Paul McCartney’s “All The Best” Reviewed
It is indicative of Paul McCartney’s state of mind always that when he called his 1987 18th solo release, the compilation All The Best, what he meant was all the biggest hits and not all the best songs. Paul didn’t care if there was some limited embarrassment when eleven of the seventeen songs were credited to Wings, and another three were also from the 1970s, leaving three songs, “Say Say Say,” “No More Lonely Nights,” and “Ebony And Ivory,” to represent his entire 1980s output. There was no reason for McCartney not to throw some stardust on his 80s output. There was nothing to stop Macca throwing in “Tug Of war,” or even “Here Today”. It was McCartney’s call and McCartney considered best to be the same as bestselling.
All The Best is so odd, it starts with two songs off Band On The Run, fast forwards to “Ebony And Ivory,” double backs to Venus and Mars, then his most recent hit at the time from 1984, two off At The Speed Of Sound, fast forward to Michael Jackson (and “Say Say Say” instead of “The Girl Is Mine”), the Bond song, the Paulie transitional “Another Day,” “Junior’s Farm” which makes sense and then the B Side to “Hi Hi Hi,” “C Moon,” which makes zero point zero zero sense, a song from Ram, two songs that I always place together but probably shouldn’t, and ends with “My Love” –a perfect example of art as exercise. It makes so sense, it doesn’t flow, it is neither nor and it isn’t the best of McCartney solo (cmon, at least include “Maybe I’m Amazed”. But even so I prefer the songs I don’t like, the “Let Em In”’s and the “Ebony And Ivory”’s more here than anywhere else.
Really, this is popstar Paulie, middle of the road Paulie, hit machine Paulie and the thing that comes to mind is how at his very worse there is always musical intelligence, “Say Say Say” is terrible but in its shuddering horror there is more musical thought than, say, Celine Dion’s greatest achievement. And it fails to build momentum, the “C Moon” to “Junior’s Farm” one two makes nothing but sense but then you’re force fed “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”. So he goes from rough and tumble rock pop to rough and tumble rock pop to symphonic pop majesty. Eh? The album reaches its zenith with “Coming Up,” To “Goodnight Tonight,” to “With A Little Luck” –the latter probably has a sample of his DNA in the grooves. So the song sequencing is awful and only seven of the tracks aren’t available on Wing’s Greatest so it is also something of a major rip off.
Still at 71 minutes in length it isn’t a rip off other than if you’re a fan, and if you’re a fan you don’t need it. The good news is Flowers In The Dirty is only two albums away.