I Appreciate Paul McCartney

This title has a double meaning, actually. First, poor Paul had to postpone two concerts in Japan this week because he got sick. He rarely postpones concerts for any reason, so it must be pretty serious. Obviously he’s not reading this, but I wish him all the best and I hope he gets better soon! ❤

Next, Paul released a new music video last week for his song "Appreciate" off of the NEW album. It features Paul and a Japanese robot, Newman. It's pretty weird, but Paul has always been a little "out there" (like the name of his current tour!), so this really isn't out of character for him. Anyway, I thought I'd share it here. It's quite charming.

That's all for now. Have a great week!

My Top 10 Favorite Solo Beatle Albums

So with an unexpected snow day today, I thought I’d post what I said I would post yesterday! For each album, I’ll also post some songs that I would recommend in particular. Keep in mind that this list is just my opinion, and because I mostly listen to George and Paul’s solo music, 90% of this list is composed of George and Paul albums. Sorry John and Ringo fans if you feel neglected, but I feel that even when John was still alive and making albums, George’s and Paul’s albums were better overall and more interesting. So anyway, here we go!

10. Imagine- John Lennon

Imagine

Imagine

I felt obliged to put one of John’s albums on here just to make it a bit more complete, and between this and Plastic Ono Band, I prefer this. For some reason, I prefer listening to John’s songs on shuffle rather than as full albums, but I do genuinely love this album. It has a number of my favorite John songs on it and it’s generally regarded as his best album, and I completely agree.
Recommended songs: Imagine, Jealous Guy, How Do You Sleep, Oh Yoko

9. Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1- Traveling Wilburys

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

This supergroup formed by George Harrison only made two albums, but I prefer this over the other one and listen to it quite frequently, which is why I’ve included it here. The songs are a good mix of compositions from George, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, and I love that it doesn’t sound like any individual member, but like a completely unique band. This is a great album to throw on when it’s a sunny afternoon and you just feel like listening to some cheerful music, and it always puts me in a good mood!
Recommended Songs: Handle With Care, End of the Line, Dirty World, Tweeter and the Monkey Man, Heading for the Light

8. Band On The Run- Paul McCartney and Wings

Band On The Run

Band On The Run

This album is consistently ranked as Paul’s best, and while I personally prefer a number of his other albums, I do concede that this is a stellar album. All of the songs are well-crafted and interesting, but the reason that it’s #8 on this list is that, for whatever reason, I just don’t listen to it all that much. Therefore, I can’t really consider it a favorite of mine. But I am listening to it now, and loving it!
Recommended songs: Band on the Run, Jet, Let Me Roll It, Mrs. Vandebilt, 1985

7. Flaming Pie- Paul McCartney

Flaming Pie

Flaming Pie

I often listen to this album while I’m doing homework, but it’s definitely not a background music-type of album. What I love most about it is the incredible diversity of songs on it that I don’t think Paul had done since Tug of War, another great album. This album sounds very timeless to me, and many regard it as Paul’s modern-day “comeback,” but honestly, I don’t think he ever left!
Recommended Songs: The Song We Were Singing, Flaming Pie, Somedays, Young Boy, Beautiful Night (which also features Ringo!)

6. Cloud Nine- George Harrison

Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine

Here it is, the first George solo album on this list, and I guarantee it won’t be the last! This is regarded as George’s major comeback album because it was a huge hit and featured his last #1 single “Got My Mind Set On You,” which was originally recorded in 1962 by Rudy Clark. I think this is probably George’s most fun and upbeat album, and I love that it was produced by ELO legend Jeff Lynne and also features Elton John on electric piano. What a great combo!
Recommended Songs: Cloud Nine, Got My Mind Set On You, Fish On The Sand, This Is Love, When We Was Fab, Devil’s Radio

5. Brainwashed- George Harrison

Brainwashed

Brainwashed

This was produced by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison and released posthumously in 2002. I believe it won a Grammy for something, but even if it didn’t, this is an absolutely beautiful album. George’s lyrics here are better than ever and the songs are his most honest since All Things Must Pass. Knowing that this was his last album, I sometimes get a little teary while listening to it, but I’m glad that he left us with one last beautiful creation before he passed.
Recommended Songs: Brainwashed, Any Road, Looking For My Life, Stuck Inside a Cloud, Pisces Fish

