pretty fine).  I never quite understood the title of “Dig a Pony,” but it’s a big weird sloppy song. It’s kind of fun to sing along to—especially the falsetto “Beeeecause.”  This song was recorded from their rooftop concert and it feels rawer than some of the other songs.

“Across the Universe” is a lovely song.  Evidently Lennon didn’t contribute much to Let It Be, so they threw this on to give him more content.  I actually know this more from the Fiona Apple version (which I think is actually better than this processed version). I don’t really care for the strings and echoes feel on this version. “Dig It” is a short piece of nonsense. It was exerted from a lengthy jam but for some reason only this little snippet was included on the record–it sounds odd here.

“Let it Be” is quite a lovely song. I don’t really care for the Phil Spectorisms that were done to it—the strings and choruses seem a bit cheesy.  At the same time, the guitar solo (which is quite good) sounds too raw and harsh for the song.  “Maggie Mae” is a traditional song, another bit of fun nonsense.  I like “I Me Mine,” it’s rather dark and the chorus just rocks out.  “I’ve Got a Feeling”, was also recorded on the roof, so it feels raw.  There’s some great guitars sounds on it. Evidently it was initially two songs, and Lennon’s part (the repeated “everybody” section) was added to it.

“One After 909” sounds so much like an early Beatles song–very traditional rock and roll (which means I don’t really like it).  Although the version is raw sounding (it was also recorded from the rooftop) so that’s kind of cool. Huh, Wikipedia says “the song was written no later than spring 1960 and perhaps as early as 1957, and is one of the first Lennon–McCartney compositions.”   “The Long and Winding Road” is where all the controversy comes from.  McCartney hated what Phil Spector did to his song.  He HATED it.  And I have to agree.  It sounds nothing like the Beatles–it sounds very treacly and almost muzaky.  It feels endless.  At the same time, I’m not even sure if the song is that good–it’s so hard to tell after all these years. I think it kind of rips off the transition in “Hey Jude” which was used to much better effect.

“For You Blue” is a simple blues. I like it better than most of the Beatles’ blues, perhaps because of John’s slide guitar (and the funny comments through the song–which makes it seem like the band actually liked each other).  “Get Back” ends the disc as a fun rollicking romp.  I really like this song, although I’m surprised at how short it seems–I thought there was a lengthy outro.  The end of the song (and the disc) has John asking if they passed the audition–lots of fun going on in this contentious recording session.

So it’s not the best career ending disc, although I guess as a soundtrack it’s pretty good.  I’ve never seen the film, and I’m kind of curious to after having walked through all of these Beatles albums.

[READ: September 1, 2016] Let It Be

After reading Colin Meloy’s take on The Replacements’ Let It Be, Steve Matteo’s take on The Beatles’ Let It Be is really different.

Matteo did a ton of research into the recording of this record.  Indeed, this book feels really long (and it drags occasionally).  I have to assume that anyone who is a big fan of The Beatles will know much of what he covers here.  I didn’t, so this works as a pretty thorough introduction for me.  And, as my review of the record above notes: I didn’t know much about the recording in the first place.  So this filled in some gaps (more gaps than I cared about actually).

The book begins with the earth shattering announcement that in 2003 police had recovered more than 500 hours of stolen tapes from the Let It Be sessions (I hadn’t heard about that, so I guess it didn’t shatter the earth all that much).

Rather than talking about this record itself, Matteo talks all about what went into the creation of the record.  And, admittedly, it is a fascinating mix of ego, talent, angst, friendship, overworked-ness and nearly everything else. (more…)

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smileSOUNDTRACK: THE BEATLES–Let It Be…Naked (2003).

220px-LetItBeNakedI talked about this once before and mentioned how I was anticipating a huge difference between this version and the original.  But really, most of the changes are quite subtle.  Reading a bit more about it, it seems like McCartney mostly wanted to fix “The Long and Winding Road” and then took the time to tweak little things (he fixes some bum notes for instance).

This seemed like a chance for Paul to take the record back from Phil Spector, although I guess Spector didn’t really do all that much to the album—he really only tweaked four songs: Across The Universe, I Me Mine, Let It Be and The Long And Winding Road.  And so Paul removes Phil’s hand on those–and those are really the most notable changes.  As for the rest of the disc, he took out all the chatting between and silly songs (Dig It and Maggie Mae) and adds “Don’t Le Me Down,” from the rooftop concert.

