“Paul’s new album can be summed up in one word “Brilliant’. In this writer’s opinion it is the best album in more than a decade. Paul has taken risks with this LP and for the first time in a long time he has not been afraid to experiment.
The first side starts with the first of McCartney/Stewart compositions ‘Stranglehold’. This is possibly the most commercial track on ‘Press To Play’. Paul’s vocal is particularly strong on this song. Next up is a song entitled ‘GoodTimes Coming/Feel The Sun’ which as you may have guessed is a medley of two songs. ‘Good Times Coming’ has a distinctly reggae feel. The stereo effect is used very well here. This would have made a good summertime single and is a very positive song in the best sixties tradition. After a slightly disappointing link, we get the ‘Feel The Sun part of the track which is little more than a chorus but is very catchy. Paul’s first experimental track is ‘Talk More Talk’. The song starts with dreamlike synths and eerie voices then the violins come in sounding very ‘Broad Street’ ish and then the song starts properly. The lyrics are very abstract but nonetheless work well. Many people have talked about this being a future single but I do not think it is strong enough really. The first track that one can see becoming regarded as a McCartney classic Is ‘Footprints’. This is a superb plece of work, faultless both lyrically and production wise. The big production ballad is ‘Only Love Remains’. It is true that the production is very good but the song itself is not one of Paul’s best ballads. This was a good choice for a single because it is the type of song that people like to hear Paul sing. Possibly my least favourite song on the LP.
Onto side two, we find ‘Press’ of course, my copy features the 12° version though your copy may well have the original 7′ version. A good track but a strange choice for a single. “Pretty Little Head’, the follow up single is next. This is absolutely superb and the backing track sounds like an eighties version of Tomorrow Never Knows’. A very interesting lyric. The vocal on the album version is quite far back in the mix. This is Paul’s first stab at psychedelia In many many years and is very successful. This is my favourite track on ‘Press To Play’. After this atmospheric song comes Paul’s Jokey ‘Move Over Busker’. I like some of the silly lines such as ‘l saw Mae West in a sweaty vest’ but as a whole the song is not very satisfying. “Angry’ shows that in spite of what some people might have thought Paul still has a superb rock voice. The vocal is almost heavy metalish, sounding similar to AC/DC of all people. The backing track is however a little less than one might have expected from a line up featuring Paul, Pete Townshend and Phil Collins but in spite of that it is a superb track mainly because of Paulie’s vocals. The final track is ‘However Absurd’ which is extremely Beatleish and is another of the highlights of the album. Again Paul has been willing to experiment with his lyrics.
All in all Paul has shown that he can give us great music. The things I have found lacking in several of his solo albums are found on this album. Paul’s vocals are his best in many years and his lyrics are his most interesting since the sixties. Unfortunately ‘Press to Play’ has proved to be less successful than normal so we may see a return to an attempt at pure commercialism on his next album which would be a bit of a shame. It is the fact that Paul has been more daring that makes the LP so good. The Beatles always stretched themselves in an attempt to drag popular music forward and Paul has returned to this on ‘Press To Play’. I just hope he is not deterred.
By Rob Turner.