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Band On The Run

Wings

1973

Band on the Run was McCartney's "breakthrough" album with his new band Wings.  I say "breakthrough" because, for this reviewer, McCartney had already made a better (albeit more simple) album a few years earlier with "Ram".  But after The Beatles broke up, people were looking for bold artistic statements from each former member (well except maybe from Ringo) and both Lennon and Harrison had already delivered highly acclaimed albums a few years earlier.  McCartney seemed to be the whipping-boy in the press, as they generally were unimpressed and oddly scathing in their review of this prior solo outings (which is even more bemusing considering how good "Ram" is in retrospect, but I digress).  So McCartney formed a full-time band (Wings) and they subsequently produced Band on the Run as their 2nd album.  What stands out about Band on the Run is the high production value and attention to detail found throughout the album.   McCartney seemed intent on silencing his critics and producing the type of grand/epicly composed album that everyone had been expecting from him.  This was his post-Bealtes artistic statement, and it's a fine one at that.  It's a much more polished and focused outing compared to Ram, but as a result it is less spontaneous, quirky, and fun.  It kind of has that post-60s hangover vibe permeating throughout the album, sounding very much of the era as a result.  But McCartney is still McCartney, so there is an element of peculiar fun in many of these songs, but overall, the album has a somewhat dreary quality, which doesn't drag it down so much as it contributes to an engaging and unique atmosphere.  There's not really a bad song to be found here, but on the flipside, there are no epics either.  Overall it's a very smooth album, pure ear-candy for the most part, an album that helped McCartney regain his reputation as one of the best pop composers of all-time.

8.8

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