4. Venus and Mars- Paul McCartney and Wings

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

Here’s why I like this Wings album better than Band On The Run: The songs all tell an individual story, something that I don’t quite get with Band On The Run. I love that fellow band members Denny Laine and Jimmy McCullough each get to sing a song, which makes it feel more like a Beatles album. This album also contains my #1 favorite Paul solo song, Venus and Mars/Rockshow. Basically, if you like good old fashioned rock and roll, get this album!
Recommended Songs: Venus and Mars/Rockshow, Listen To What The Man Said, Magneto and Titanium Man, You Gave Me The Answer, Call Me Back Again

3. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard- Paul McCartney

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Out of all of Paul’s solo albums, this is perhaps his most honest and intimate. I love how piano-heavy it is, and the songs each have a certain magical quality that harkens back to the Beatle days. This is definitely Paul’s darkest album, and somehow after 40 years it also manages to be quite inventive and new-sounding. Paul is always reinventing himself, and that is definitely evident on this album.
Recommended Songs: Fine Line, English Tea, Too Much Rain, Riding to Vanity Fair, Friends to Go, How Kind of You

2. NEW- Paul McCartney

New

New

You may be thinking, “Didn’t this just come out? How can it be one of your favorites?” Well folks, it’s just that good. While many may not agree, I think this might be Paul’s best album ever; from start to finish, it’s perfection. It also sounds completely unlike anything he’s ever done, and for that I applaud him. Also, out of all of his albums, I think that I honestly enjoy listening to this the most. While the lyrics may not be his most inspired, this album is a true listening pleasure, and that’s why I love it!
Recommended Songs: Just get the whole album. Really. You won’t regret it!

1. All Things Must Pass- George Harrison

All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

This is definitely the easiest #1 choice on any list I’ve done so far, because there’s just no competition. All Things Must Pass is BY FAR the best solo Beatles album! This was a huge hit back in 1970, reaching #1 on the charts and featuring a #1 hit in My Sweet Lord. George made a lot of fantastic albums in his career, but none quite reach the mastery of this one. Song after song after song, it’s brilliant. If you own one album by a Beatle that’s not a Beatles album, it should absolutely be this one.
Recommended Songs: No even remotely subpar songs here. Get it all!

Whew, that was long! Sorry about that. But I hope you enjoyed this list, and if you’ve never listened to any solo Beatles music, it’s time to start! Enjoy the week!

Elton John’s “The Diving Board” is (captain) Fantastic!!!

The Diving Board

The Diving Board

So I promised to review this album a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve listened to it a couple of times. I have to say that I don’t normally listen to Elton John while I’m studying because most of his songs are so catchy that they honestly distract me from doing my work, but this album is different. “The Diving Board” is a relaxing collection of 15 relatively mellow, wonderful, piano-centric songs, and I’m absolutely in love with it!

I decided before this album and “New” came out that I would only pay for one of them on iTunes, and so after buying “New” the day it came out, I had to wait a few weeks for this album to come in to the library. It was definitely worth the wait! I usually listen to new albums like “New” at night as a reward after I’ve finished my homework, but the week I got this album, I was very busy. So, I decided to go against my usual principles and listen to it while doing some work, and as soon as I heard the first notes of the first track, “Oceans Away,” I knew that this was the perfect context in which to hear this album for the first time!

I won’t do a track-by-track analysis of this album like I did for “New” because the songs here aren’t quite as diverse, so my descriptions wouldn’t vary much from song to song. However, the fact that many of the songs sound kind of similar definitely works in this album’s favor. It’s not an upbeat, poppy album at all, but the songs are so beautifully written and recorded that it is art all the same. I can’t believe that after all these years, Elton and Bernie Taupin are still writing together, and the lyrics on this album are stellar.

