Month: December 2020

The Wonder Of It All: Paul McCartney’s Solo Years (Part 1-The ‘70s)

Over the course of 2020, my friend Matthew Restall, author of the brilliant Blue Moves book in the 33 1/3 series & I (Hope) started spontaneously breaking down Paul McCartney’s entire post-Beatle discography as if we were writing an actual essay (like you do, if you are a nerd). Well, turns out we were. Welcome to The Wonder Of It All, a 4-part series featuring our endlessly unspooling, unhinged, proudly contrarian, ridiculous & heartfelt correspondence regarding the Macca solo catalog. Ram On…

So Glad To See You Here: Just a note on the format of this essay, Matthew and I are going to be taking turns spilling our McCartney guts and our names will appear before our respective comments. Our album rating system is the classic best of 10, the pinnacle being 10 (it’s brilliant), the bottom being 1 (it’s terrible). Our opinions will diverge at points but we remain as one in our eternal love for Macca.

HOPE: By 1976, something weird was brewing in Beatle world. Thanks to the consistent radio plays, latter-day exposure to the Beatle movies and the influence of millions of older siblings, cousins and babysitters, a new generation of fans were starting to discover them. And so began the first pop music perfect storm. These newbies were kids who’d been born in the late ’60s and beyond and hadn’t experienced the band in real time. They were frequently referred to as “Secondhand Beatle Fans”, a short-lived, semi-official moniker that was both condescending and lovingly true.

One of the best parts about becoming a Beatle fan in the mid-’70s was that not only were there innumerable older albums to consume and catch up on, but a constant stream of new releases by the now solo Beatles to look forward to. Which was something of a divine gift for the Secondhand fans. For while they couldn’t experience the excitement of buying a newly recorded album by The Beatles and being part of the cultural zeitgeist that surrounded them, they could still enjoy something that felt like theirs, something new. And when it came to kicking out new music, the most motivated and driven ex-Beatle by far was Paul McCartney aka Macca. He proved to be staggeringly prolific out of the gate, kicking out 9 studio albums plus a triple lp live album between 1970 and 1979 alone, as well as a stellar array of stand alone singles.

Paul was plain unavoidable in the ‘70s which is to say, he was f-ing everywhere, emanating from every radio, appearing on countless magazine covers, invading every city to rock every coliseum, filling the charts end to end with a continuous stream of, well, stuff. Paul’s star wasn’t flatlining, it was manically ascending, his music becoming as omnipresent as that of The Beatles as the decade unfolded. This goes some way toward explaining and understanding why the post Beatle Paul McCartney catalogue meant so much to the latter day generations of Beatle fans. It was as close as they could get to experiencing the Fab Four in real time. Like the tagline for the short lived 1977 Broadway show Beatlemania so hopefully and desperately declared, “Not The Beatles, But An Incredible Simulation !” . That was Paul McCartney in the ‘70s. And as it happened, it was a damn good simulation…so good that you could sometimes forget about that other band he was in, especially if you were a kid at the time.

And with that, welcome to THE WONDER OF IT ALL : Paul McCartney’s Solo Years !! Join Secondhanders Matthew and I (Hope) as we bravely trek through 50 years worth of the post-Beatle Macca discography, dissecting it’s contents, grading the albums and generally over-sharing for context (half truth, it’s mostly because we get exceedingly emotional when discussing Macca). We will be exulting the underdogs, nudging the sacred cows and venturing into the darker corners of the catalogue fearlessly, heartlessly exposing what lives there ( yes “Mumbo”, consider that your official warning). And oh yes, one last thing, we will occasionally spew cutting references to the McCartney Archive Collection, the ongoing deluxe reissue project begun in 2010 in regards to their nonsensical, non-chronological order of release which has been a major source of frustration for Macca nerds ( feel free to turn it into a solo drinking game). Yes, there’s something here for everybody, young and old, dabbler and obsessive and we hope you like it.

MATTHEW: Yes, throughout the 1970s, the Beatles were omnipresent and inescapable.  There was always something in the papers, on the TV, or on the radio from or about the Four, either from when they were Fab or from their post-Fab musical and personal lives.  As Bob Stanley noted in his book Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, for most of the ‘70s, “the States were still pretending the Beatles hadn’t split” (p.247, also see my 33 ⅓ book on Elton John’s Blue Moves, p.61; forgive shameless plug). Although Beatlemania (and that Beatlemania show) was, ironically enough, bigger in the US than the UK, the phenomenon was similar on both sides of the Atlantic.  Re-released Beatles songs and new solo releases charted quickly and sold well.

At the top of that heap of new music was everything by Paul, Linda, and Wings.  Between 1970 and 1979, they released ten albums (two under the McCartney name, seven studio albums under Wings, and a Wings live album; we are not including the Wings Greatest compilation).  Eight of the ten reached #1 or #2 in the US and Canada (five of them did in the UK), charting and selling millions all over the world. In terms of quantity—the number of albums and the number of units moved—Paul outdid his former bandmates many times over. In our view, he outdid them too in terms of quality.  All those albums and singles yield hours of melodic pop marvels.  But critics were less generous.  Many of them were unenthusiastic, if not downright rude and derisive, about most of these albums; in fact, with the exception of Band on the Run, all these records were generally given a rough ride by reviewers.  Why?

Much ink has been spilled on that question and on similar ones, but we are going to stick to one, simple theory that helps take us to the task at hand (rating the albums): Paul refused to release a perfect album, and that got under the skin of critics. The first trio of albums were so obviously and blatantly LPs that Paul wanted to make, for himself and Linda—without giving a monkey’s about anyone else or what they might think or want. According to this theory, nothing on these first three albums pandered to bandmates, managers, producers, record company suits, fan clubs, record store buyers, or critics. Some people in that last category took it personally. The fourth album did, at last, seem to be reaching for critical and commercial approval, but it wasn’t good enough for the critics. Then, when the fifth album did prove to be perfect (at the very least, close to it), that only enraged them more. As if Macca could have made a Band on the Run every year, and he was deliberately, bloodymindedly choosing not to!

