June 15, 2007

Paul McCartney just wants to dance tonight

I’ve been enjoying this video and this song recently. In case you hadn’t seen it yet (it splashed on the scene a few weeks ago, and I’m slacking), it’s essentially an inventive short-film story with director Michel Gondry, who also made the excellent Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind:


This is probably my favorite track of the new Macca album (wait, I didn’t just say that – I meant off the new Paul McCartney album). All summery and stompy, mandolins and oooh-oooh-ooohs . . . It’ll be part of my upcoming summer mix (that is called foreshadowing).

Here are some thoughts from Sir Paul himself on both the video and the new album. He says the album art is supposed to make the album a desirable object that we will want to pick up from off the shelf. For me, an armchair just ain’t doin it. It kinda makes me want to knit. Or maybe nap? I think he could have done better. He says:

I actually started this album, Memory Almost Full, before my last album Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (released September 2005). The first recording session was back in the autumn of 2003 at Abbey Road with my touring band and producer David Kahne. I was right in the middle of it when I began talking with Nigel Godrich about a brand new project (which became Chaos And Creation In The Backyard).

When I was just finishing up everything concerned with Chaos and had just got the Grammy nominations (2006) I realised I had this album to go back to and finish off. So I got it out to listen to it again, wondering if I would enjoy it, but actually I really loved it. All I did at first was just listen to a couple of things and then I began to think, `OK, I like that track – now, what is wrong with it?’ And it might be something like a drum sound, so then I would re-drum and see where we would get to.

I took it from there and built it up. I went through, track by track, making changes as I went along. I fixed things I wasn’t too keen on and it just evolved from there. Without me knowing, or really trying, it started to get its own theme, a sort of thread that holds it all together. So I suppose it’s about half new stuff and half old stuff from 2003.

In places it’s a very personal record and a lot of it is retrospective, drawing from memory, like memories from being a kid, from Liverpool and from summers gone. The album is evocative, emotional, rocking, but I can’t really sum it up in one sentence.

There is a medley of 5 songs towards the end and that was purposefully retrospective. I thought this might be because I’m at this point in my life, but then I think about the times I was writing with John and a lot of that was also looking back. It’s like me with `Penny Lane’ and `Eleanor Rigby’ – I’m still up to the same tricks!

I know people are going to look at some of the songs and interpret them in different ways but this has always been the case. The thing is that I love writing songs, so I just write and write. I never really get to a point where I start thinking I’m going to write about
specific subjects. Inevitably though, what I am thinking is going to find its way into what I’m doing.

The opening track of the album is `Dance Tonight’. I recently got myself a mandolin and I was just playing about with it and came up with the basis of this track. A couple of weeks ago we made the video, which was great fun. It’s directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) and stars Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. I’m not going to give the plot away. You’ll have to go and watch it for yourself, but we had a good time doing it.

The album title came after I had finished everything. For me, that’s when they normally come, with the exception of maybe Sgt. Peppers, otherwise I don’t think I have ever made an album with The Beatles, Wings or solo where I have thought of a title and a concept. I was thinking about what would sum the whole thing up and `Memory Almost Full’ sprung to mind. It’s a phrase that seemed to embrace modern life; in modern life our brains can get a bit overloaded. I realised I had also seen it come up on my phone a few times. When I started bouncing the idea round with some friends they nearly all got different meanings out of it, but they all said they loved it. So the feedback helped solidify the title.

After completing the album I then started thinking about the album artwork and how I’d want it to look. I really wanted to make the CD a desirable object. Something that I know I’d want to pick up from the shelf, something that would make people curious. I hope our final concept has done that. The album sleeve itself includes an etching by a friend of mine, Humphrey Ocean. As with the album lyrics, I’m looking forward to seeing how people might interpret the artwork.

Currently I’m just starting out on the promo trail and beginning to get the first bits of feedback about the album and so far so good! It’s interesting now as I’m getting to hear what other people are making of the songs and what their feelings are. I’m also talking about the album myself and I’m really enjoying the discovery process.

I really enjoyed making this album with David Kahne and I’m proud of all the songs. We had a great time. I hope that the fun we had will communicate itself to the people who are going to listen to it.

All the best,

Paul McCartney, April 2007

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  • Absolutely love the new McCartney album. I almost didn’t think he had it in him to make something this clever, witty, meaningful, and fun- especially after Chaos & Cration, which while a great album, was pretty slow and maybe a little too serious- which is fine, but not necessarily why I listen to Paul. The new one is 100% Paul and the best thing he’s done since “Flaming Pie”

    Pete — June 15, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  • I have been watching this video constantly since I first saw it a couple weeks ago. It’s so good! The song is so simple and yet absolutely…enthralling. Proves that he’s still just as musically-genius as ever.

    Anonymous — June 15, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  • I would disagree that this album is better than “Chaos and Creation”. I’ve listened to this new album a few times, and frankly can’t get into it. On the other hand, I couldn’t stop listening to C&C. It was completly mesmerizing. That being said, I am hooked on “Dance Tonight”. I play it and my kids and I just dance around the apt. Great song.

    Eli — June 15, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

  • A great video clip, Heather!:)

    Archimidis P. — June 15, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  • the chair scene reminded me of Got my mind set on you by George

    SINEDDIE — June 15, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  • Chaos and Creation was a bore (see my letter to Rolling Stone). This one picks up where the quite good Driving Rain left off.
    Too bad about the cover.

    Philco Brothers — June 16, 2007 @ 6:20 am

  • I was in Starbucks and on the door they have a McCartney promo poster which proclaims: The solo album worthy of his musical legacy.

    Just begs for a comma if you asks me. As in: the solo album worthy of his musical legacy, after the last 37 years of crap he’s put out. Now I realize that this will make some angry and others will simply dismiss me as a fool but when you consider his body of work after Let It Be where he finally seemed to be rounding into the equal of John Lennon, McCartney can only be considered a huge under-achiever. Give me one great Wings record. Give me one great post Beatles record period. How about that thing for the London Oratorio? Can you say pretentious?

    And what about that cover photo for the new record? Looks like a young Jerry Lewis to me.

    David — June 18, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  • Thanks for posting the video for “Dance Tonight”, which I had seen, but you might want to make mention that Natalie Portman (a friend of McCartney’s daughter) plays the winged astral figure.
    Strangely, it is quite possibly my least favorite tune off the album, which I consider his best since Band On The Run. That’s the beauty of music; we all find different things to love.
    Speaking of which for my money the best largely unknown band I can think of resides right here in Asheville, NC. The Hellsayers just returned from a tour of Europe where the regularly sold out thousand seat venues. Check them out at:


    I think you’ll dig them.
    James Cassara

    James Cassara — June 19, 2007 @ 7:26 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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