Chords & Notes
Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
EMI, Cassette, Rs. 135
You can take Paul out of the Beatles but you can't take the Beatle out of Paul. Those of us who have the music of the Fab Four genetically coded into our systems cannot listen to McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard without hearing echoes of the band's later albums. This, after all, was the melodious half of the winning Lennon-McCartney combination, for while Lennon the individualist took off in a drastically different direction after the group broke up, it was McCartney and his band The Wings who retained the simplicity and the tunefulness that characterised the Beatles.
In this post-Linda phase of Sir Paul's life, the old spinner of magical melodies surfaces. One gets whiffs of the White Album, Abbey Road and Revolver in every other song. The genius behind "Lady Madonna", "Blackbird" and "Martha My Dear" now gives us the peppy "Promise to You", "Fine Line" (from where the phrase "chaos and creation" is taken) and "Jenny Wren". He uses charming tricks like a sudden change of register or the pace switching from slow to fast to slow in the same song, and we are willingly taken in.
Don't expect angst or wrenching agony in the lyrics; there's happiness, mild irony and an occasional smidgen of melancholy. "English Tea" is McCartney's gentle jibe at the genteel folk who inhabit the English countryside, with their hollyhocks and roses and Nanny bakes. "Do you know the game croquet?" he sings. "Peradventure we might play. Very gay. Hip hooray."
One of the unique features in this album is that McCartney plays all the instruments, and there's a whole range of them, giving the music a rich, full sound. Of course, the manufacturers of these instruments have seized the occasion to sell their brands. Thus, we are made aware that McCartney is playing a Petersen classical guitar, a Hofner bass guitar, a Bosendorfer grand piano, a Crown upright piano and so on.
In slow numbers such as "A Certain Softness", you can distinctly hear a quaver in Paul's voice. But then, it is not only he who has aged. So have we, folks, so have we.
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