Well, the critics were right—in a way.  The albums weren’t perfect. As Rob Sheffield notes a couple of times in Dreaming the Beatles, some of the songs, even whole albums, had an unfinished feel to them. And I must admit that I found that a little confusing at the time. I was a kid during this decade and missed the early albums in real time. I was 6 and living in Madrid when McCartney came out, so I was already a Beatles fan but was oblivious to their breakup and the solo sequels.  But in the five years between Band on the Run and Back to the Egg I was in school in England—and increasingly obsessed with pop music.  I loved the steady stream of Wings hit singles, and acquired the albums as I could, at first a year or two behind their releases, and then—with the last two of the decade—in real time.  By then I had accepted the imperfections of these albums as part of their charm. Their flaws were minor, endearing, and above all forgivable, considering that the other ex-Beatles had, by 1979, produced so little—and so much of it total shite—by comparison. After all, if Wild Life was Paul being selfish and inconsiderate to fans, what about (as of 1979) Ringo’s dismal seven albums, or George’s failure to make anything close to All Things Must Pass, or the fact that John gave up mid-decade completely?

1970-1979: From Cherries to the Egg

MATTHEW: The first three post-Fab Paul albums always seemed like a trilogy to me. Although released under three different names (McCartney; Paul and Linda McCartney; Wings), they all came out within a 20-month period in 1970-71, and they seem to stem from that short creative period (even if some songs had late-60s origins). They also bear that period’s unfiltered hallmark—for better or worse. Without John, Ringo, or the Georges (Harrison and Martin) to reject, rework, develop, or approve his draft compositions, Paul clearly felt deliriously free to simply jam out the bits and pieces constantly emerging from his fertile mind, pop them onto acetate, and let Bob be his uncle.

When it works, it feels thrillingly like sitting in Paul and Linda’s kitchen, drinking their wine, while they make up songs. The invention of Indie Rock? That more likely emerged from the use by multiple artists of cheaper, smaller recording technology. But I see why some critics (and fans) have given Macca that credit.

As for the trilogy: not as bad as many critics claimed in the ‘70s, but also frustratingly flawed. Each one has a handful of songs that are not only among Paul’s best, but hold up well in the catalogue of pop’s greatest, full stop. But then Macca can’t resist tossing them in with tracks that should have gone straight into the B-side bin—or the bucket of half-baked ideas to be revisited later.

McCartney (1970)

HOPE: McCartney (1970), 6/10: I know for a long time people thought this album to be the product of clueless hubris, but honestly it’s homespun sloppiness feels so genuine and heartfelt to me; it’s the sonic embodiment of muddy boots, wet dogs, worn wool sweaters and Linda’s home cooking…which is to say, it’s an unbelievably warm and cozy record. And I should add, it’s aged surprisingly well. But, but that’s not to say it isn’t scarred by filler. While it’s home to blindingly beautiful romantic constellations like “Every Night” and “Junk”, it also contains some outright shiz, namely “Ooh You”, “Momma Miss America” and the exceptionally awful “Kreen-Akrore”. No matter how much of a Macca contrarian someone is, no one should be willing to die on a hill for any of those 3. And I know it’s semi-blasphemous to say but here goes; I prefer the raw emotional live version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” that came later on 1976’s Wings Over America over the original here with its fat, intrusive organ.

At the end of the day though, the bad tracks are outnumbered by the good. “Man We Was Lonely” is a total sweetheart of a song, a soundalike sibling to The Beatles “The Two of Us”. And I quite like the acoustic, candy-coated instrumental “Hot As Sun” though admittedly it has something to do with a weird, sentimental childhood memory. At some point in the late ’70s one of our local TV stations in NY started using it as the theme music for the Popeye cartoon show that was on at 7 am before we went to school. Yes, “Hot As Sun” was the daily prelude to an hour of spinach fueled revenge scenes…which is both utterly bizarre and strangely perfect.

MATTHEW: McCartney (1970), 8/10: Cherries (as I’ve always called it) is for me the best of the first three: a half-hour of beautiful, tuneful, whimsical pop (“Every Night” and both versions of “Junk” are Paul-pop bliss), culminating in the insta-classic “Maybe I’m Amazed” (yes, the live version is better, but it doesn’t replace this one).  If only he’d stopped there or waited until a couple of the better songs from the next album were already written (or included “Another Day,” which had been written during the Let It Be sessions the previous year). Instead, he takes us to the 35” mark with a stunningly crappy final track (was he taking the piss? Having a laugh? He must have been, right?).

Two of the themes that run through our whole blog essay are the issue of track selection and sequencing, and the impact on the listener of her/his personal history with an album. Both of those come together for me with Cherries, as my father gave me the pre-recorded cassette of the album when I was a boy; it was a cherished item in my small, fledgling tape collection, and I still have it.  But the tracks were re-sequenced by the label (“Amazed” on Side A, the two “Junks” together on B, etc.). When, near the end of the ‘70s, I heard the proper sequence and made a tape from the record, I realized how much of a difference it made; a beloved but admittedly bumpy album became smoother and better.

Ram (1971)

HOPE: Ram (1971), 10/10: I love Ram. Love it. Okay, I will admit there is 1 song I don’t really care for and yes I’m talking about you “3 Legs” you freakin’ monster, but since it’s short and sandwiched between 2 stellar songs “Too Many People” ( anxious, angry and devilishly beautiful) and “Ram On” (delicate and swoonworthy), it’s easy to ignore. But I have nothing but endless adoration for the rest of Ram. For one thing, it’s home to one of my absolute favorite McCartney songs ever (Beatles included), the plush, gorgeous and semi-carnal “Back Seat of My Car”. It’s simply off the charts on the swoon-meter (and majorly so on the mono version that’s included as part of the deluxe Archive edition of the album, listen here). “Smile Away” and “Monkberry Moon Delight” are batshit crazy, and I love songs where unhinged, old school rock ‘n roll Paul crashes into melodic and tuneful Paul ( more of that to come later). And throughout Ram, Paul confirms that he is KING of the coda, from the aforementioned “Back Seat”, to “Long Haired Lady”, to “Too Many People”,to “Uncle Albert”, ending them all with completely new hooks and twists, I mean who on earth has ever, will ever do it as well ?? No one that’s who.

