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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCartney Gets Introspective...and Intriguing
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...
Published on June 8, 2007 by Thomas D. Ryan

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fire the engineer!
I've been a Paul McCartney fan since the Beatles hit America. The material in "Memory Almost Full" is some of his best effort in years, and should please most McCartney fans. HOWEVER... the recording quality on most Beatles songs was FAR better. This CD is recorded SO LOUD that it overdrives a CD player's D-to-A conversion circuits. I realize many of today's listeners...
Published on July 13, 2007 by R. Berryman


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCartney Gets Introspective...and Intriguing, June 8, 2007
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? "Ever Present Past" has him dwelling on "times that have gone too fast" with a carefree shrug. "You Tell Me" is more inscrutable and poetic, but it catches McCartney questioning his own power of recall, singing, "Were we there? Was it real? Is it truly how I feel? Maybe. You tell me." Mr. Bellamy is certainly a classic McCartney characterization of a man contemplating suicide, or at least escaping his oppressors. The deeper you go into the disk, the more impressive (and impending) it becomes. "Vintage Clothes" is a clever allusion to growing old and watching your wardrobe turn into `vintage clothes'. "That Was Me" flashes images of a life, while observing, "when I think that all this stuff makes a life, it's pretty hard to take it in."

As you'd expect from a collection of McCartney songs, there's plenty of melody, and many sound oddly familiar, suggesting classic Wings tunes. "Only Mama Knows" hints at "Junior's Farm" and "Ever Present Past" lifts some of its melody from "Wonderful Christmastime," while "You Tell Me" and "House of Wax" both suggest bits of "Dear Friend." Many of these songs even feature Linda-esque harmonies, which is somehow simultaneously comforting and creepy. The sense of finality reaches its poetic climax on the aptly named "End of the End," wherein McCartney faces his own death as though the Grim Reaper was hovering over him. It is a stunningly beautiful moment that justifies the entire disk; indeed, it justifies his entire career. This would be the logical ending for "Memory Almost Full," but "Nod Your Head" provides a most unusual coda for such a well-adjusted album. Over a sea of noisy atonality, McCartney lets loose with some unbridled anger, aimed at a not quite estranged partner. Could this be that most rare moment when McCartney finally releases unbridled and mostly undisguised anger at someone who has deceived him? It's thoroughly incongruous with the rest of the disk and 100% unexpected, and especially unsettling coming at the end of an entire album's worth of songs that sum up a life well spent. A- Tom Ryan
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78 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Searching for the Time That Went By So Fast...The Time I Thought Would Last...", June 5, 2007
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (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." But its pensive string arrangement wrapped around the song's center, McCartney's angry, resigned lyrics ("Only Mama knows/why she laid me down in this God-forsaken town/She was running too.") and impassioned vocals make it his strongest rocker since 1989's "My Brave Face."

Those thinking McCartney retired to concertos and frivolous "smoochy ballads" (the odd "Gratitude" notwithstanding) will be pleasantly surprised by this album's aggressive rock. Producer David Kahne, whose worked with everyone from 80s jangle rockers the Bangles and Matthew Sweet to crooner Tony Bennett, pushes McCartney's still-strong voice higher in the mix, while drummer Abe Laboriel establishes himself MVP of McCartney's crack traveling band.

"The End of the End," where McCartney asks for jokes and stories instead of tears at his funeral, is his gentler, solitary update of "Abbey Road"'s frenzied final moments (themselves an era's end.) While "Memory Almost Full" shows Paul McCartney acting and understanding his age, it also shows him returning rock fans' love and respect for him by trying some fresh musical and even marketing ideas, and sharing more of his history amid the hits. A key CD in his long, remarkable career, and highly recommended.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Great Album from the Master, June 5, 2007
By 
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. All of McCartney's skills are here. And his voice sounds fantastic. It's amazing he can still sing with such power and range, all without ever losing his trademark melodicism.

