After the break-up of The Beatles in the spring of 1970, John Lennon decamped to America to work on primal therapy before working on the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album. Several months before, Paul McCartney went to his home in St John’s Wood in London and started working on his solo debut album. McCartney appeared one month before The Beatles’ final release; Let It Be. Mostly recorded on his own on a four track, McCartney has a more ragged and less polished effort than the meticulous work The Beatles typically released.
“The Lovely Linda” opens the album and washes over the listener like the breeze from an open window. It disappears as quickly as it came, replaced with a blues riff of “That Would Be Something” that sounds off the cuff and rides a cool groove. “Every Night” speaks to McCartney’s depression of the Beatles’ falling apart where he sings about staying in bed all day and blocking out the outside world.
“Hot As Sun/Glasses” is the first of four instrumentals on the album, a happy tune that changes into the playing of wine rims. “Junk” is a leftover from The Beatles sessions where Macca sings of items found in a junkyard, the track also later appears as an instrumental. “Teddy Boy” is decent leftover from The Beatles trip to India in 1968 that was originally worked on during the Let It Be sessions. “Man We Was Lonely” is a catchy yet throwaway track.
The most popular song here, “Maybe I’m Amazed” was never actually released as a single until several years later as a live version from Wings Over America. The song shows McCartney’s vulnerability in his love for the lovely Linda. “I’m a man, maybe I’m a lonely man/Who’s in the middle of something/that he doesn’t really understand”. The album shows it’s spirit when it follows up one of his most beloved tracks with an inconsequential instrumental. The album has a feel of a really trendy 90s indie rock album, veering from one style to another. While some of it is throwaway, it is always charming as Macca works out the start of his post Beatles life.
The 2011 special version of the album adds seven bonus tracks including outtakes and live versions of “Every Night” and “Hot As Sun”. Two live versions of “Maybe I’m Amazed” appear of which the echoey version from One Hand Clapping gets the nod over a more vocally raw 1979 performance.
McCartney – 8.5/10
Extra Disc – 6/10