Wings - Band On The Run
After the Beatles split, the various former-moptops went their own separate ways. Despite his talent, Paul McCartney never seems to be able to make anything that people wanted to listen to. His initial releases were commercial flops and by the time early 1973 came round McCartnety was in deep debt. This album then was, apparently, the one that saved McCartney. He was virtually bankrupt before it came out and it was only the massive popular success of this which enabled him to pay off his debts and secure his future.
And yet, it is really a pretty mediocre collection of songs when you think about it. Never mind the most well known tracks, "Band on the Run" and "Jet", to my mind "Let Me Roll It" is the highlight. The drunken chorus is a definite no-no and seems to exist simply to fill out some empty space on the vinyl (definition = filler). While this was undoubtedly Wings' best, I never really rated Wings as a band anyway. Paul McCartney wrote pop songs, catchy and light. He never seemed willing or able to delve into the political stuff which Lennon did, and maybe suffered a bit for it.
Everyone I know who likes this has a reason for liking it which has nothing at all to do with the music. A couple of friends like it because it reminds them of a particular girlfriend; another because of time spent a school; a fourth because tracks from it were always on the radio during a particularly memorable holiday. All this is fine, but I don't know anyone who likes it because of what is etched on the vinyl. I don't have a memory associated with the album (although I do remember going through a phase of thinking I ought to buy Venus and Mars in case I was missing the point). To me it is an album of pop songs, some good, some awful some of which are complete waste of space.
This album, and indeed the whole career of Wings as a band, strongly suggests that the pop-inclined partner in the Lennon-McCartney duo was Paul McCartney. Lennon may have wished to go and do the deep and meaningful stuff (though sometimes that was hardly either) but McCartney wrote pop songs and when the Beatles, in their later phase, lightened up, it was McCartney who took the lead. Freed from the constraints of songwriting with Lennon he could indulge in that passion. Band On the Run is a pop album. I can imagine if you are a die-hard Beatles fan you would find this appealing, but while pure pop might have worked in 1964, by the time came out the world had changed. Paul tried to turn the clock back and failed. The result is something which belongs in a different, dare I say a nicer era.
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