Review: “Memory Almost Full” by Paul McCartney (CD, 2007)

Today’s Pop Rescue from an unknown future, is 2007’s Memory Almost Full – the fourteenth album from legendary singer, songwriter, musician and ex-Beatle, Paul McCartney. Will this album make you Nod Your Head, or should it forever live in your Ever Present Past? Read on…

Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full (2007) album.
Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full (2007) album.

This 13 track CD opens with the heavy kick drum of second single, Dance Tonight. This is soon joined by a simple strummed backing track, with Paul’s vocals dropping down on top. The bass and bass drum thudding almost gives a White Stripes Seven Nation Army nod, but with McCartney’s light and tuneful vocals, which also includes whistling, steers it away enough. It’s a simple up-beat song about going out and dancing, and perhaps this helped it scale the UK charts to a peak of #26.

Next up is lead single Ever Present Past and this lifts the tempo, and instantly had me foot-tapping along. The thick chug of guitars alongside the crisp snare and hi-hats sound great, with Paul giving a bright complimenting vocal alongside the deeper notes of the guitar and bass. It’s a playful song and it works wonderfully well. Sadly, the track failed to capture the public’s heart, despite a really nice video, and it fell at #85 in the UK chart.

That’s followed by See Your Sunshine which is a much more mellow song with lots of wonderful ‘doo doo doo doo‘ vocal harmonies, another delicious bass, and they’re joined by some nice piano chords that sound like they’ve fallen out of a Beatles hit. It’s a great little song.

We’re on to some slightly haunting strings at the start of Only Mama Knows. The strings layer in as if from some harrowing movie scene, before a growling guitar bursts in and completely changes the track. Here, Paul gets to show off his rockier vocals and he sounds perfectly home as the band gallop along, but he also gets to show off some more vocal harmonies halfway through in between the roars of guitar.

You Tell Me follows this, and we’re treated to some really nice acoustic guitar, but there is a wonderful Beatle-esque style to some of the riffs and melodies here. It’s almost a lullaby in it’s rich layered sounds, and thoroughly chilled out reflective vocals and harmonies.

Then it’s Mr. Bellamy, which is presumably not a tribute to TV botanist David Bellamy (?). The song reflects on how ‘Bellamy has a lot to do‘ and how you must not ‘frighten him‘. It’s an example of one of those almost child-like narrative songs that you often heard in the Beatles’ discography like Bungalow Bill, Obla-di Obla-da, and Polythene Pam. Here though, the track has a latter part, that sort of drifts off with piano and flute that made me look at my player to check we hadn’t jumped track. It’s a silly song, and that’s okay.

Gratitude is next, and this gives Paul another chance to throw some harder rock vocals down. It’s almost a bit gospel in vocal tone, and it’s laden with repeated ever-reaching vocals and vocal harmonies as a snare rattles in the background. The track also does more of the all-instruments-at-once stabs, then suddenly contrasted with vocal harmonies, which is a style that’s repeated here in this album and on select Beatles songs.

Then we have Vintage Clothes. Once the initial intro passes, the track throws in a busy percussive sound that works really well, and it’s undercut with chugging guitars, piano, bass, and occasional vocal samples. Again, the vocal harmonies hit high and light, giving a great contrast in sounds, and collectively the track sounds very different to the rest of the songs here so far.

That leads straight into That Was Me, with Paul recalling lots of childhood, and activities that he’s seemingly done throughout his life. It’s a nice plodding track, and the bassist gets a great banquet of notes to meander through, whilst some ‘bah bah bah be dah‘ vocals dance across it despite it becoming harder and heavier as it progresses. It’s almost a trumpet-blowing track by Paul, without trumpets.

Again, that plunges straight into the next track, this time with a guitar strum of Feet In the Clouds. This is a nice mid-tempo song, that pitches Paul against some great acoustic guitars and not much else initially. The drum kit drops in and pulls the song together nicely. The end of the song picks up some vocal effects, that almost take a slightly psychedelic turn, but eventually it snaps out of this, returning us to Paul shining once again.

House Of Wax is next opening with dramatic piano, that you could mistake for a borrowed cup of from One Republic’s Apologize. Here though, Paul gets to show off his bigger higher vocal range wonderfully and is almost sounding like Morten Harket from A-ha. It’s quite a dramatic song, and one that could sound at home on a soundtrack. The guitar solo toward the end as someone rollocks the piano is quite fantastic, and it then duels with some roaring vocals from Paul. Fantastic track!

Then it’s time to stand next to the piano for The End Of The End. ‘No need to be sad‘ sings Paul, as he tells of how he wants people to tell jokes after he’s died. Whilst it’s a song about death – essentially his, he’s flanked with cellos and other mournful stringed instruments, and he manages to throw in a chirpy little whistling section. ‘No need to be sad‘ he repeats, as this lovely song closes.

The album closes with a snare and then some wailing guitars for Nod Your Head. This song sounds chaotic, and another ploddy catchy song. It has dramatic brass, some synths that sound like car horns, and Paul growls some of the vocals. This was the album’s closing single, and it didn’t bother the UK charts, perhaps because it was issued as a free song. It’s only 1m 59, so it’s a final little blast to the album.

Paul McCartney’s lead single ‘Ever Present Past’ (2007).


Over all, this album is pretty consistently solid, as you might expect for such an experienced songwriter, singer, and now soloist.

There’s plenty of Beatles echoes here, but I think that’s almost impossible for Paul to escape from that legacy, and to be honest, why should he? The tracks are slick, and the band are flawless throughout. Paul’s vocals are able to flit from growling rocker to soaring heartfelt highs, and playful old rogue with seemingly little effort required.

The highlights of this album are singles Ever Present Past (despite its dreadful charting), the wonderfully dramatic House Of Wax, the melancholic The End Of The End, and Dance Tonight, but there’s many songs here that are worth 4 out of 5.

There are a couple of lesser tracks though, and those are the more narrative styled ones, led by Mr. Bellamy, and That Was Me. The abruptness and chaos of Nod Your Head also jars a little but it’s length reduces the shock – plus I imagine that any remixes probably made it a belter of a song.

This McCartney album is definitely worth a play.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • 2007 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #5, certified Gold by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: 99p from a seller.

Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.