This album is the period on the end of the sentence that McCartney began with "Flaming Pie." From that album through "Run Devil Run," "Driving Rain," "Chaos and Creation," and now "Memory Almost Full," there can be no doubt: Paul McCartney's still got it.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul's best in 10 years!, June 5, 2007
By 
I of course purchased "Memory Almost Full" at the Starbuck's right next-door to my apartment first thing this morning. However, I have to confess that I have had this album for over a month now thru some good Beatle connections of mine. So, I've had a lot of time to decide whether or not I like this album... and I am pleased to say that...

In "MAF", Paul is back in top form with more "Wings-like" tunes than ever before. I hear elements from albums like "London Town", "Back To The Egg", etc. all over the place on this album.

My favorites are...

"House Of Wax" - which shares a similar chord progression as "Dear Friend" from "Wild Life"... yet is a much darker and powerful song. Great lyrics (who says Paul can't write good lyrics?!?), and some great guitar work from Sir Paul, as well.

"Only Mama Knows" is Paul at his rockin' best. This song has a similar driving beat as that of "Junior's Farm".

"See Your Sunshine" has some great Beach Boy-esque "doo-doo-dooos", and I can easily hear Linda's voice singing bakgrounds - if only...

"That Was Me" is another great rocker where Paul looks back on his youthful days in Liverpool. The song sports some Bealte-ish elements like an opening guitar riff remeniscent of "Matchbox", and a descending bassline like Paul played on "I'll Cry Instead".

Other excellent tracks are the first UK single, "Ever Present Past" which is another catchy tune where Paul looks back on his childhood - a theme repeated throughout the album.... "The End of the End" has Paul reflecting on his own mortality. A first, really, on a Paul album. We've heard him sing about death in a tongue-in-cheek way before on songs like "Live and Let Die". But here, Paul sings about how he wants things to be on the day that he dies. Not a pleasant notion at all, but the song is actually very beautiful.

I have been very critical of Paul's latter day releases. Excluding "Flaming Pie" from 1997, I have not really thought too much of what Paul has been putting out. I'll buy his CD's, listen once or twice, and it then they'd get put away. But "Memory Almost Full" has changed all that! I know I will be returning to it over and over again. It's a fantastic album.

Good job, Macca!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul is NOT dead..., November 12, 2007
If you grew up with the Beatles, and followed their solo careers, and looked forward to their new albums, you knew too many months and years in which Paul did NOT release anything - especially in the '80s and '90s. I remember being concerned that maybe we'd heard the last of Paul, or that his creative juices had all dried up. "Driving Rain" and "Chaos and Creation" were hints that this was not so.

"Memory Almost Full" is a nice, refreshing confirmation that Paul still has much to offer. I'm also one who bought the "deluxe" CD when it came out. I couldn't help but notice that the 3 bonus tracks were among my favorites and fully deserved to be on the main album. I also enjoyed the track-by-track commentary - that doesn't seem to be on this offering.

The video DVD and live performances are nice additions. I agree that they should have all been on the original deluxe package. Maybe that release needs to be ignored and people need to be pointed to this offering instead?

I hope to be retired by the time I'm Paul's age. I'm glad to see that he's not. He's still producing some great tunes, and he's open to trying new tricks of the trade and venues for getting his music out to the masses. (How many 60+ year-olds have a YouTube site?)

He's still singing - and I'm still listening... Hopefully, this collaboration of ours will continue for many more years to come!

Thanks, Paul!
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCartney Gets Introspective...and Intriguing, June 8, 2007
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (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? "Ever Present Past" has him dwelling on "times that have gone too fast" with a carefree shrug. "You Tell Me" is more inscrutable and poetic, but it catches McCartney questioning his own power of recall, singing, "Were we there? Was it real? Is it truly how I feel? Maybe. You tell me." Mr. Bellamy is certainly a classic McCartney characterization of a man contemplating suicide, or at least escaping his oppressors. The deeper you go into the disk, the more impressive (and impending) it becomes. "Vintage Clothes" is a clever allusion to growing old and watching your wardrobe turn into `vintage clothes'. "That Was Me" flashes images of a life, while observing, "when I think that all this stuff makes a life, it's pretty hard to take it in."

