Picks and Pans Review: Mccartney Ii

updated 07/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Paul McCartney

Paul has clipped his Wings and flown solo for the first time since 1970's McCartney. He wrote, sang, played, produced and engineered the entire album. There is something admirable about such self-sufficiency, but there is also an isolated, almost desolate quality to some of these tunes that was absent in Wings' buoyant, lush pop-rock. Songs like Front Parlour, Darkroom, Frozen Jap and Temporary Secretary include quirky non sequiturs and are too cute—full of synthesizers and vocal doodads. They don't communicate so much as illustrate Paul's mastery of the machinery. And yet Waterfalls and One of These Days are both pretty, and Summer's Day Song is the most haunting tune McCartney has done in years, a lullaby of synthesizers and warm harmonies. McCartney is one of the few certifiable geniuses in his hype-crazed business, but in this incarnation he seems motivated by contradictory impulses—to be both enigmatic and sentimental. Admirers will be inclined to forgive him his idiosyncrasies while hoping he brings back some of his musical colleagues for the next project. They are needed to restore a little of the human dimension to his art.

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