MATTHEW: Ram (1971), 7/10: For me, Ram is neither front nor end loaded. It scatters its great songs throughout the album, making it easy to overlook the weaker ones. As with Cherries, there’s a full half hour of music on here that sustains countless listens (“Dear Boy,” “Uncle Albert,” “Heart of the Country,” and “Back Seat of My Car” among the highlights—yes, the latter is indeed gorgeous and romantic and freakin’ perfect)! And a riveting example of the melodic codas or outros that Paul does SO well. That means it (just) makes my favorite 10 Macca albums. But unlike Cherries, savoring that half-hour requires skipping tracks. Or doing the digital equivalent of what I did decades ago with a C-60 cassette, on which I put 11 of Cherries’ 13 tracks on one side, and 7 of RAM’s 12 on the other. A killer hour.

Wild Life (1971)

HOPE: Wildlife (1971), 2/10: All that talk about this being one of the worst Macca albums of his career ? It’s true. I cannot comprehend why this was given the deluxe Archive treatment over London Town or Back to the Egg, 2 far superior records ( Archive Collection complaint # 1). Out of the 10 songs on offer, I only listen to 2 with any regularity; stunning, bitter rainy day ballad “Dear Friend”, and gorgeously poptastic “Some People Never Know”. Both are superb Macca songs by any standard. The only possible way I could imagine enjoying the other 8 tracks would be if Paul and I were sitting on a porch on a breezy afternoon and he was strumming his acoustic guitar and singing them to me and me alone. That’s the only scenario in which “Bip Bop”, “Mumbo” or “I Am Your Singer” might sound “good” or at least marginally appealing ( doors open Paul, in case you want to try changing my mind).

MATTHEW: Wild Life (1971), 4/10: this has a pretty great Side 2, culminating in a pair of fine Macca songs, “Tomorrow” and “Dear Friend.” But then it is followed by another absurd piss-take closer—this time, mercifully short, but unfortunately a reprise of the painful track that opens the relatively weak Side 1 (ok, weak is being nice; its atrocious; I can never get through “Mumbo” without lunging for the skip button). I’d rate Side 1 a 1/10 and Side 2 a 7/10; so my final ranking splits the difference. That’s probably being too generous as, in the end, there are only two true keepers on here; and considering the plethora of perfect pop songs that Paul penned in the 70s, that’s pretty sad. 

The next two Wings albums, in my mind, are a pair—most obviously because they both came out the same year (1973), but also because they came to me on the opposing sides of a C-90 cassette about a year later (when I was 10, courtesy of Carol, an honorary teenage cousin—I called her parents uncle and auntie).  Band on the Run overshadowed Red Rose Speedway commercially and critically—and on my tape deck.  Carol had added “Live and Let Die” to the end of the BOTR side of the tape (for years I assumed it was actually the album’s final song).  007 is a hard act to follow; “Red Barn Door” ( aka “Big Barn Bed”) just didn’t cut it. So, nine times out of ten I didn’t flip the tape, but pressed rewind or put on something else.

Red Rose Speedway (1973)

HOPE: Red Rose Speedway (1973), 7/10: I have a real affection for this album and while it’s not entirely successful ( “Loup” is pure evil), it’s infinitely superior to Wild Life. And it’s home to another one of my all-time fave Macca songs, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” ( I will take as many epic hook-filled ballads from Paul as he can serve up). I confess I’m a complete sucker for Macca tracks where he employs his trademark improv quirk; all those “do-do-do’s” on The Beatles “Mother Nature’s Son”, “ooh-ooh-oohs” on “Back Seat” and “la-la-la’s” on “Little Lamb” and on and on. I even like the ham-fisted medley (“Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut”) that closes this album which is clearly bits of other potential songs awkwardly sewn together. Plus there’s another wonderful “tuneful screamy” here,”Get On the Right Thing” that I can’t get enough of. The album is slick and slight but it’s hidden gems justifiably kick up the score for me. And though I know it was the thing back in the day in the UK to release stand alone singles that didn’t land on actual albums, I think the double A-side from ‘72 featuring  “Hi Hi Hi” and the candy-coated “C Moon” would’ve fit quite nicely on RRS, the latter in particular.

MATTHEW: Red Rose Speedway (1973), 6/10, lacks history for me, and although it has grown on me through many recent listens, I still find it rather flat. It has ups and downs, like its three predecessors, and there’s nothing awful on it. For some, it is probably as good as Ram. For me, it’s a notch or two above Wild Life but falls short of Ram. I understand why EMI opposed making this a double album; with the exception of one or two tracks (I rather like “Country Dreamer,” for example), the rejected numbers were even less memorable. It’s as if instead of developing unfinished songs further, Paul just kept writing more of them. The “Kiss/Dragonfly/Pigeon” trio in the middle of the album have particularly grown on me, but they need something more compelling around them. For example, with many of these Macca ‘70s albums, one wishes in retrospect that some of the between-album singles had been substituted for the weaker tracks. RRS, for example, had one big hit (“My Love”), but (as Hope says) imagine how much better it would have been had it included the earlier single “Hi Hi Hi” and its B-side “C Moon,” and the later single “Live and Let Die”!

Band On The Run (1973)

MATTHEW: Band on the Run, (1973), 10/10, on the other hand, deserves its accolades. It is one of those albums that simply works. The Paul & Wings ingredients are the same, but the formula is tweaked, and the result is finally the record that one imagines the previous four might have been. Play the late Beatles albums to someone who (somehow) has never even heard of them, then play BOTR and say it was the Fab Four’s 1973 record, they’d surely believe you (they might ask why only one Beatle sang, but musically they’d accept it).  As a result, it thus never ages. Like Abbey Road, it is immortal.  RRS sounds like the early 70s. BOTR sounds like a great rock/pop record. I admit I’m pretty much over “Jet,” which has become tiresome after a thousand listens; and the original UK album version without “Helen Wheels” is better. Nor is it my absolute most-loved Wings album (that’s still to come). But there’s surely no doubt that it’s the best album Paul made in the 70s (and one of his best two or three ever).

HOPE: Band On The Run (1973), 9/10: BOTR is like Sgt. Pepper to me. As in the first Beatle album I owned as a kid was Pepper and in turn BOTR was the first Macca solo album to find it’s way into my meagre collection. I played it endlessly, front to back and it invariably became the gage by which all other Macca records I got would be compared to. But as Pepper has gradually descended down the Beatle album ranking lists over the years making way for the likes of Revolver, White Album (and lately Abbey Road), somewhere along the way the charms and virtues of other Macca albums, including Ram, came to knock BOTR off the top spot as far as frequency of listening and overall love for me. In fact, there are at least 5 other Macca albums from the ’70s I listen to with more frequency than BOTR. But my feelings are driven solely by over-familiarity, it is still a ridiculously wonderful pop album and is deserving of every accolade it gets! 

