- Audio CD (September 13, 2005)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Capitol
- ASIN: B000AL730O
- Average Customer Review: 559 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,249 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
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On Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard, Sir Paul tries something he did on his first self-titled solo album in 1970, he's playing every instrument himself, including the guitar, bass, drums, flugelhorn and harmonium. And to make sure those Beatles days find their way into his new record, McCartney recorded 'Jenny Wren' which he says is the daughter of Blackbird. Co-produced with Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck), Chaos And Creation is McCartney's first record since 2001's Driving Rain. EMI. 2005.
Sir Paul is an elder statesman now, but Chaos and Creation in the Backyard finds him in considered and tastefully restrained form, penning songs worthy of his finest hour. McCartney crafts this collection of songs with exquisite balance, lining up haunting chimes and heartfelt lyrics ("Riding to Vanity Fair") alongside pounding "Hey Bulldog"-esque chords and eerily Beatles-ish multitracked vocals ("Promise to You Girl," "Fine Line") and, most impressively, distinctively new yet timeless gems of songcraft ("Anyway," "Jenny Wren"). Emotionally, Chaos and Creation manages to avoid being mired in oversentimentality, while retaining a powerful, understated sincerity. Poignant though it is, however, the record is essentially positive and hopeful: Sir Paul's playfulness beams through in his intonation, which picks up a line such as "It's not right/In your life/Too much rain" and breathes life and optimism into its words. "English Tea" completes the package, an unrepentantly twee serving of Anglo-nostalgia with recorder. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard displays the full range of McCartney's inimitable talent, presenting listeners with one of his finest solo albums. --Jonti Davies
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This C.D. shows Paul as still an expert. There is little to criticize. All of the songs are good to great without any filler. The production is just about perfect. We can hear Paul as if he were in our livingrooms. The sounds are so clear and smooth without sounding mushy. This C.D. sounds like the production Paul would have liked for 'Let It Be', and it illustrates that 'Let It Be Naked' was no solution. It is a treat to have so many fine new songs coming from a master of pop/rock music. He does best when he has something close to his heart to say and when he says it well. Like when he's in his own backyard.
I think that "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" is not only the most satisfying album in McCartney's post-Beatles career, I think it may rank, for me, as the best solo Beatle record of all.
Now, I'm not saying that his "best" songs are on this record (whatever "best" really means), but I am saying that in terms of overall seriousness and cohesiveness, this is McCartney's greatest achievement. Unlike his past efforts, I hear no duds here. Sure, as expected, there are reasons to be critical: "A Certain Softness" has a melodic waywardness that doesn't quite work. But I don't dislike the song. Another song: "This Never Happened Before" has a melody that veers too close into MOR territory (but the "Abbey Road"-like sound world that opens the song sends chills through me). But, again, I don't dislike the song. That my criticisms of his new album are so mild says a lot because all his past efforts are marred by weak, tossed off and sometimes downright awful songs. I won't list them here.
"Band on the Run"? That album might come in second. It has a number of great songs on it and there's some real energy and enthusiasm there, but unlike the new one, that album doesn't sound like a Beatles record to me.
Yes, "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" is the first long-player I've heard from John Paul, George or Ringo that sounds like a Beatles record -- but one in which Paul happens to sing all the leads. There's a surprising amount of Lennon-like near-bitterness to many of the lyrics. As for the music, I hear Lennonesque things all throughout the record. "At the Mercy" definitely has some Lennon-like gestures, and certainly much of the music calls to mind "Revolver"-era Lennon. And "Follow Me" sounds to me like an almost outright Lennon & McCartney collaboration (with an imaginary Lennon coming to Paul with a shard of an "Across the Universe"-like song to finish up). And "Friends to Go", one of McCartney's greatest songs ever from any period of his career, sounds, as McCartney mentions in the accompanying DVD, a bit like a George Harrison song. And then there's "Jenny Wren". That instant classic sounds like a lost treasure from the "White" album.
Another thing. This new record represents his third time doing a relatively "all-Paul" album, and to my ears it's far and away the best of the three. The problem with 1970's "McCartney" is, basically, that much of it sounds too tossed off. And "McCartney II" is a largely dull and uninspired affair that includes the deadly "Coming Up".
As for other McCartney long-player contenders, "Tug of War" is okay; it has some good songs, some bad songs, but it's just another one of McCartney's too smooth- and "safe"-sounding and unadventurous albums ("Pipes of Peace" was worse). "London Town"? Sure, that's one of his better records -- but it doesn't sound like a Beatles record to me.
That's it for now. I suppose the only "evidence" I have in support of my thesis is that McCartney said that working with Nigel Godrich was like working with John Lennon.
PS" My favorite song from the record? Probably "Too Much Rain".