A few things to get right out there: I love this album. I love Paul McCartney – from McCartney until this one. This was the last album of his that I bought with anticipation, excitement and not feeling like he was mailing it in. I grew up loving The Beatles and McCartney was always/will always be my hero. And even though this album has one bona-fide piece of shit, the excruciating, god-awful torture known as “Ebony and Ivory”, I still think it’s one of his best overall albums. And in a pedantic, roundabout way, this is his first “real” solo album – McCartney and McCartney II don’t count; it’s him playing all the parts. Ram was a “Paul and Linda McCartney” release. And then came Wings. This is Paul’s first titled album under his own name with other musicians and it’s a power-play goal.
Set the table with the fact that it’s co-produced by George Martin. Amongst the players, Ringo is in house, Eric Stewart of 10cc, Carl Perkins… So that’s enough to have your immediate interest. But the most important and obvious thing is that the songs on here are fully-realized, mature, sensitive, insightful and some downright rockin’. Like the raucous and joyful “Ballroom Dancing” or the Rubber Soul-esue “The Pound Is Sinking”, which are sequenced as the opening tracks of side two, if you’re thinking about the original album release (it has been reissued on vinyl as well). Those two songs are immediately followed by the beautiful and majestic “Wanderlust”, which is McCartney at his dramatic (yet not pompous) best. “Take It Away” is one of the most upbeat, poppy things he did in his “later” years and “Here Today” is his heartfelt, heartbreaking (and stark) tribute to Lennon. So much musical goodness in this collection.
So with the reissue, there is a 2-CD version, disc 2 containing 11 bonus tracks (demos, etc.), a 3 CD/1 DVD version; a special “super deluxe” of the 3 CD/1 DVD set and limited edition gatefold vinyl release. No matter what format you choose, if you’re a fan of Paul McCartney and were on the fence about anything he did after the end of Wings, you can rest assured, Tug Of War is one of the most worthy to invest in.
Tug Of War is available now