 I think the real stars of BOTR are not the piano pounders, but the gentler animals, specifically “No Words” and “Bluebird”; both are melodically stunning and I absolutely adore them to this day. Still, I have to offer a true confession that you ain’t gonna like Matthew… which is that the song I play the most is, okay, it’s freakin’ “Jet”. Ah Mater, I’ll never get tired of yer.
I do think though, that the overwhelming praise for BOTR did a bit of a disservice to what came both before and after it release-wise. For years critics held to the claim that every post-Beatle Macca release was significantly inferior to it. Patently untrue but they clung to that opinion for eons, cutting Paul no slack until the release of Tug of War in 1982. It still kind of irritates me, it felt like there was a concerted effort to drag him down, but I digress! BOTR deserves a near perfect score and if I were to offer one artifact to a space alien unfamiliar with solo Paul to investigate, it would unquestionably be this.

Venus And Mars (1975)

MATTHEW: The next three Wings albums are very much a trio that go together, all released between May ’75 and December ’76, with the third being a live album that promoted the previous two. For some reason, I don’t remember listening much to Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound at the time; but I still have my cassette tape of Wings Over America, which I played a lot. Looking back, that kind of makes sense, as WOA arguably renders its two predecessors redundant.

HOPE: Venus and Mars (1975), 6/10: Nerd fact, when iPods were launched in the early ’00s, you could get the back of the device engraved with whatever personal wording you wanted. I chose the lyric “Venus and Mars are alright tonight” because what the hell else was I going to do; like christening a boat, I had to bestow my new precious, incredible life-altering device with an equally meaningful “name”. V&M is not my favorite Macca album but I do find a lot of it to be exceedingly embraceable. But bad news first. “Rock Show” is a bit silly, not the tune but it’s genuinely cringeworthy lyrical content, “behind the stacks you glimpse an axe” being a particularly egregious line. I think Paul was aware that he wasn’t perceived to be as hard and tough soundwise as The Who or Led Zeppelin at that time but still reeeeally fancied the idea of the proverbial ‘kids’ thinking Wings ROCKED ( of course by the time they did officially, convincingly ROCK on 1979’s Back to the Egg the kids could not have cared less).

When I was kid I loved kitschy retro “You Gave Me the Answer” which I find completely insufferable now (I would actually play act Paul and I dancing to it which is as humiliating as it sounds ). I do adore “Love in Song”, think it’s a total sleeper, so handsome and full of rain. And the sad soul of “Treat Her Gently-Lonely Old People” qualifies it as a keeper as well. At the end of the day though  “Listen To What The Man Said” is the indisputable star of V&M, just an unimpeachable melody and production (and it still has the ability to make me sigh out loud). If I’d have been rating this album as a kid I would’ve awarded it a 10/10 solely because of the stickers and poster it came with. That stuff was as important to me as the actual record. I immediately slapped the stickers on my school notebooks and while they served as a nice compliment to my masterfully drawn ELO logos, I feel an insane, undeniable twinge of regret that I no longer have them.

MATTHEW: Venus and Mars (1975), 6/10: I see why “Rock Show” flopped as a single; it doesn’t rock well, it lacks the charm that imbues so many Macca songs, and it wears thin very fast. I suspect it put me off the album back in the day. But even now, Venus and Mars strikes me as a very mixed bag. I like “Love in Song” and “Letting Go,” but there is simply nothing great here until the end.  The closing cluster is REALLY great (“Call Me Back Again,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” and “Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People”; I’m going to pretend the “Crossroads” TV theme was not tacked absurdly on the very end). But those fine 15 minutes remind me of how disappointing the rest of the album is. And to return to my point earlier about between-album singles: “Junior’s Farm” would have made a great substitute for “Rock Show”!

Wings At The Speed Of Sound (1976)

MATTHEW: At the Speed of Sound (1976), 7/10: For decades, in my mind this was as good or bad as Venus and Mars, but I recently realized how much better Speed of Sound is. For starters, Sides A and B kick off with great singles—“Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs.” The whole of Side A stands up well. It closes with a nice pair of mellow Macca ditties. And as for Paul’s controversial inclusion of songs written and sung by other Wings band members: when it works, it works really well (“The Note You Never Wrote” is excellent, perhaps the best Denny Laine song on any Wings album); but when it bombs, it bombs big (“Cook of the House,” cute enough as a B-side, as it was to “Silly Love Songs,” where it should have remained).

HOPE: At the Speed of Sound (1976), 7/10: I’m pretty sure this is the first Macca album I bought in real time. And to be frank I wasn’t sure what to make of it with it’s overly democratic song distribution. Which meant it didn’t rank highly for me in the beginning because all I wanted was Paul. But like you Matthew, as years went by I came to love it especially the cryptic and cloudy “The Note You Never Wrote”. There is something very overcast and gloomy about the whole record that appeals to me, I feel the presence of a very particular sonic vibe on tracks like “San Ferry Anne”,”Time to Hide” and “Wino Junko”, as well as the 2 stellar singles “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs”. And I think “Beware My Love” is a total powerhouse, one of his best ever rockers, I mean the construction of it is just so clever. And Paul’s vocals on those “I must be wrong’s” are absolutely killer! All hail screamy Paul.

