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Memory Almost Full

3.9 out of 5 stars 437 customer reviews

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Product Description

2007 album from the former Beatle, his first release for the recently-established Hear Music label. The album was recorded between 2003 and 2006 and was performed entirely by Macca and produced by David Kahne. 13 tracks including the first single 'Dance Tonight'. The perfect album to enjoy with a Tall Espresso Roast because both are smooth and balanced with a slightly sweet finish.


"Many years from now" must have seemed like an understatement to 16-year-old Paul McCartney, wondering if he'd still be needed or fed at the age of 64. As it turned out, all doubt as to the latter had ceased by his 22nd birthday (though few could have predicted he'd end up washing down those meals with the liquid pride of Seattle). As to the former? Now that McCartney, as of the date of this album's release, has reached that mythic age, his greatest work is 40 years behind him, his solo peak over 30 years gone. Does the world need a new Paul McCartney album? The answer is yes, at least as much as it needs anything else that passes for music these days. With Memory Almost Full, Macca is back. No, it's not Ram or Band on the Run. It might not even be Flowers in the Dirt--in 1989, he had a full band, the support of Linda, and Elvis Costello as a collaborator. Here, he's on his own. Literally: on the majority of the tracks, everything but the strings is multi-instrumentalist Paul. But the surprise is that it's one of his freest, loosest affairs in years, sonically reminiscent of the Tug of War/Pipes of Peace era with nods to Abbey Road in the album-closing medley, McCartney's gravelly tones on "Gratitude," and 2007's version of "Her Majesty," the palate-cleansing "Nod Your Head." It's a surprise because of the album's inescapable sense of retrospection ("Ever Present Past," "Vintage Clothes," "That Was Me") and even a bit of weariness. The next-to-last song is "The End of the End," after all, in which McCartney tells us about what he'd like to happen "on the day that I die." (He wants "songs that were sung/to be hung out like blankets/that lovers have played on/and laid on while listening to songs that were sung," and will likely get his wish.) But it never gets overwhelming, for McCartney mostly resists his tendency to get plodding and maudlin. In fact, Memory Almost Full must be the most sanguine album made during the dissolution of a marriage since...well, ever. "What went out is coming back," he sings in "Vintage Clothes," and from the sound of things, that may not be just wishful thinking. What's past is prologue; if we're lucky, what to come may be McCartney's late renaissance. --Benjamin Lukoff

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Dance Tonight
  2. Ever Present Past
  3. See Your Sunshine
  4. Only Mama Knows
  5. You Tell Me
  6. Mr. Bellamy
  7. Gratitude
  8. Vintage Clothes
  9. That Was Me
  10. Feet In The Clouds
  11. House of Wax
  12. The End Of The End
  13. Nod Your Head

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hear Music
  • ASIN: B000P2A242
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,415 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
As a person, Paul McCartney has done an efficient job of keeping his personal affairs outside of the public eye, and that judicious sense of self-protection has always extended to his music. One reason his solo career has been so frustrating is because we rarely catch a glimpse of what is really on his mind. His recent marital issues have been tabloid fodder for quite a while now, though, and I'd bet that many fans are secretly hoping that juicy tidbits concerning his divorce will be revealed in his newer material. A nasty break-up song would be most scintillating, but true fans already know that the odds of hearing anything so bluntly autobiographical from Sir Paul is virtually nonexistent.

Well, hold onto your hats. You still have to make presumptions, and assume even more, but it's obvious that McCartney has a lot on his mind, and he's putting those thoughts into lyrics. Unlike previous tactics, where he often applied his observations to third parties, "Memory Almost Full" displays McCartney singing mostly in the first person. He still keeps his cards fairly close to his vest, but you can't help but sense that he's really trying to convey something disarmingly honest about himself. Virtually every song on the album includes the word `I'. Of course, these songs could be characterizations, too, but I doubt it. There's such a strong underlying theme of mortality running through this collection of songs that it would nearly impossible to fake anything so heavy and earnest.

"Memory Almost Full" overflows with intense ruminations on time passing and the finality of death, and yet McCartney still maintains a whimsical tone throughout most of the disk. - How Paul McCartney-like is that? Who else could sing about impending death and make it sound like a Sunday drive?
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Format: Audio CD
It was 40 years ago today (at least, this week) Paul McCartney asked, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" It was among his most beloved compositions on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the Beatles LP defining 1967 (and, for many, the classic rock era) without unanimously being considered rock's (or the group's) finest album.

In "Vintage Clothes," among highlights on his vibrant new CD, "Memory Almost Full," the knighted grandfather warns, "Don't live in the past/Don't hold on to something that's changing fast." It's an odd sentiment from history's most successful living songwriter from its most famous band who, before turning 30, wrote backward glancing music hall classics like "Yesterday," "Honey Pie," and "Your Mother Should Know."

But announcing his intents early allows McCartney musical and lyrical space to examine his "ever present past" (to quote his zippy first single) with warmth if not bitterness. (This is sensible, as it's Macca's first release with Starbucks Coffee's new music label.) He knows each new song refers you to a Beatles or Wings classic. "House of Wax"'s guitar solo recalls 1968's White Album's distorted rock. "Dance Tonight," a deceptively simple melody over strummed, country stomp, echoes McCartney's first, homegrown solo records. Sir Paul sings his childhood scrapbook over "That Was Me"'s jazzy backbeat, from young Paul's appearing in scout camp and school plays to signing his first contract. He then concludes, "When I think that all this stuff could make a life/it's pretty hard to take it in."

"Only Mama Knows," "Memory's" most memorable song, at first recalls mid-70s chuggers like "Jet" and "Junior's Farm.
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Format: Audio CD
Extraordinary. It's almost scary that one musician could accomplish so much in his lifetime, let alone continue to make albums of this caliber at this stage of his career.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. One: The packaging of the deluxe edition is poorly conceived. A number of flaps and folding parts, with the discs sitting partially on top of each other. It's a bit of a hassle to access the discs, and this is really unnecessary. And Two: The song "Gratitude" really should have been cut. It's not horrible, but, like Elton John's "All that I'm Allowed" on Peachtree Road, it's just not up to snuff and is a real blip in the middle of an otherwise outstanding disc. Any of the three songs on the bonus disc would have been better in "Gratitude's" spot.

On to the good stuff. Just about everything else, basically! McCartney front loads the albums with the big highlights. "Dance Tonight" is an infectious, beautiful, deceptively simple tune ("McCartneyesque" would be the word).

The second song, "Ever Present Past," is the best on the album, in my opinion. In fact, it's one of the best songs McCartney's written in his solo career. The energy, the sentiment, the melody - everything about it is perfect. Unlike Jenny Wren did on "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard," it recalls the Beatles in the lyrics without utilizing a Beatley sound. Instead of summoning the spirit of any Beatles songs, it just looks back from a modern place and makes you feel great the way only a pop song can. I just can't say enough about "Ever Present Past." Even if the rest of the album stunk, it would be worth it for that one.

But the rest of the album does not stink. It has some slower songs, some lovely orchestration, some rockers, danceable pop tunes.
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