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Wings At The Speed Of Sound

97 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 12, 1999
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Editorial Reviews


This is the album that inspired the old joke, "Q: When did Paul McCartney write 'Silly Love Songs?' A: 1976 'til now." Released on the eve of McCartney's triumphant American tour, it enjoyed a long stay at the top of the charts, thanks to the tour hype and the success of the aforementioned single and its cousin, the equally innocuous, if ever more infectious, "Let 'Em In." But it was a tepid success at best, especially on the promising heels of Band on the Run and Venus and Mars. Even a great, unheralded McCartney rocker, "Beware My Love" can't rescue the remainder from Paul's sometimes maddening affection for syrupy sentiment and sonic treacle. The three bonus cuts here are arguably better than most of the album cuts: the charming instrumentals "Walking in the Park with Eloise" (penned by Paul's dad) and "Bridge on the River Suite" were originally credited to the Country Hams (featuring McCartney teamed with Nashville legends Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer), while "Sally G" was the country-fied B-side to "Junior's Farm." --Jerry McCulley

1. Let 'Em In
2. The Note You Never Wrote
3. She's My Baby
4. Beware My Love
5. Wino Junko
6. Silly Love Songs
7. Cook Of The House
8. Time To Hide
9. Must Do Something About It
10. San Ferry Anne
11. Warm And Beautiful
12. Walking In The Park With Eloise
13. Bridge On The River Suite
14. Sally G

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol/Emi/Sbk/Chrysalis
  • ASIN: B000006N4L
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,522 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Justin C. Maaia on January 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
By critics amateur and professional alike, Wings at the Speed of Sound has been greatly underrated and underappreciated. But to those of us who LISTEN to the sounds that we call music, rather than succumbing to the rock press's strange requirements for "coolness," this album is both interesting and passionate.
For example, two of the songs most often criticized are the albums two hit singles, "Let `Em In" and "Silly Love Songs." They have both been called lightweight and lacking substance. With "Let `Em In," the reason for this is probably that the song is basically built around one chord that is subtly altered as the song progresses. Critics have said that this keeps it from being a true song, but in actuality this is part of its brilliance. Remember that the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" is built around one chord, too. That song sounds like it was dropped here from another world, but so does "Let `Em In." The difference is that one seems to come down to you from above, while the other builds itself up organically from below using baroque techniques of augmentation. (Not that I am trying to compare the two songs, or claim that this one rivals the experimentation of the other.) This song ends up as one of McCartney's most unique and oddly wonderful (or wonderfully odd?) pieces. Similarly, "Silly Love Songs" has been wrongly dismissed. Critics manage to applaud its excellent bass line, but they entirely look past the simply beautiful melodies and excellent arrangement. Have they listened to the glorious three-voice polyphony of the second half of the song? Brilliant.
Another example of misplaced criticism: "Cook of the House.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By shstaples on October 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For some reason, most of the 1970-1990 McCartney/Wings catalogue is now available in two versions: the Capitol CDs and the British remastered "McCartney Collection".

The British CD's offer, in many cases, more bonus tracks than the Capitol CD's, on this release they are the same though. Why not include Junior's Farm???

The remastering of the British series is, to my ears, NOT a bonus. The signal has been compressed in such a way, that the average level is louder than on the Capitol CD's, although the peaks are not. The balance has changed: low frequencies have been boosted, resulting in a somewhat muddy sound and a less focused midrange. This has also affected the stereo image. To me, the Capitol CDs are sonically superior and closer to the original LPs.

I found the remastered sound a disappointment, not doing justice to the obvious care that went into the original production!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Emanuel on June 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
There are some things I'll just never understand about Paul McCartney & Wings At the Speed of Sound. Like why Silly Love Songs is so often cited as an example of Macca's post-Beatles "mediocrity". What is it? Is Paul's golden vocal on the instantly memorable tune, or the ingenious harmonies and countermelodies over it? Perhaps it's the polished production, with the strings and the brass and that phenomenal bass-line simply bursting out of the speakers. I've got it! It's because the lyrics are simultaneously heartfelt and so deliciously ironic that the critics missed the point by a mile! Or not. I don't know, and maybe I don't want to.

At any rate, 1976's At the Speed of Sound may be the only Wings album that was really a "Wings" album. Of course Mr. McCartney remains in the spotlight, but each and every Wingster handles lead vocal on at least one song (even Linda, whose Cook of the House is a riot!). More than that, both longtime sidekick Denny Laine and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch get a shot at a song of their own - and both make good. This newfound democracy was probably just Paul's way of uniting his band for a gargantuan world tour; but the funky pop of Denny's Time to Hide and Joe English's vocal on Macca's own Must Do Something About It remain highlights of the record.

But for all that it's still Paul's band, and he steals the show. He supplied Silly Love Songs, obviously, and the #3 smash Let `Em In (the kind of song you really oughtn't to like but do anyway). But he also wrote two bona-fide McCartney gems - Let `Em In's rip-roaring B-side (!) Beware My Love and Warm & Beautiful, a ballad that's exactly as its name implies - and a plethora of fine material for himself and his bandmates both.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By DukesFan01 on December 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
(3 1/2 stars of 5)

For years I have heard/been told to avoid AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, because, afterall, McCartney actually 'allowed' the other members of Wings proper to have space on the album. I'm kicking myself for being so easily duped by those supposedly 'in the know.'

First and foremost, this is not a McCartney masterpiece, like RAM is, or BAND ON THE RUN, or FLOWERS IN THE DIRT, or McCARTNEY, or CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD or VENUS AND MARS. No, the lyrics are not as relevant as those aforementioned albums, and yes, other members of Wings get the spotlight, but in the end, AT THE SPEED OF SOUND is thoroughly enjoyable taken on its own merits.

There are several hidden and long lost McCartney gems found here. It's a sin that the absolutely rocking, throaty and gutsy "Beware My Love" has been forgotten by Paul when it comes time for things like the WINGSPAN album, which looks back at old career highlights. "Warm and Beautiful" is a melancholy McCartney ballad that ranks up there with his best '70s work, and I defy anyway to not listen to "She's My Baby" and not have it in your head for the next week or so.

Elsewhere, I really enjoyed the contributions of the other Wings members. Linda McCartney is quite enjoyable on the appealing "Cook of the House," where you can tell that Paul is playing upright bass. Take it for what it's meant to be, and it's great. Longtime Wings member Denny Laine shines here too, on the rocker "Time to Hide" and McCartney's own "The Note You Never Wrote", both of which I play just as much as the McCartney-sung tracks found on this album.
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