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:
PAUL MCCARTNEY, DANCE TONIGHT
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