I assume that if I were a Beatles die hard, I would immediately notice all of the changes on this disc.  But, for a casual listener, here’s what I noticed: “Get Back” is even shorter than the original.  “Dig a Pony” is the same rooftop, although it seems to be mixed better.  “For You Blue” has a bit more acoustic guitar but is otherwise not too different.

“The Long and Winding Road” has the most notable changes.  The strings and chorus are removed.  The dramatic BUH BUH before the chorus is still there–almost more pronounced on the organ.  I like this version more than the original, although I have to say it sounds an awful lot like Wings or McCartney solo in this version.

“Two of Us” doesn’t sound all that different—a little cleaner maybe.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” sounds a bit cleaner too–apparently it is a composite of the two versions from the rooftop concert.  “1 after 909” sounds about the same–a little cleaner and with out the Danny Boy at the end.  This version makes it sounds even more like an “old” song since the rawness of the recording has been removed.

“Don’t Let Me Down” was not on the original.  This version was taken from the rooftop concert.  And it sounds great here.  Strange that it wasn’t included in the first place.  “I Me Mine” removes the chorus and overdubs, and sounds a bit more rocking.  “Across the Universe”–I like this version a lot better.  It’s much cleaner and really lets the music shine, rather than there being so much echo on it.  “Let It Be” is stripped down as well, and the guitar solo sounds a little different.

In general, I like this version better, although I do miss the funny bits a little.  This feels more like a record than a soundtrack to a film.  But again, the changes aren’t that substantial overall.

[READ: January 10, 2015] Smile

I had heard of this book–I’d heard that it was a huge sensation.  Of course it wasn’t really on my radar of books, so I wasn’t really sure what it was about.  I read an interview with Telgemeier recently which made the book sound really interesting so I decided to check it out (and was frankly surprised that there was a copy in the library).

And I really liked the book a lot.  From the little I knew about it, I assumed it was just her life with braces (and from the interview, I gathered that her little sister was really a pain–she apparently is a big presence in the sequel).  Well, the sister is a pain, but that’s mostly in the beginning of the book (the sister is very funny and they tease each other mercilessly).  Yes, the book is about braces, but it ‘s about much more than that.

Oh and it’s also autobiographical, which was pretty obvious.

So, Raina is in 6th grade and she is scheduled to get braces.  She is freaked out about this, of course, because everyone makes fun of people with braces.  (Although they never made fun of me and I understand they don’t anymore, but we’ll see if my kids need them).  Although she has lots of friends, so they should support her. (more…)

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embryoyoSOUNDTRACK: QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE with EDDIE VEDDER-“Little Sister” (live) (2013).

qotsavedderThis is a live song from Chile (from what I gather it’s a Lollapalooza show–is that even still around?).  I have no idea if Pearl Jam were in Chile at the time, but what a strange thing to bring Eddie Vedder out on stage and then have him only sing backup vocals and play the cowbell.

The song sounds very much like the record, although a little sloppier.  I’m a bit surprised at that as I think of Homme as running a tight ship (but the sloppiness comes from him, so he has no one to blame but himself).  You’d never know Vedder was even there.  It’s one of the strangest guest appearances since Paul McCartney munched carrots and celery for the Super Furry Animals song “Receptacle for the Respectable.”

[READ: April 3, 2013] Embryoyo

Embryoyo is the final book of poetry I’m going to read for a while.  This book came out a few years ago but McSweeney’s had a garage sale version that I found for cheap.  I’ve always been intrigued by the title (so silly and odd) that I decided to give it a ago.  The blurbs on the back (and I know, no one should read blurbs) are telling: “Dean Young’s work will delight only two kinds of people: those who generally read poetry and those who generally don’t”  And, “No one is unsure if they’ve read a poem by Dean Young.”

I probably concur with the first but I definitely do with the second.  Because Young’s poetry is quite unusual.  And Embryoyo proves to be a demonstrative title.  Not that it means anything specifically, but in the way Young creates portmanteau words, which Young uses liberally.  Like the title “Empheroptera.”

I’m going to give some examples of his poetry that I found really enjoyable: (more…)

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