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Venus and Mars are alright tonight...,
This review is from: Venus & Mars (Audio CD)
McCartney followed up the superb 'Band on the Run' with this ambitious, dreamy, eclectic and undeniably fun LP - the magnificently flawed 'Venus and Mars'.
Paul was teeming with confidence again and he literally launches this album, spacecraft-like, from the melodic galaxy ballad 'Venus and Mars', directly into a raucous homage to the stadium gig - 'Rock Show'. Any lyrical cheesiness (I'd call it 'stoned nonsense' which is by no means a bad thing - it worked for Lewis Carroll), is immediately redeemed by what McCartney can accomplish with his unbridled musical invention. He effortlessly alters chords, scales and changes beautifully, and though his melodic direction is unique, his ideas are so pleasant to the ear, they feel as though they were meant to be.
'Venus and Mars' is eclectic in an almost Beatles-esque way though the quality of the compositions would rate a star less than the Beatles at their best. Paul obviously wanted to be in a band again and the vocal duties are shared between himself, Denny Laine and Jimmy McCulloch who captures the wasted spirit of 'Medicine Jar' perfectly - it's a fabulous anthem. Sadly, the song alluded to McCulloch's eventual death by heroin overdose in 1979.
The album is full of great tunes and if you are partial to its highly imaginative, almost hallucinatory (are you following me?) themes, you will find yourself pulling this disc out every now and then for the rest of your life.
From the grinding, edgy 'Call me Back Again' to the eerie ballad 'Love in Song'; from the witty romance of the 20's pastiche 'You Gave Me the Answer' to the airy groove of the comic book tribute 'Magneto and Titanium Man'... And rising above them all, that perfect pop confection, 'Listen to What the Man Said' which never fails to make me sing along and smile. How can you not love a songwriter that can capture such simple beauty and put it down without fear of criticism?
This album cracked #1 in 1975, and there are very good reasons why. If you love music and you don't care what anybody thinks, this one's for you...