You can’t really blame Paul McCartney. For the last couple of years Macca’s toured the States and indeed, the world, revisiting the catalog of the Fab Four as well as his own successful solo output, to the delight of fans old and new. As far as albums go, however, he’s been decidedly less consistent. Flaming Pie? Driving Rain? Not his most inspired or enjoyable efforts. The man can build a sweet-ass hook with the best of ‘em, but when’s the last time you heard a McCartney song (a new one) on the radio? Probably “Hope Of Deliverance” from Off The Ground. Suffice to say, The Cute One’s been coasting, save for a symphony here or charity concert there. So imagine my surprise when I spun McCartney’s 20th solo album, Chaos And Creation In The Backyard and not only found it engaging but actually sort of worthwhile. Granted, McCartney (teamed, interestingly enough, with forward-thinking producer Nigel Godrich) spends a considerable amount of time self-plagiarizing; “English Tea” is a double-take-inducing direct bite of “For No One,” while the archly titled “Jenny Wren” obliquely references “Blackbird.” By putting his own spin on his golden years, McCartney pulls the neat trick of repackaging Beatlemania and selling it right back to us. That said, the album feels intensely focused and vital, as though McCartney was determined to accomplish something other than a harbinger of advanced ticket sales. McCartney’s weathered but still somehow eternally youthful tenor wends its way through verses revealing and inane, with flourishes of eccentric instrumentation (McCartney plays nearly every instrument heard) are applied like so much Day-Glo paint. Chaos And Creation In The Backyard, as its title suggests, is a messy, altogether ramshackle affair with fleeting moments of brilliance that somehow still manages to keep hope alive. At least until the next obligatory world tour.
- Release Date
- September 12, 2005
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