RamAlbum | Paul and Linda McCartney By Michael Wojtas
One of the best solo works from any ex-Beatle.
While Paul McCartney's Ram holds up to close scrutiny, it's also the kind of album that may initially serve as exceptionally pleasant background music, its innovative quirks emerging only after repeated listens. Likewise, Ram's homey lyrics and playful melodies may sneak up on you days after listening instead of grabbing you instantly. Even "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," one of the album's most stunning songs, floats by on such easy goodwill that it's not difficult to overlook the extent of McCartney's range; though the song seems to simultaneously satirize and rival ultra-ambitious Beatles' classics like "A Day in the Life," it transitions so casually from banal British humor to schoolyard rhyme to soaring refrain that it just feels more appropriate to sing along with the skywritten "hands across the water" section than try to accurately place the track in McCartney's canon. But if Ram's feather-light quality is essential to its reputation and appeal, it would be unfair to say that the album is without its share of real emotional weight: oddly pitched between ghostly and hopeful, "Dear Boy" finds the ex-Beatle looking back into the depressive abyss of "Eleanor Rigby," while the closing "we can't be wrong" mantra from "The Backseat of My Car" exposes the spiritual, domestic warmth at the album's core. Ram may have predicted everything from the heart-on-sleeve buoyancy of C86 to ‘90s lo-fi surliness, but McCartney was probably only trying to write some silly love songs here, and they just happened to be some of his finest.
|Heart of the Country|