1975, Music

Venus and Mars (1975) by Wings

Every Wings album is a reminder why the Beatles were great. Every Wings album is a reminder that, though they may have hated each other at the end, Lennon and McCartney needed each other artistically.

The predominant impression I get from virtually every post-Beatles McCartney album – save Band on the Run, maybe -is laziness. There’s a half-assed quality to so much of McCartney’s music. It’s not every song, but it’s enough songs that it’s always annoying. I really like one song here and another is okay. The rest of his originals are typical McCartney: half-baked musical ideas that he uses his incredible ability as an arranger and performer to overcome. But then there are the cover, which is unnecessary and feels like it’s from another record. And there’s the song by the band made, which only shows off how much better McCartney is at writing songs and singing them.

The record is far less ambitious than Band on the Run but he’s still using some of his tricks from that record, albeit to lesser effect. The most impressive thing about Band on the Run is its arrangement and production – even if it’s just sub-Abbey Road – and dialing that back this much, without a great set of songs to make up for it, strikes me as a serious miscalculation. I get that McCartney was trying to be less of a dictator and make a band record but it’s possible McCartney is just a lot better at most of this stuff than his band members.

I just find this thing so utterly unimpressive and incidental. The two songs I like just remind me how much I dislike everything else. Paul McCartney is so unbelievably talented but, without creative equals to often focus him, he comes across as a bit of a hack, someone full of talent who cannot figure out how to use it in a meaningful way. (Really, who isn’t disciplined enough to consistently deploy his talent.)


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