Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full (2007)


Today, Memory Almost Full seems to be most notable for being the first album to be released on Starbuck’s new music label. It’s my hopes that, in the future, it’ll be much better known for just being an album full of fantastic pop songs. This isn’t his best album, but it’s quite clearly up there.

Much of this was apparently recorded before Chaos. Who knows why he shelved it. I guess McCartney was wanting to honor the 15th anniversary of McCartney II or something. At any rate, it’s wonderful this album was released, ‘cos it’s very good. The most out-of-place song here is surprisingly “Dance Tonight,” which was released through a fairly popular music video on YouTube. It’s rather minimal and 100 percent pleasant. Somehow it still manages to be quite an endearing experience, and I’m glad that it’s included here.

But right after that, there’s “Ever Present Past,” one of his best straight pop-rockers in years. The bass guitar there is absolutely amazing… I guess that proves that McCartney’s reputation as one of the greatest bassists of all time wasn’t for nothing.

The vast majority of these songs, such as the fabulous “Mr. Bellamy” and “Only Mama Knows” contain such varied textures with wild and enchanting song development. Geez, this album definitely isn’t boring that’s for sure. I mean, don’t expect Metallica or anything — this is good ole Paul McCartney — but every track sounds like he cared about it. This is an interesting album and there’s nothing that even approaches throwaway status.

The variety throughout the album is definitely worth noting. A few songs sound quite a bit like Beatles throwbacks… I have no difficulty imagining “Vintage Clothes” to have been written for Abbey Road and “Nod Your Head” is nothing if it isn’t a tamer version of “Helter Skelter.” (Well, he’s reducing it to merely nodding the head, ya know.) Like Chaos and Creation before it, this album very much sees Paul looking back to his past. That said, there’s also a little bit of looking toward the future with an oddly optimistic song about his death, “The End of the End.”

The production is utterly wonderful. Everything’s in their proper place, and there’s very little that sounded like a bad instrumentation idea. All you need to hear to prove this point is the true gem of the album, “House of Wax.” It’s refined but somewhat unusual if you pay close attention to it, and it is some of the finest studio work ever to bear the name “Paul McCartney.” It’s really fabulous.

The one complaint I have with this is that the melodies aren’t always perfect. Certainly, I’m basing that from his already established reputation of being one of the finest songwriters of all time! These melodies are much better than most songwriters can ever make them. However, this is a minor shortcoming that’s worth noting.

I don’t wish to tout this album as some sort of great masterpiece, but it’s certainly a distinguished and entertaining work. This isn’t McCartney’s best work, but it certainly approaches that territory.

March 5, 2013 - Posted by | Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full |

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