Wings Over America (1976)

HOPE: Wings Over America (1976), 5/10:  While WOA is generally fun I have problems with how the setlist is arranged as well as some of the actual choices. There are at least a dozen tracks from post-Beatle Paul that are more worthy of inclusion than the dreaded “You Gave Me the Answer”,“Richard Cory” or “Spirits of Ancient Egypt”. Having said that, the version of “Listen To What the Man Said” on offer here is absolutely smokin’ and I especially love when Paul introduces the Thaddeus Richard sax solo with a “take it away Thaddeus”. And what is there to say about “Maybe I’m Amazed” at this point, I mean what an absolutely spectacular vocal good lord

MATTHEW: Wings Over America (1976), 7/10: comparing live albums to studio ones is always an apples/oranges challenge (and a cliché to point that out!), especially a triple live album to single studio ones. But this one is so closely tied to specific studio albums that the task is made easier. Although it came out of the summer 1976 tour that promoted Speed of Sound, WOA overwhelmingly favors Venus and Mars above all others. If we count the V&M title tracks as one, and we discount the 1-minute “Crossroads” outro, WOA includes almost all of V&M, 9 out of it’s 11 songs. In contrast, there are only 4 songs from Speed of Sound (and 5 each from Band on the Run and from the Beatles catalogue). But here’s the thing: the live versions of the V&M tracks are better than the original ones; even the dodgy “Rock Show” is elevated by being in a medley with “Jet.”  The use of songs written and sung by band members other than Paul somehow works better live than in the studio. And there are just the right number of Beatles songs. Ok, the result is not amazing (don’t hate me if I prefer the other big hit live album from 1976, Frampton Comes Alive!), but it is pretty damn good.  My old cassette got played hard (admittedly it was an Indonesian bootleg with the tracks muddled up and tracks like “Answer” and “Egypt” missing), and I’ve gotten my money’s worth from the 2013 Archive Collection CDs too.

London Town (1977)

MATTHEW: We both recognize how much our—and anybody’s—appraisal of an album is tied to our personal history with it, to deep-rooted emotional connections and associations that interfere with our vain attempts to be objective.  Well, that factor plays more of a role with my feelings—yes, FEELINGS—about the last two Wings albums than with any other albums in the entire Macca post-Beatles catalogue.  London Town came out right after my 14th birthday; I was 15 the summer that Back to the Egg was released. I bought them both right away, flogged them without mercy, and absolutely adored them. I still do. They are, hands down, my favorite Wings LPs and my favorite Macca LPs. I listen to them now, trying to understand why they have reputations as reflecting the decline and collapse of Wings, why Paul has slighted them by not releasing Archive Collection editions, and I just can’t. It makes no sense. They are full of energy and creativity and melody and so many masterful pop music moments. Why, Paul, why?  These records are so freakin’ GOOD!

HOPE: London Town (1978), 7/10: I think LT is a stone cold crazy record. It’s the most disparate bunch of songs Paul had ever assembled on any of his solo albums to that point and despite the title has no discernible theme. The weirdest and most disturbing thing is that the song I think most about on this album, find myself mindlessly singing to myself most often, isn’t even one of the genuinely good tracks, it’s “Cafe on the Left Bank”, an insidious piece of filler I refuse to accept that I like. But then again that’s part of why I’m so completely charmed by LT as a whole. It’s like a bunch of TV commercials gathered together masquerading as a pop album. All that isn’t to suggest that it isn’t home to some stunners. “With a Little Luck” remains eternally gorgeous and I love “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” with its dark melody tied to what’s meant to be an uplifting lyric…but cherry picking songs does LT a disservice. These songs quite literally need each other, 90 % of them can’t stand up on their own. No, LT sounds best when listened to in sequence, each song leaning against the other like the bunch of sloppy drunks they are. Please Paul, time to top up and let the endearingly problematic LT into the Archive room ( Matthew and I will get the door).

MATTHEW: London Town (1978), 10/10: I am incapable of being objective about this album. It is so deeply familiar, and every single track just right and in the right place. Giving it less than a 10/10 would just be pandering to you, Hope, or (God forbid) to the cretinous critics who trashed it with knee-jerk derision just because it was made by happy Paul not angsty John. Like Speed of Sound, it’s two sides begin with smooth, well-crafted, comfort-food singles (the title track and “With a Little Luck”). But LT is better than Speed of Sound for being all-Paul (9 tracks) or Paul co-writing with Denny Laine (5): tuneful, inventive, varied in style but not overly so, quirky but not whacky. It isn’t even missing a non-album single (“Mull of Kintyre” stay where you are). Intellectually I can accept that Band on the Run is better, but if I could only take one Macca album to the proverbial desert island, it would be this one.

Back to the Egg (1979)

HOPE: Back to the Egg (1979), 10/10: Egg is a loud, beautiful, blaring down the highway, mess of an album and I think it’s the most criminally underrated release of Paul’s post-Beatle career: the catalogue’s true sleeper. With it’s fat riffs, sludgy chords and throat shredding vocals, Egg is most certainly Satan’s favorite post-Beatle Macca album. Okay, let’s just call it what it is, PAUL’s METAL ALBUM. Out of all the grungy noise makers, I feel most worshipful toward the maniacal “Spin It On” and Cheap Trick-ish “So Glad To See You Here“. But I also love the dirty power pop of “Getting Closer”, which I think is one of his most underrated singles. And let’s talk about “Arrow Through Me”, one of the all time greatest McCartney songs ever ever ever, a sublimely melodic lament and deep catalog dark horse which can never be exalted and appreciated enough. That hook is positively sublime.

The album was the recipient of some savage reviews which led to Paul distancing himself from it, talking it down, and most significantly from a hardcore fan perspective (as of this writing) depriving it of the deluxe treatment within the acclaimed and exhaustive Archive series (wishing you took us up on that suggestion of a drinking game now right?). In what universe is Wild Life more deserving of the fancy pants treatment than Egg? Egg is loud, lyrically cartoonish, romantic, weird, occasionally somber and staggeringly melodic; what’s not to love ? It’s one big confusedly beautiful piece of noise. And for the record, I loved the freestanding single that came out just prior to Egg featuring the lush disco-lite “Goodnight Tonight” as well as it’s perky b-side “Daytime Nighttime Suffering”. I know Paul didn’t feel they fit the vibe on Egg and hence didn’t include them on the finished album but honestly I don’t think anything is “missing” from Egg as a result of their exclusion. To be frank, at the time, it didn’t occur to me that they could or should have been on there. I was just happy there were multiple new Paul records to get! And, added bonus, Egg is also the ideal gage for verifying whether someone shares the same worldview as you and is ultimately worthy of your lifelong friendship.

In the late ‘80s, I had a job at the CBGB Record Canteen, the decidedly sleazy and noisy shop located next door to the club. One day, my boss asked me to help train a new girl they’d hired. She and I were both very young and cynical and so circled around each other music nerd style, tentatively dropping band names and monitoring one another’s reactions. We somehow got on the subject of McCartney ( though to be honest, I’m sure I brought him up), and without prompting, she said that she particularly loved Egg. That was it. Egg was the magic sign that let me know she was cool and we are still friends to this day. It is truly magical.

