Friday, September 15, 2006

Rethinking McCartney's 'Chaos and Creation'

It's been a very busy week for me with teaching and other chair-related activities but I've been doing a fair amount of listening to music while driving my car or using the *new* itunes 7.0 (which is pretty cool.)

One thing that has occurred to me this week in listening once again to Paul McCartney's wonderful Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (which I reviewed here just a year ago today, coincidently) is that, in the light of what has gone on in McCartney's life this past year - a pending divorce - maybe listening with that in mind will reveal some new insights. Indeed it has.

Many, perhaps most, of the songs on the album might refer to the sadness and frustration which Paul had been experiencing. Listen to "Friends to Go," for example or, more directly, "Riding to Vanity Fair." Even songs like "Too Much Rain" might be Paul trying to cheer himself up and reminding himself to put a good face on things.

Because McCartney has a long history of playing with words just for fun (remember "Temporary Secretary"?) it is easy for me to dismiss his words as just fun wordplay. "English Tea" might be a prime example on this album. But there are too many songs that reference betrayal and sadness for me to ignore it. I even wonder if "Fine Line" is a reference to his brother's recent legal trouble, although the timing on that one might be off. When he sings "Come home brother, all is forgiven, We all cried when you were driven away" I at first just took "brother" to be generic. Now I wonder if it really is about his brother! I think Chaos and Creation shows Paul telling us a lot more than we first thought about how he was really feeling about a lot of things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so much for the gifted and talented...McCartney may have the brights in music and songwriting but this choice (Mills) yet again reinforces what Voltaire once said that Mark Twain parroted: 'common sense isn't common'
Come on,Paul she used to make dirty movies! :)