Paul McCartney – Press To Play (1986)

“George Hurrell took the Cover Photograph with the same box camera he used in Hollywood in the thirties.” Though none of the pictures he took then involved men wearing mullets.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of Beatles Related holes in my record library and not just The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles Hits sized ones. This much maligned (by me among others) mid-80s Paul McCartney release, his 6th solo studio album, is just the sort of music that I’m happy, through the miracle of Smeeth Boot Fair, to reappraise. The last time I heard Press To Play was when I borrowed the CD sometime in the early 90s to aid in the compiling of a definitive series of Macca cassettes for myself. In the event, I only chose one track.

However, in 2011, I’m pleased to report that things open surprisingly strongly. Side one shows plenty of melodic and production invention (yes, loud drums do feature; Hugh Padgham was the co-producer, after all), Paul regularly employing a supple falsetto to pleasant effect, culminating in a couple heartfelt ballads. Inspiration starts to wane on the second half with the previously discussed title track, half-baked electronica and petulant “rocking” nearly sinking proceedings till a late lucky strike saves the day.

I can’t imagine haters finding much to like here, but lovers will find much to rediscover and enjoy.

"The images in the centre spread are stereo drawings made by Paul during mixing, to pin-point the position of sounds in the stereo picture."

“The images in the centre spread are stereo drawings made by Paul during mixing, to pin-point the position of sounds in the stereo picture.”


Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i do like those stereo drawings in the center spread, but would probably struggle with the actual music contained within

  2. what i like about this site is that although i may have little or no interest in the subject matter, i can often find something related to comment (or rant!) about… in this case it’s the 12″ single release of the (almost) title track of this album…

    a while back i was listening to an online mix of ambient-style dance stuff, and thinking one track was pretty good, i checked out the credits and was surprised to see it was supposedly macca with a track called “hanglide” (also on the “press” 12″)

    i had made a note to pick up a copy of said 12″ to see make sure it wasn’t an error by the mix compiler (after all it didn’t sound very macca-like to me ha ha). this entry reminded me of that, so this time i made sure by checking it out on youtube (why didn’t i think of that first time around?), and yes it still sounds like the same track (btw i advise not watching the pathetic video the music accompanies):

    presumably macca wanted to make a point that he could do dance music just as competently as the specialists (and to be frank, if you have the equipment available most could likely do just as well a job). although i still quite like this track (it reminds me of “searching” by change), it is not without some reservations as to me it doesn’t seem fair that a multi-millionaire pop superstar like him can gatecrash that particular party

    i am aware that macca has also dabbled in other dance projects under the supposedly secret alias of “the fireman” (that he’s not been shy in letting the media know of!), and didn’t cliff richard try and pull a similar stunt by releasing a record in a hipper vein under an alias to prevent prejudice? stock aitken and waterman definitely did so with “roadblock”…

    do other readers have this issue with people you normally dislike (or are at best usually indifferent toward) making music that floats your boat (espcially if they don’t need the money)? my view is that it could be acceptable if either they really did hide their true identities so nobody ever found out, or if they gave all such recordings away free in a generous act of philanthropy ha ha! (or at least gave the profits to charity)…

  3. listening again, it also has a touch of simple minds about it – and i mean that in a good way i.e. simple minds pre-“don’t you forget about me”…

  4. The one time W’force enjoys a post-’65 Beatles release and I have to disagree–oh the irony. Having pulled out the “Press” 12″, I stand by my original assertion here that for all its lack of personality “Hanglide” may as well be a Toto backing track–and I don’t mean that in a good way. 😉

  5. ha ha – post-’65 is not quite a wasteland for me as far as the fab four are concerned: i loved macca’s almost-funky “coming up” when it came out (and still quite like it now), and lennon had a couple of decent solo efforts with “no 9 dream” (even yoko sounds good on it!) and “jealous guy”, that i never actually got to hear until after roxy’s tribute/cash-in (delete as appropriate) version (although ferry & co just have the edge)… and of course lennon made a contribution to bowie’s “fame”, that i regard as one of the finest white funk tracks ever made

    but after that the trail goes cold i’m afraid…

  6. sorry – i’ve just remembered i also like “julia” off the white album – shame they didn’t explore the acoustic-picking folky route further…

  7. That’s an interesting idea because I think it’s one with legs, as they say. Even the guitarist could’ve got on board with it.

  8. if that appeals to you, you might like this:

  9. It took me years to hear Nick Drake (first album). I couldn’t understand why my friends hadn’t told me earlier.

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