- Album name: Tug of War
- Artist name: Paul McCartney
- Year: 1982
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Scratched into side 1 of LP: PUSHING + PULLING SG AL 37462-1BA G G10
- Scratched into side 2 of LP: PUSHING + PULLING SG BL 37462-1AE G
- Buy it on Amazon: $37.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve never heard this record, but I’ve reviewed a bunch of post-Beatles Faul McCartney records, and have not been impressed.
What I expected
Faul’s granny shit, perhaps updated to a 1980s new wave sound.
What it was actually like
There were not any good songs on this record, but the most interesting was The Pound Is Sinking. It was a tiny bit Oompa Loompa, and also a tiny bit rocksteady. I was not sure how to classify it, but I think I would listen to it again.
Another slightly Oompa Loompa song was Ballroom Dancing, which had a good tempo, but I hated the horns – and was that a clarinet? Get It was the most Oompa Loompa song, and the one that fit most acoustically into what Lennon would have described as Faul’s Granny shit.
And on the subject of Lennon, Here Today was a sad song about his death. It was not good musically – I especially did not like the violins – but it was the closest to what I would have expected McCartney to have written towards the end of the Beatles era.
What’s That You’re Doing? and Ebony and Ivory, both of which McCartney recorded with Stevie Wonder, were the two worst songs on the record. The former had a kind of techno-funk sound that anticipated hip hop (though hip hop already had existed by the early 1980s for a while), and the latter was incredibly stupid and would have been better as just elevator music with no lyrics. I was not sure if I had ever heard it before or if I’d just heard of it, but it was so forgettable that if I were to hear it again in an hour, I probably wouldn’t recognize it.
Some of these songs, by the way, sounded like they had autotuned vocals, even though I did not think that was a thing until the late 1990s, and Wanderlust was an example.
The title track Tug of War was completely devoid of anything interesting, but also not particularly bad, either, had a very produced sound, and went from acoustic folk rock to a much harder rock sound in the middle. I guess it sounded kind of McCartneyesque.
Be What You See also changed sounds in the middle, opening like an Enya song, then turning into some kind of rock-disco crap.
Take It Away was much more new wave and terribly reggae-influenced. Somebody Who Cares was soft rock, with flute.
2/5: bad, but I was able to listen to the whole thing
Tom Vee says
2/5?? I’ll never read another review by him again. This is one of Paul’s best CD’s. I see his review grades were not higher than 3/5 for the other Paul McCartney/Wings CDs
Tom Vee says
Oh, you’re the owner of this website? Goodbye 👋 🤢🤮
Natan Gesher says
Sorry to hear that you won’t be reading any more of my reviews!
Assuming I keep up with my current pace of one record review per day, I have a few more months left to this project, but at a glance, I believe the only one featuring McCartney will be a bootleg from the Get Back sessions – nothing else from his post-Beatles career.
I hope you weren’t too offended by what I wrote about him. I just believe that he and Lennon balanced each other perfectly and needed each other to make great music, and that he was no more able to do it alone (or with Linda) than Lennon was able to do it alone (or with Yoko).
Michael Anderson says
So you basically trash every record he made? Granted, l don’t care for everything he wrote, but it’s obvious you are not a fan of any of the post Beatle records. To bad.
Natan Gesher says
No, of course not. If I wanted to trash his records, I would probably just write, “THIS SUCKS,” and might not even bother listening. Obviously he was wildly talented, but I don’t believe that he was capable of creating great music when removed from the context of the Beatles.
That’s correct. I think Let It Be and Abbey Road were the two worst Beatles records because they were hardly even a band anymore by that point, and instead were more like four business partners and (former) friends who got together periodically to record their own individual songs. And I don’t think that any of them did anything even as good as those two records after they foolishly dissolved their partnership.