Nice post Chris Chopping.
Mr. Jim asked how does one feel when listening to McCartney on side 2 of AR. As a Beatle fan since 1964, it makes me feel sad, resigned, and oddly relieved. There's no going home again. The Beatles gave all they could until there was nothing left to do but bid a grand farewell and move forward. The line 'step on the gas and wipe that tear away', or 'boy your going to carry that weight for a long time' still leaves a lump in my throat, and resonates in a deeper place for me, than anything John screams about on POB.
POB is a rock critics album. I can appreciate why it is highly valued by critics and fans but it's never impressed me that much except to wonder why John didn't fully complete his primal screem sessions. How admirable is this really? It was the beginning of a bitter and resentful public temper tantrum that would last most of the rest of his life. He was determined to destroy the Beatles myth and anything associated with his ex-partner or George Martin, only to cleverly turn around and create the myth of JohnandYoko and John Lennon as the truth teller.
I personally have rarely found McCartney less than open and honest about his feelings in his music--it's just that those feels are mostly positive---hope, love, zest for life, cheerful lust, etc. etc. But from Yesterday through to Hey Jude, The Long and Winding Road, The End and beyond he's expressed a complex mixture of strong emotions which are not always positive. Given the inherent rock bias that prefers its artists angry and tortured, I wonder if it is not more courageous to express love and the gentler emotions. And what is inherently wrong with a character or story song? I've never thought that novels or film scripts telling human truths via characters or third person story are less effective at evoking deep emotion than an autobiography-- and certainly not because Lennon said so.
The idea that the most successful songwriter EVER in popular music writes material that is mostly entertaining and emotionally shallow has always struck me as very odd. If we buy into Lennon's post 1969 notion of what a good and legitimate song must be (confessional, self-referential, or direct as a gorilla weilding a tire iron like 'How Do You Sleep'
) then a guess the bum rap that McCartney avoids truthful self-relevation's could make sence----except that it was not Lennon that the record buying public was listing to by the millions in the 70's. Whose Beatle songs have become world wide standards and will likely live on 200 years from now? Is rock and roll more about rebellion or about liberation?
I can't believe millions of people over a 40 year period can be that fooled or satisfied by brilliant songcraft, or a hummable tune---alone. We can't all be that wrong.
I voted for 'Love'. It's delicate and simply beautiful.