As you'd expect from a collection of McCartney songs, there's plenty of melody, and many sound oddly familiar, suggesting classic Wings tunes. "Only Mama Knows" hints at "Junior's Farm" and "Ever Present Past" lifts some of its melody from "Wonderful Christmastime," while "You Tell Me" and "House of Wax" both suggest bits of "Dear Friend." Many of these songs even feature Linda-esque harmonies, which is somehow simultaneously comforting and creepy. The sense of finality reaches its poetic climax on the aptly named "End of the End," wherein McCartney faces his own death as though the Grim Reaper was hovering over him. It is a stunningly beautiful moment that justifies the entire disk; indeed, it justifies his entire career. This would be the logical ending for "Memory Almost Full," but "Nod Your Head" provides a most unusual coda for such a well-adjusted album. Over a sea of noisy atonality, McCartney lets loose with some unbridled anger, aimed at a not quite estranged partner. Could this be that most rare moment when McCartney finally releases unbridled and mostly undisguised anger at someone who has deceived him? It's thoroughly incongruous with the rest of the disk and 100% unexpected, and especially unsettling coming at the end of an entire album's worth of songs that sum up a life well spent. A- Tom Ryan
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance Upon the Battleground, June 9, 2007
By 
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" is an excellent addition to his body of work. While I couldn't get the lyric section on his website to pull up for my computer, some of his lyrics are incredibly intriguing, as I hear them. "House of Wax" is a very interesting track with a great orchestral build and some of Paul's most expressive singing on the disc with blistering electric guitar, "Lightning hits the house of wax, women scream, "another round" to dance upon the battleground..." "You Tell Me" has Paul singing wistfully in his upper register with a stately melody. It evokes a flood of memories with each lyrical snapshot, "When was that summer when it never rained? The air was buzzing with the sweet old honey bee, let's see, you tell me." "Only Mama Knows" starts & concludes with a string orchestration. Then Paul breaks out into rock track, "On my hand was a plastic back with a picture of my face; I was crying, left to die in this God-forsaken place." What an exquisite track! "See Your Sunshine" bubbles with joy and puts a smile on my face like "Silly Love Songs." Other tracks like "Mr. Bellamy," "Vintage Clothes" & "Feet in the Clouds" are delights. This is an excellent outing from Paul McCartney, one that should be received joyfully by most of his fans. Bravo!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a Russian Listener!, June 6, 2007
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
Hello everyone who reads it! I am Russian, so please excuse me if I have some errors. :O)

I know why some people here did not like the record. They waited for same old pop-like songs, but this one is so amazingly creative and contemporary that it shocks you.

First 2 songs are classic McCartney - those that the most of The Beatles fans, I am sure, will love. The rest is so fresh and nice that it's hard to evaluate - I need more listening to find right words!!! Just want to say that Mr. Bellamy is the best song on the album for me!

Some people here were right, the album kinda reminds Ram (my favorite album of Paul) but reminds it in the way that it is a truly artistic - unusual work.

I am a musician and a songwriter myself and can tell this record is a great work and any musician can see that it is such a hard work (in terms of - a lot of effort put in it). If you listen to the record in headphones you can hear a lot of little parts guitars, pianos, vocals and so on that Paul uses to paint that Masterpiece!

I know English good enough to say that the lyrics on the album are good too. The End of the End is a good example of Paul's way of expressing the world and human feelings through lyrics - makes you feel positive about life and death - that is what true poetry should do for us - people!

John was so blessed to meet Paul back in fifties (as well as Paul to meet John). I am sure that Paul was the main force behind arrangements of all amazing staff in the Beatles work not only his but other Beatles writers too! In my opinion, we would never had Strawberry Fields, Tomorrow Never Knows, A Day in The Life, Taxman... you name it... the way they are - without Paul - he is the pusher, the hardworking artist, the fearless creator!!! I wish I could see how he works in person to see the creative process of his.

Anyway.

