This is part two of a three-part lowest point in Paul McCartney’s career. Album # 15, Pipes Of Peace, is outtakes from his George Martin produced Tug Of War plus a handful of newer vintage tracks. With Eric Stewart on guitar and Ringo on drums for a coupla tracks, Denny Laine’s final appearance, and Michael Jackson co-writing a coupla songs, the awful “Say Say Say” being a biggie. It is not a terrible album, the way the upcoming Give My Regards To Broad Street is, but it is an industrious bore and Macca wouldn’t really get his mojo back for six years. 1983 wasn’t 1979, Paul could get away with iffy albums because there was nothing around to put him to shame, but even so, this is not a very good product at all.
The thing about McCartney is he writes melody the way you and I breathe. It is that and not his tricky dicky song construction and here it is if he learnt the wrong lesson from the second side of Abbey Road: he believed that what we loved was the way the various songs were merged and it wasn’t that at all. It was the great melodies by all concerned and the collective performance by the Beatles. This mistake didn’t hurt him when he had the material, on say (say say) the second half of Red Rose Highway, but the technological hi jinx “Tug Of Peace” which matches with the earlier “Tug Of War” doesn’t work because neither song is strong enough, although the way Sir Paul uses his bass for segues is winning. Nothing here is quite strong enough or weak enough, the best songs are minor league Macca though pretty good. “The Sweetest Show” is a terrific sweet nothing soft shoe shuffle and “The Other Man” is all right. “Average Person” has a great fade in but the song doesn’t happen -it might have snuck onto Venus And Mars, maybe. Though too condescending by half. “The instrumental “Hey Hey” finds a groove and keeps to it. “Through Our Love” is horrible but that’s the
Nothing here stinks the way “Here Today” does and in some ways that makes it even sadder… there is nothing to get excited about one way or the other. It has the stench of has been permeating from its pores. And it would take Elvis Costello several years later to get Paul back on track.