Rate-A-Record Response & Review

06 Jul

OK. Sir Paul’s Dance Tonight.

The overwhelming consensus from those of you who responded was somewhere between a 2 and a 3 on the 5 star scale. Some of the comments:

“I was intrigued by the mandolin. But then I got bored.”

“I think End of the End is a much better song.”

“I really wanted to like this song.”

“It feels rather like treason but there isn’t any saving grace in this song for me.”

“I adore Paul McCartney, but this song does absolutely nothing for me.”

“I find myself humming “Dance Tonight,” and smiling at its child-like hook. ”

I think that perhaps the most applicable comment came from Wompuss:

” Just a happy lil ditty that reminds me of the old Beatles.”

She is actually right on the mark. While everybody certainly is entitled to their own opinion and may not like such pop dittys, Sir Paul has stayed as true to “his roots” as one can. I think that in these days of “shallow” music, those of us who really appreciate good music and respect the music history that has come before this new millennium, come to only appreciate music that is prolific and what we consider to be consistent with artistic integrity. However, what we might lose in the introspection is that some of the music that we love and consider to be classically prolific from the past are simply, “happy lil ditties”.

For me, this release is classic McCartney. And, Sir Paul holds true to The Beatles’ songbook and is very consistent to his sound. Truth be known, he has done so since the early ’60s. Dance Tonight is light, airy and fun yet it exudes talent by highlighting the mandolin. For me, it hearkens back to some of the Beatles “ditties” of:

Love Me Do

Eight Days a Week

When I’m 64

Penny Lane


and then there are the Wings years:

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

Silly Love Songs

With A Little Luck

and we can never forget:

Ebony & Ivory

All of this is to make the point that Sir Paul is exactly the same Paul he’s been for 45 years. To think that Dance Tonight is out of character or “not up to his standards” is just preposterous when you look at his history and past works. I think Paul enjoys the “ditty” and the infectious “fun” that some of his songs provide.

As for me….I like Dance Tonight. I agree that it makes me feel good and I’m a HUGE sucker for the mandolin so this is right up my alley. For validation, I called up #1 son, who happens to be a Beatles and McCartney authority and asked his opinion. He likes Dance Tonight and Memory Almost Full, in general but admits that it’s not his most favorite McCartney compilation. He’s going to shoot me a copy later but says that Paul’s effort, at 65, is phenomenal considering his recent personal situation and the fact that he’s been in this business for 45 years.

Not out of pity or historical admiration, but because I really enjoy the song and it’s enthusiasm, I give Dance Tonight 4 stars…. ****


Posted by on July 6, 2007 in rate a record, Uncategorized


7 responses to “Rate-A-Record Response & Review

  1. Colette

    July 6, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    We are right in tune gain, MM. Absolutely agree. And with some artists, it’s hard to separate the personal from the art — and so what? I must say that most of the Wings years left me behind. But the sweetness of this ditty is welcome. Few pop musicians go to “sweetness” anymore.

    Looking forward to listening to all you’ve posted. And there can never be too much Beatles! Just found this five set of several songs songs (Paul ripping along on “Kansas City,” John’s peppy self-flagellating “I’m a Loser” (yay), and Ringo on “Boys” on “Shindig” in 1964.

    Listen to George’s terrific guitar solo at the end. Eric who?

  2. brc

    July 6, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Well I respect your opinion and Colette’s. You both know WAY more about music than I do. I truly enjoy almost all of the songs you posted above (silly love songs isn’t a favorite) however I just don’t hear it in Dance Tonight.

    Anyway I thought the Rate-a-Record idea was fun and I enjoyed hearing everyone’s opinions. Hope you’ll do it again.

  3. huckleberryfriend

    July 7, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I rarely hear the lyrics to a song as words – rather just another piece of the music. So while the lyrics (words) to this song are weak, they do complement the song musically.

    I’ve heard singer songwriters like Donald Fagan (Steely Dan) and John Fogerty (CCR) say they often chose words based on how they sound rather than what they mean. And how else could the lyrics “Tin Roof – Rusted” be explained if not for how it sounds?

  4. music maven

    July 7, 2007 at 9:55 am

    To be clear, I’m not saying that this song is a classic or has any kind of significant value in the world of music. My point was really that it’s just very consistent with Paul’s style of music and other songs he’s been a part of in the past. He’s not trying to change his music, just do more of the same. While the other Beatles explored into different “styles”, Paul has stayed true to the pop formula and what he’s good at and comfortable with.

    At this point in his career, he’s not concerned with setting the woods on fire or re-inventing the wheel, he just wants to make and share his music. I think that’s admirable and I am very glad that he has not chosen to hole himself up in castle in Scotland and never “come out to play”.

    Many of The Beatles and Wings’ songs were just clever, fun ditties that everyone couldn’t help but love. Sir Paul continues to deliver music — some lighthearted, and some a little more prolific like End of the End.

    I appreciate everyone’s comments and participation. I’ll be doing more of these and I hope that everyone will continue to give their honest feedback. There is no right or wrong answer. People like what they like or don’t what they don’t and if you like something that I don’t, or vice versa, it has no bearing on the validity of the song’s value….for music is in the ear of the beholder. Everyone’s opinion is valued and counts, equally…there really are no musical “experts”.

  5. leejolem

    July 7, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    MM, I loved this post. To me so many of the Beatles’ songs were fun, but very light-hearted and kind of silly. That’s not to take away from their value, but I think sometimes over time people start to think of bands from previous eras as “serious artists” and forget that some of their biggest hits were fun ditties. Does that make sense? I listened and liked, not loved, Paul’s new song.

  6. music maven

    July 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Eggsactly, lee.

  7. Colette

    July 7, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Great attitude, MM! I love the openness to all opinions, and the civility at your place to go along with the passion!

    something else about the Beatles: the early songs may have often been silly or trite in terms of the meaning of the lyrics. But musically the band’s been pretty sensational since the start, and influential in ways no one can ever fully measure.

    Great point that Paul is still being Paul. Watch that “Shindig” I posted on this thread, or the stuff on the covers thread and what you posted, and you’ll see a born extroverted performer who loves to mix it up and has a sweet, romantic streak that was a great balance to John’s more skeptical, introspective nature.

    What happened when the two got together as kids, and P’s discussed it, was a fantastic leap in musical sophistication and alchemy — especially with George and Ringo mixed in.

    the endorphin-lifting SOUND of Beatles music, the chord structures, the instrumental arranges meshing with the harmonies and, as one poster here put it so well, the RHYTHM and SOUND of their lyrics (critical in songwriting) were tremendous.

    Also the richness of their influences — from “Greensleeves” and other old Irish/English folk music, to Chuck Berry rock, to the Everly Brothers bluegrass harmonies, Elvis and Carl Perkins rockabilly, Ravi Shankar — the list goes on. They listened, and through their talent and willingness to experiment sifted and absorbed.

    So here’s my main point (sorry for the ramble): that unique juxtaposition of talents could not last forever, and Paul went off to do his thing as did John. They each became MORE who they were as individuals. But musically, they also had created so much together that on the level of sheer craft, and passion, they as solo artists (George too!) will always have a place in the pantheon too.

    If we were playing Desert Island Discs and were allowed only one or two records involving any Beatles? For me, “Rubber Soul” and “Meet the Beatles” or “Revolver” or “The White Album” and and and and and…..would win every time. And from that music, Paul’s spirit goes on. And it’s a wonderful spirit to have strumming on a mandolin and cheering us along in troubling times.


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