Everyone, I think will like something on this record because it has everything in it, but true art lovers will name it one of his best work.

I hope Paul will keep on working and creating (I know he will 'cos he is a true artist and a never giving up warrior) :O)

I was smiling when Paul said in his video message to get the record for - "Your friends, enemies, pets..." but that is the feeling I have after listening. I think I am going to buy the album for everyone who's in my opinion will be able to appreciate it - to share my joy! One is flying to Germany right now as a birthday gift for my friend Shyrik who is always afraid to get a record the day it comes out. :O)

Paul, I wish you the greatest health and never feel negative no matter what happenes. We all here to support each other. "No need to be sad!" :O)

Big Respect to you Paul!!!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I'm Amazed at Paul's new CD, June 6, 2007
By 
Pearl Cawley (North Merrick, New York United States) - See all my reviews
From the perspective of a Beatle fan who was hooked for life from the moment Ed Sullivan presented them 43 years ago, this is an emotionally impressive album. It is perhaps the first time since the Beatles split, that a record has touched me so deeply. I'm not going to review each song. There is perhaps one weak tune, but on the whole it is full of variation and surprise. The kind of surprise everpresent in Beatles releases in days of old. More than that, listening to each song for the first time brings pride and satisfaction. Yes. This is what one expects from Paul McCartney--highest quality of songwriting and sensical lyrics. Although it is introspective, it is not self-indulgent. He delivers. Unlike Chaos and Creation..., which received an acclaim I did not comprehend, this is not a boring album. It does however strike sadness to those who listten closely and read between the lines.

The world has lost 2 Beatles thus far, and this one reminds us that there will come a day when there are none left. Paul knows his powerful effect. It must be awful to remain and continue alone. Alhtough Ringo was an important ingredient in an amazing recipe, Paul is the most important flavor left.

Paul is very introspective here. HIs "Everpresent Past" of course, references The Beatles entity which he was a part of and can never return to or duplicate. The meatiest track of the CD is Mr. Bellamy, but the heart of Memory Almost Full is "The End of The End." The words "When I die" spoken by McCartney in any context can only choke one up. I don't know if I'll be able "to joke" and not be sad when he "moves to a better place." I know I'll "spread his songs like blankets before me" to paraphrase his lyrics. Lyrics with which he accomplishes more than he's accomplished since he stopped being a Beatle.

The title of the CD "Memory Almost Full" refers to digital memory,but here it is analogous to human memory. He faces his age and the inevitable with that title.

This CD brings the old satisfaction one felt when a Beatles record was released. You smile at the end, and say "Yes. I have to hear that agaiin." This is not one of those CDs you buy just to complete a collection. This is one you listen to.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stunning, simply Stunning !!!", June 5, 2007
As a musician who writes his own songs, plays all of the instruments, sings all of the vocals, and has had a number of songs "on-the-air", I have such a deep appreciation for Paul and his incredible musical abilities, including his playing of all or most of the instruments on some of his albums. This amazing new CD finds Paul moving into heretofore untraveled territory, for him, with some of the most atypical and creatively fresh songs of his career since The Beatles. Yes, "Dance Tonight" is simple and bouncy, but it's a delightful way to jump-start the CD. From that point on, most, if not all, of the songs are reflective of his life to this point. And just imagine, Paul McCartney referring to his own eventual DEATH, something I would never have expected from the most optimistic man I've ever seen. Well, that's just what he does in "The End of the End", but in a fashion that lays the celebratory framework within which he wants his friends, family, and fans to react to such an event. I won't waste time by providing a "song-by-song" description of the material on the CD. Suffice it to say that it is an incredible accomplishment by a man, one of four, who changed the world of music forever. By the way, the Deluxe Edition is a worthwhile package, with three bonus tracks of merit, and Paul discussing the songs from the CD. Whether you purchase that one, as I did, or the regular edition, open your minds and just enjoy the wonderful songs offered to us all by an astoundingly gifted artist.
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Memory Almost Full
Memory Almost Full by Paul McCartney (Audio CD - 2007)
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