MATTHEW: Back to the Egg (1979), 9/10: The fact that you & I agree on this, Hope, but Paul and his critics apparently don’t, logically makes us wrong. But here’s the thing: we’re not! Because this is a weird and wonderful Wings concept-album experiment that simply works; despite being far more varied and quirky than London Town, Egg has a momentum and energy that holds it all together and carries it breathlessly through its 42 minutes as if it were half the length. It’s nod to the punk/New Wave movement that was peaking at the time is just right: neither forced nor half-hearted, it infuses the album with a hard rocking edge that no other Macca album before or since matched. As Hope notes here (and in a stirring ode to the album elsewhere on Picking Up Rocks), some of Egg is HEAVY. But the hints of metal don’t mean it skimps on melody. The riffs are hefty but buoyant, driving multiple singalong moments. “Getting Closer” and “Arrow Through Me” are primo Paul pop singles; the bass line and hook in “Arrow” are like a shot of bliss right to the heart.

Having gushed thus, I can’t resist one caveat. Macca albums almost always beg to be resequenced or edited, as there were usually non-album singles far better than his dodgier album tracks. Exceptions are Band on the Run (the UK version is perfect) and London Town (for me, if not for many others, perfect as is). But Egg is not an exception, as it’s sessions also birthed non-album Top 5 (US & UK) hit single “Goodnight Tonight” and it’s also excellent B-side, “Daytime Nightime Suffering.” In 1980 I made a tape with both those on the album instead of the non-songs “Reception” and “The Broadcast.” Ok, I still listened to the original version more. But my edited version is pretty great. (In case you’re curious, “Tonight” follows “Arrow,”  starting Side B, and the Grammy-winning “Rockestra” closes the album.) By the way, I also think Egg suffered from a record label change and competition with back catalogue: in the US, Paul switched from Capitol to Columbia after LT; Capitol’s response was to release Wings Greatest, which was packed with hits, five of them previously unavailable on an album. It thus competed with Egg, released only six months later. (Elton John’s Blue Moves suffered similar competition for the same reason; that’s the last plug for my book, I promise.)

End of Part 1

Coming in Part 2, we examine Paul’s ’80s discography. You might wanna put on a seatbelt. Ready? Read it here

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 45 !

This past week legendary NPR Program Director/Host & full-on music champion Rita Houston passed away. Back in the early ’90s we worked together at HMV in NYC where she was the store DJ. She was the coolest & I had a lot of fun nerding out with her over bands & exchanging mix tapes ( “you’ve gotta hear this !”). I was obsessed with singer John Martyn at the time & was so desperate for someone to get him like I did that I gave her my special mix cassette that I used to play before I went to sleep every night. But my main memory of her has nothing to do with the nerd stuff.

Another Bad Creation were an R & B boy band discovered by Michael Bivins of New Edition. And they were literally boys, with average age of about 10. They had a couple of hits with truly infectious bubblegum new jack swing songs “Iesha” & “Playgound” which you should absolutely check out on YouTube. We did a little in-store one day & Rita had to actually interview them, these 5 little kids in the DJ booth. There were a gaggle of similarly aged girls screaming as Rita was asking them questions. And she was unbelievably cool with these kids, didn’t talk down to them, asked them funny questions & it was literally the sweetest thing ever. At one point they spontaneously started singing “Iesha” over Rita’s DJ booth mike which prompted a singalong with the girl fans joining in ( “Iesha so glad to meetcha”, I can still hear it now ). But the best part came last. After they emerged from the booth, Rita came out smiling & almost emotional. Because she’d been so cool to them, these little kids, they all literally raced to hug her when it was done & it had totally taken her by surprise. “They all hugged me !” she said. They’d been so enamored with her warmth & kindness that it literally turned them from posing boy idols into little kids wanting hugs from DJ Rita who’d been so nice to them. I know it seems like such a tiny thing in light of all she accomplished but it was the first thing that popped in my head upon hearing of Rita’s passing & I’m telling you it was as sweet as it sounds.She was just the coolest.

And now I welcome you to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path this week. They are gorgeous & wonderful to the last. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify. Hope you find a song to fall in love with. Rock on.

Listen on Soundcloud

Listen on Spotify

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 44 !

As great as Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album is, once December hits, I tend to crave a sound even more grim, ghostly, wintry & demented, specifically something by Kate Bush from 2011…which is to say we are now officially in 50 Words For Snow season. The album’s contents are eerie, epic, melodic & often weird as shit & it may well be a straight up masterpiece. It features the most erotic song ever written about a snowman in the history of recorded music (“Misty”) & its ballads offer the most empathetic embrace you’re gonna get this side of Mom. A big ole snowstorm is descending on NYC in a few days & I’m actually looking forward to watching it whirl around out the window to the strains of the blessed 50 Words. What a perfect freakin’ album.

And now, welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week ! They are all exceedingly beautiful & hopefully #1’s in a sweeter universe. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below.

The world is so loud
Keep falling
I’ll find you

Listen on Soundcloud

Listen on Spotify

And hey, here’s 50 Words For Snow just cuz 🙂

PuR’s Best Albums of 2020 !

This list probably bears no resemblance to any of the Best Albums lists you’ve seen so far. But just so you know, my picks weren’t inspired by my wish to be a contrarian; I wholeheartedly believe these to be the some of the best full length album listening experiences of 2020. And while they span several genres they are linked by one particular quality, specifically, their devotion to melody, their hook-filled songs, their proper tunes. And so this list is less about “grooves” or “beats” and more about the twists and turns that with a little luck, will induce butterflies or cause spontaneous swooning.

When I was young and had to invest my entire allowance to purchase a single album you better believe I squeezed every bit of life out of each one I managed to acquire. I would play my precious handful of LP’s over and over, beginning to end, wearing down their grooves to unlistenable crunchy nubs (as well as ripping the seams of their inner sleeves from sliding them out so frequently). This complete immersion in a small pile of vinyl is how I came to know every John Oates song on the Hall & Oates albums. It ensured my intimate familiarity with the Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland tracks on The Police LP’s. “The telephone is ringing, is that my Mother on the phone !”, Andy scream-screeched on Synchronicity… and I gladly accepted that aural abuse because I’d ridden my bike to the next damn town to buy that album with my meagre savings and was doggedly hellbent on getting my money’s worth. I even exchanged my 45 of “Every Breath You Take” because there was a scratch on the b-side ( “Murder By Numbers” fact fans) and there was no way I was going to accept that only $1 of my $2 purchase was playable. And so I endured another treacherous bike ride on an unpaved road next to the highway because I had a right to my f*cking b-side.