The standout song is probably the single, “Home Again,” that Elton has performed on just about every single talk show in existence at some point this fall. I also love the instrumental “Dream” tracks, and the afore-mentioned “Oceans Away” is stunningly beautiful. The only song that kind of drags on a bit for me is the title track “The Diving Board,” but it’s still a very pretty song. Overall, the entire album just works in a way that while not many of the songs stick out from each other, it’s not at all boring. On the contrary, it’s a fascinating and wonderful listen. This will probably become my go-to Elton John album to listen to while doing work, and I don’t think I’ll get sick of it any time soon.

I don’t know that I would recommend this as the first Elton John album for a new fan to listen to, but if you like Elton John already, do not pass this up! Here’s a video of Elton performing “Oceans Away” in Providence a few days ago. He sounds fantastic, and I am extremely excited about seeing him live in 16 days!!!!

Have a lovely week!

Maybe I’m amazed by Paul McCartney’s “New”!

New

New

Paul McCartney has been seemingly everywhere recently. He showed up at a Queens high school not 20 miles from where I live and gave a surprise concert to the students there! He gave a surprise show in Times Square last week! He gave a surprise show in Covent Garden, London, this week! He’s performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and basically everywhere else. And all of this is to promote his new album, “New”! I’ve been looking forward to this album for weeks, and it does not disappoint in the slightest!!!

I downloaded and listened to this album the day it came out, and I was absolutely blown away. It is modern, slick, and different than anything from Paul I’ve ever heard. And yet, it still sounds like signature Paul to me! The songs are catchy and amazingly produced, with an almost spacey vibe. I won’t dissect each song for hours, because that would get a bit tedious, but I will give a one-sentence sum up of all the songs.

1. Save Us- An awesome uptempo rocker kind of like “Only Mama Knows” from his last solo album, Memory Almost Full, although I think this is better.

2. Alligator- I think this is the most musically interesting song on the album, and I was transfixed the first time I listened to it by all the cool sounds throughout.

3. On My Way To Work- The lyrics remind me of “A Day In The Life” a bit, and while the song itself doesn’t, it is a fantastic song nonetheless.

4. Queenie Eye- One of my favorites on the album, because it’s so catchy, interesting, and just all around AMAZING!!!

5. Early Days- An acoustic, nostalgic, beautiful song that is basically classic Paul.

6. New- I’ve already shared my thoughts on this song, but it’s very Beatley and I LOVE IT!!!!!!

7. Appreciate- A little too electronic to be a favorite of mine, but it is a very cool song that sounds a lot like something Dhani Harrison and thenewno2 would do.

8. Everybody Out There- Extremely catchy with a great opening riff that will surely become a live favorite in the near future!

9. Hosanna- A very different sound than Paul usually does, but it’s fascinating to listen to, and almost sounds like “Tomorrow Never Knows” at the end.

10. I Can Bet- This song is really fun and upbeat, which is what Paul does best!

11. Looking At Her- Another amazing song that has interesting lyrics and is just fascinatingly cool.

12. Road- WOW!!!!!! That is all.

13. Turned Out- A fantastic little ditty that had me singing along before I even knew the words.

14. Get Me Out Of Here- The first half is very Wings-esque, and the second half is an intimate, beautiful piano ballad in which Paul amazes me with his talent, yet again.

So, if I had to rate this album, I would give it a 10 out of 10, 5 stars, and the absolute highest praise I could possibly bestow upon it!!! I think this is better overall than his last solo album, Memory Almost Full, and I think it might actually be better than what I’ve decided is my favorite Paul solo album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. I won’t go so far as to say that it’s the best solo Paul album ever, but it’s definitely up there with the best of his Wings and solo career, in my opinion.
What I think makes it so great is that it doesn’t sound like something from the 60s. It’s very modern, but in a good way because it’s so amazingly produced and sounds so great. The songs are all very diverse, yet they all fit together well, and that makes the album interesting and fun to listen to. And best of all, I don’t think you have to be a Paul fan, or even a Beatle fan, to like this album. I believe that anyone who says they like modern pop, which is a very large amount of people, would enjoy listening to this album! It’s very current, very Paul, and absolutely brilliant!!!! I’m listening to it again right now, and I know this will become a regular part of my musical rotation.

