Wings At The Speed Of Sound (Reissue)
I’m surprised he didn’t rename the album Paul McCartney & Wings At The Speed of Sound however, here we go, the McCartney/Wings reissue series rolls on and here’s one of my favourites from the Wings catalogue, the group’s fifth album, Wings At The Speed of Sound.
Hard to believe, hearing it now, that this album was the subject of some fairly harsh reviews, the songwriting here is great – and it gives real credence to the idea of Wings as band, the members all contributing to the writing and in most cases to the singing. McCartney’s two great compositions here – the enduring hits – are Silly Love Songs (also maligned, unfairly too, I reckon) and Let ‘Em In. But there are other standouts – including Beware My Love and among the bonus features of this reissue is the John Bonham version of that song. A typically wonderful Bonham performance, really has his stamp (and stomp) on it and makes you wish the rest of the backing track wasn’t a thrown-together guide-track/demo – there’s a lot of energy carried through his playing and a fully polished version with him on drums would have made the tune an absolute standout.
There’s also a demo version (Paul solo) of Must Do Something About It which has a nice, low-key homegrown lazy-country feel to it and makes it seem more like something that could have mingled with some of the Ram material. And a (rough) demo of Let ‘Em In, the song’s magic comes from the groove so whilst it’s interesting hearing this song-sketch – particularly for McCartney’s vocalisations to block out arranging ideas – the tune doesn’t really hold anything without that slinky groove to support it.
The closing instrumental demo of Warm and Beautiful is a curio that you won’t be desperate to return to, slight with an Eno-esque tone. But demos of Silly Love Songs and She’s My Baby are far more interesting, again for showing some (aural) insight into how Paul was working.
I’m happy with this for the standard album – it sounds great, which wasn’t the case with the earlier CD version and songs like Time To Hide and The Note You Never Wrote have definitely benefited – sounding now like clear standouts – from the remastering approach.
Then again I’m saying all of this as a fan of the album – I think it was always one of Wings’ best. I look forward to everyone else catching up and agreeing of course.