Excuse me Mister, side 2 skips…

Even as our collective listening habits have evolved over the course of the streaming era, there is still something genuinely rewarding about immersing yourself in a whole album. Settling in, spending time, looking it in the eye and really listening to what it is saying, willingly buckling in for a long journey of the sort you experience from a good book or movie. While I am an undisciplined Soundcloud addict and enjoy the glorious high I get going from song to song, auditioning and discovering within it’s never-ending stream of new anthems, I also find it completely exhausting. The river never stops, the blood never staunches. And I worry that if I don’t keep up that I will potentially miss the “greatest song I’ve ever heard™” ( private note to self: you’ve already heard the greatest song you’re ever gonna hear, by the time a person turns 20 they have generally heard it and it’s really time you accepted this, jeezus). And truth be told, having to trawl through stuff that isn’t awesome to find the diamonds can sometimes be a drag.

Well, I self-admitted myself to an album listening recovery/rehab program over this past (horrific) year. I am officially trying these days, which is to say I now make a concerted effort to listen to whole albums just like the olden days when I had no other choice. And know what, based on the stuff that’s surfaced this year, it’s been 100% worth the effort. Yup, I may well have taught myself something about the virtues of patience.

And with that I now offer you the PuR picks for the Best Albums of 2020. The most consistently hypnotic-melodic and enveloping pieces of work from the past (hell) year. Not a bunch of disparate songs all working as individuals competing to be the one piece of spaghetti that sticks to the wall but real, genuine albums. I truly, truly hope you find something to fall in love with. Here we go…

Ane Brun: After The Great Storm

Ane Brun: How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow

No you are not seeing things. Wondrous Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun really did release 2 albums in 2020 ( in October and November, boom). They were her first offerings of new music since 2015, the time in between marked by the passing of her father, illness and the lack of inspiration both situations and just plain life itself engendered. The contents of both albums were written by Brun during a 3 week flurry in the summer of 2019 and the plan was to release the songs as an old school double album. But Brun had a rethink during the 2020 lockdown and decided to divide the set of songs in half, categorizing and breaking them out by “mood”.

The first release, the electronically tethered After the Great Storm alternately sounds like a classic ’60s Motown album recorded during a particularly frigid winter (think the seminal Supremes track “Reflections” ) and Kate Bush’s painterly latter day masterpiece Aerial. Which is to say it’s full of infectious songs brimming with unbridled emotion that clock in at an average of 5 minutes…so basically it’s end to end gorgeous. “Honey” is a stunner, a pop-tastic, icicle strewn anthem of reassurance (oh lord, if only it had been alive for Martha and the Vandellas to do back in the day but we can dream right ?). Other highlights include “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry”, all swelling synthetic swooshes rising from the ashes of despair and the heartbreakingly haunted wintry soul ballad “Fingerprints”. And if you are hungry for a twirl on the dancefloor, the mesmeric pulsating swirl of “Take Hold Of Me” is here to soundtrack your moves.

How Beauty Holds the Hand of Sorrow is a more delicate affair, featuring skeletal piano and guitar backdrops and the soulful otherworldly voice of Brun pushed up front and center. There are songs that sound as old as time ( hymnal, gothic and poetic “Closer”, “Last Breath” and “Meet You At The Delta”) as well as straight up nods to now (a stunning and stark piano version of After the Great Storm’s chugging dynamo “Don’t Run And Hide”). And the absurdly handsome pair of “Gentle Winds Of Gratitude” and “Trust” score perfect 10’s on the swoon meter, all hazy heat and dizzying headrushes.

The Wall. Songs In The Key Of Life. Blonde On Blonde. Double albums were once regarded as the grandest statement a musician could make. It showed you meant business artistically, that you were f-ing serious. And having been exposed to their epic gatefold grandeur at a vulnerable age, I still perceive them that way, and continue to fetishize their all-consuming bigness, the commitment they required to create and the time required to listen to ’em …which is why my preferred (deranged) way of listening to both Brun albums is to stuff them into one playlist and pretend I’m listening to a double album called After The Great Storm How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow. And so go on, give in and let Ane Brun lead you on an extended existential pop journey; she knows what she’s doing.


Tenille Townes: The Lemonade Stand71aBQy3d4kL._SL1200_

The Lemonade Stand is Canadian country singer-songwriter Tenille Townes’s third album. She’s toured with Miranda Lambert and comes from a similar sonic place…which is to say there are some pop-like flourishes here and there but her songs never veer too far out of the hometown of Country. Townes’s voice is just plain super fine, with hints of Lambert, Maren Morris and yes, even a little Dolly. The Lemonade Stand is Hallmark card sentimental, occasionally silly, supremely sticky and fascinatingly cynical. “Jersey On The Wall (I’m Just Asking)” is a direct message to God, a relentlessly melodic passive aggressive query pondering why bad things happen. It’s freakin’ great…as are the punchy “White Horse”, the lush “The Way You Look Tonight” and heart-squeezin’ “The Most Beautiful Things” ( and there’s more). If you need further convincing to listen, please know that the album was produced by Jay Joyce who was at the helm for albums by legends Patty Griffin ( including her brilliant Flaming Red) and Emmylou Harris as well as modern day country megastars Eric Church, Brandy Clark and Ashley McBryde. It is a damn fun ride.


