Longtime friend of the Remnants, Michael Salfino tackles what turns out to be a more interesting question than it seemed on first hearing. How great was Paul McCartney’s solo career compared to the Beatles?
You can read Michael’s thoughts here: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/07/reassessing-paul-mccartneys-solo-career-successful.html
For my part, I think McCartney’s best solo song is Maybe I’m Amazed, but I also think Silly Love Songs is a brilliant bit of self-referential pop fluff (with a side of self referential sarcasm).
Michael doesn’t point out that Sir Paul is the only Beatle to record songs with Elvis Costello, Kanye West, and (the remains of) Nirvana. Constantly exploring, working, imploring, McCartney’s career has been admirable, even when the music is less successful. It’s hard to always write and perform great music.
And for pleasure? This one:
Lucinda Williams made an album called Sweet Old World in 1992. It was the follow up to her fantastic debut album on Rough Trade, which was actually her third album. She’d had a previous career, 10 years previous, recording for Smithsonian. Exclamation mark.
Those first two albums, Ramblin’ and Happy Woman’s Blues, are great by the way.
In any case, after her terrific album Lucinda Williams, for Rough Trade, she got picky. It took a few years to finish Sweet Old World, which leads with an upbeat song about a street person who resonates.
It took her six more years to record Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, her masterpiece, but I think a lot of the earlier songwriting is better. But the guitars rock more on Car Wheels.
Subsequent events suggested she was unhappy with the sound of Sweet Old World, which is softer than her later albums. And last year her husband suggested Williams rerecord the whole album with a harder and more rockin’ edge. So she took her touring band into the studio and they redid it.
You know, it’s hard to dislodge what you like with something else, even if it’s better, but here’s the new version of Six Blocks Away, followed by the original. You be the judge.
I loved Bill Withers. Lean on Me is an amazing song. But when John Legend covered this song with the Roots some years back I was surprised because it was powerful and unforgettable and I didn’t know it. Thinking about politics and music making lately, I’m not sure there is much value in trying to change minds, but this tune is a testament to deep feelings that affected us all once upon a time. Beautifully.
This is another one h/t to the Dean of American Rock Critics, though he didn’t plug this song. I found it on the YouTube.
These guys are old and weird. The first two songs of theirs I listened to were called Gloria, and this one, which was once a Who song. Neither was a cover.
They skew to the indie side of rock, but I’ve put this clip on repeat. I liked them at first hear. They sound like they need to do this more than anything. That’s enough for now. Maybe more later.’
There’s a show about Scottish pop music showing up at National Museum of Scotland. If you were there, why wouldn’t you see it?
And if you’re not there, why wouldn’t you listen to the music? Which has always been really good.
So, go the museum. You certainly should. Or enjoy this:
The Guardian is on it. Read this.
You know the hits. But this Tommy James outfit were shapeshifters. At the time they seemed like opportunists, but back then we loved the (Young) Rascals for many of the same characteristics.
In any case, this is a good one:
You can’t argue with this.
This might be my favorite song of all time. Not a rock song. But pretty punk.
Do you want to plug into the current geist?
Okay, I’ll try not to make a habit of this. But at No. 34 is Ivy, a band that made a near perfect soft-rock album called Apartment Life, from which this tasteful gem comes.