I haven’t listened to Elton John’s new album in its entirety yet, and I may do a review for that in the near future. But for now, although I haven’t bought or listened to that many albums released this year, I say that this should definitely be in the running for “Album Of The Year” at the Grammys. If you haven’t bought it, no matter who you are, I highly recommend it and suggest that you buy it! You will be amazed!!!

In honor of Halloween in 10 days, here's Paul McCatney.

In honor of Halloween in 10 days, here’s Paul McCatney.

What’s happening in Paul McCartney/Elton John Land

I. Love. Them. :)

I. Love. Them. 🙂

So, this past week there has been a lot going on with two of my favorite musicians, Paul McCartney and Elton John! First, both of them performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas last weekend, and while I was not in attendance, I loved watching both of them perform via a live online stream! They were fantastic as always and performed many awesome songs, two of which I will share with you in this post!
Here’s Elton John doing a rousing rendition of Tiny Dancer on Day 1 of the festival:

And here’s Paul McCartney performing a great song, “Save Us”, off of his new album on Day 2! I cannot wait for this album to come out in October!

I loved watching the Emmys this past Sunday, because not only did my favorite actor, Jim Parsons, take home another award, but Elton John also performed! He did a “tribute” to Liberace, which was nice except that it seemed more like a plug for his new single, “Home Again”, than a tribute to a fallen musical legend. Oh well, he was great anyway and I love the song!

So after that, Paul made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Monday night, giving a hilarious interview and performing a free concert on Hollywood Blvd for 10,000 lucky fans! I watched that as well, and Paul amazed me with his unbelievable talent as he always does. Here’s Paul performing his new single, “New”, from that concert!

I also enjoyed watching Elton John’s appearance on the Ellen show on Wednesday. Here’s a funny clip of him talking to Ellen about Miley Cyrus’s controversial performance at the VMAs this year. He is just hilarious!

So I didn’t think this week could get any better, but then it did! I had been not-so-subtly dropping hints to my family that I really wanted to get tickets to one of Elton John’s upcoming concerts at Madison Square Garden in December. Well, just as I was writing down instructions to my parents about how to get the online presale tickets, my dad informed me that via the Chase Pre-Presale, they had already gotten two tickets to his concert on December 3rd!!!! That’s right folks, I’m going to an Elton John concert!!! YAY!!!!!! I’m so excited!!!! Thanks mom and dad! 🙂
I honestly can’t believe that we’ve been able to obtain tickets to see not one, but TWO Sirs in one year! What incredible luck! In honor of this amazing situation, I’m planning on posting my top 10 favorite Elton John songs tomorrow!
Have a great weekend!

Paul McCartney’s “New” Song!

This week, as I was tuned in to the 12:00 Beatle Block on Q 104.3, I heard something that caught me completely off guard. They reported that Paul McCartney had just released a new single, entitled, rather appropriately, “New”, and that his new album was coming out on October 14th in the UK and October 15th in the US! I knew that Paul was making a new album, but I had no idea about this new song! What a wonderful surprise for a Beatles/McCartney fanatic like me!
And so I thought I’d share this song and my thoughts on it here on my blog. Here you go!

My first thought when I first listened to this song was, “IT’S BEATLE PAUL!!!! HE’S BACK!!!” Not that he ever left, of course, but this song is so wonderfully Beatlesque that I practically jumped for joy when I heard it. It’s so bouncy and happy, and I’m almost certain that wrote the lyrics with his wife Nancy in mind. There’s definitely a lot of Penny Lane in there, with some Got To Get You Into My Life and Fixing A Hole for good measure. And yet it doesn’t sound retro, but instead it sounds fresh and modern. I love how Paul continues to reinvent himself with every song and album he releases, and as long as he keeps loving to make music, it will show in his songs.
As much as I love George, nothing makes me quite as instantly happy as hearing Paul’s voice, and it’s awesome that he’s going strong after all these years. He is still a relevant musician, he can still write amazing songs, and he still rocks! I can’t wait for the album in October! I LOVE PAUL!!!!!!