Bibio: Sleep On The Wing


My ongoing fascination with ’70s pop duo Seals & Crofts continues to baffle me. A few months ago I wrote a bit about how I had finally gotten past my fixation… but as it turned out I was only on hiatus; a mere month after bragging how I was done, I was back to breathing in the fumes of “Summer Breeze” and worshipping the “Diamond Girl”. While Bibio aka Stephen James Wilkinson is British and his admitted influences reflect that and include things like the Incredible String Band and Nick Drake, all I can hear in Sleep On The Wing is, you guessed it, Seals & Crofts. It’s melodic acoustic ramblings bear a peculiarly striking resemblance to the sort of thing you’d hear soundtracking an American ’70s Afterschool Special or PBS kids show. It’s evocative, transportive and ridiculously pretty, all hazy summer days, fireflies and bicycles ( and with it’s 28 minute running time is as fleeting as childhood itself). And so while Bibio didn’t necessarily experience those aforementioned ’70s era American touchstones he somehow manages to evoke them here; Sleep On The Wing is uncanny and utterly charming.


Jonathan Something: Cannibal House Rules


Jon Searles is Jonathan Something and Cannibal House Rules is an unabashed love letter to the neon sound (and soundtracks) of the ’80s. It’s full of endlessly lush and evocative synthpop storytelling and is the perfect backdrop for all the fantastical zombie populated, blood-soaked love stories with ambiguous, sequel ready endings you could ever want to daydream. As someone who “teen-ed” in the ’80s, hearing this thing was like stepping straight into a time machine (or in my case, an eternally shitty Ford Granada); amongst other things, there were hints of “Let’s Dance” era Bowie ( “Power Moves”), Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (“Firestarter”) and Howard Jones’s earnest balladry (“Cake World”). It’s a veritable panorama of endlessly sweet and reverential nods to the glossy synthesized pop universe of the era. And so, if you feel like stepping away from the current mayhem ( yeah you do), slip on some headphones and let Cannibal House Rules cosmically transport you to 1984, to a suburban 7-11 parking lot at 2 am, where you can enjoy your Big Gulp™ whilst reclining on the hood of your car under a bed of stars, while you figure out how to stop the zombie apocalypse, save the world and get the crush of your dreams to fall in love with you.


Le Pie: A Room Of One’s Own


” I step into the ring and take my best swing! I look up to the clouds and scream it out loud!” Yes girl, YES. The debut album from Le Pie ( of Sydney, Australia) is an epic collection of fantastical pop heartache, a lovelorn diary that is equal parts dreampop, Ronettes, Shangri-La’s, Siouxsie, Liz Fraser and Sinead. It’s full of gorgeous, painfully cathartic girl group laments with a beating Rock heart. There are so many great songs on here it seems unfair to call any out but okay, anthemic opening track “Circles” and the runny mascara’d “If Misery Loves Company” are particularly, ridiculously glorious.  A Room Of One’s Own makes crying into a pillow feel positively heroic.


Bonus Cuts !

I also want to acknowledge a couple of big name albums that you will likely notice on some of the other 2020 best of lists out there. Both of the titles that follow have been written about in a far more eloquent and succinct manner than I’m remotely capable of,  which is why I’m basically sitting this one out, but please know they are extremely luscious and worthy of your time :

Fleet Foxes: Shore


Shore is a gorgeous, transportive coastal and emotional travelogue, a marriage of classic Beach Boy-esque shuffle to Milton Nascimento’s classic 1972 album Club Da Esquina 1. It’s the sonic embodiment of a truly noble, romantic red/orange/yellow sunset.

Owen Pallett: Island

Island_Owen Pallett

Composer-multi-instrumentalist Owen Pallett’s 5th solo studio album Island has a slightly complex backstory you can read about in this interview from earlier in the year. But you don’t have to know anything to appreciate it’s regal, airy, emotional classical/folk/chamber pop. Cryptic mystery and beauty abound on Island.


Look I made something for you ! I’ve assembled a playlist featuring highlights from all the aforementioned albums so you can digest things a bit easier. Check it out below and listen on shuffle for added enjoyment!

Best Albums of 2020 Highlight Playlist:

PuR’s 50 Best Songs of 2020

Saturday morning at 5 am was awoken by FDNY banging on all the doors of my east village NYC building & telling us to get out asap. It was one of those just the clothes on your back situations. We hustled outside to see 2 buildings engulfed in flames including the 128 year old Middle Collegiate Church only one building down from us. Burning embers were falling like snowflakes everywhere. It was terrifying & sad. Sat in the nearby shelter for a while worrying if my neighbors & myself were gonna lose everything. Blessedly FDNY got things under control & we were able to go back home after hours of non-stop worry. There was still a lot of destruction but the people were okay. It could have been even worse…but everyone’s still here.

This is not how I intended or ever imagined I’d present the PuR 50 Best Songs of 2020 Playlist but you know, the experience was so utterly in keeping with this nightmare of a year we are all trying to survive.

I wrote the stuff below before all that happened & in some ways it feels overly romantic & trivial but at the same time maybe it’s more meaningful now…right, so now I offer the original intro to the joy that is the PuR Best 50 Songs of 2020 Playlist written about a week ago …

One night in mid-November, I was putting together a playlist for this very blog at a time I was admittedly feeling kind of emo. Shit was seeming particularly overwhelming, sad & futile. I hit play on a random song & suddenly some internal wire was tripped & boom, just like that I was crying. Oddly, my first thought was not about a specific problem…it was that I couldn’t believe how something could sound so good, so gorgeously alive in the midst of the misery. It was a song I’d never heard before by an artist I didn’t know. It was a weird & powerful moment. Hey, it’s okay to roll your eyes. In regards to what 2020 felt like I know how on the nose that anecdote sounds…but it happened just like that. Fact is through all of 2020’s mayhem, there were still things being created, fussed over & invented, there was still plenty of dreaming happening, artists still made wondrous & crazy art.

The mission of the Picking Up Rocks blog has always been the same, to shine a light on the best music regardless of label affiliation or level of fame or social media presence or genre or perceived coolness because WHO CARES. A great song is a great song. And whenever I stumble upon a great song I want to share it no matter if it was born in a garage, someone’s bedroom, a state of the art studio or a freakin’ garden shed (dammit)!

And now we present PuR’s 50 Best Songs of 2020. You can listen on Spotify or Soundcloud but should note that since a few songs are not available on both platforms they are each a tiny bit different ( just think of it as an approximately 3 song bonus each way). You can not only hear the track that inspired all the aforementioned waterworks, Gilah’s “Better Young” but a bunch of other truly gorgeous & wonderful songs. Mostly I hope you discover or rediscover something that embraces you equally as hard & fills you with love & hope even if it’s just for a minute.


Listen on Soundcloud:

Listen on Spotify: