Just listened to the Pipe of Peace Podcast and as usual, found Chris and Ryan opinions of the album and time period to be fascinating. So far I have lisened to these Podcasts....Tug of War, London Town, Back to the Egg, Red Rose Speedway and now Pipes of Peace.
Pipes of Peace is the first album and Podcast (from the ones above) where I found more significant disagreement in general. But I like the fact that they look at "Pipes" from a different and younger perspective. I think it was Chris who said as a 5th grader that Pipes of Peace was his entry way to becoming a Paul fan (even before hearing Beatle albums). I appreciate his honesty about the fact that he might not be as "objective" relative to other albums on these podcasts. He has a special emotional attachment to "Pipes" and I certainly get it.
While I do agree that Pipes of Peace (like other mid and lower ranking Paul Post Beatles' albums) has it great moments, it is the general mood of the album that puts it way down the list of Paul albums for me. To me Pipes of Peace is just a collection of songs that have little relationship from one track to the next. I know Paul tried to bring the album "together" with the track at the end of side 2 with "Tug of Peace" but to me that song was so "forced and meaningless". Just a bad track to my ears. And as I said, the tracks in between seemed to be just a collection of songs.
As a big time Macca fan, there are a few tracks on "Pipes" that I really like. The title and opening track (Pipes of Peace) starts off very promising. I love George Martin's production and the song in general. Next we have the big Michal Jackson duet and hit single "Say, Say Say". While it doesn't marr the album for me (like What's That You're Doing did on Tug of War) it has nothing to do with the previous song...musically or lyrically. Anyway, as I said, it doesn't ruin the album for me at this point. It is later on where the album really goes off the rails in my opinion.
The next track is actually one of my favorites on "Pipes". Despite the "dustbin lid" line that some fans dispise, I love the lyrics to this song as well as Paul's R&B style vocal. I like the fact that Paul really gets personal in the lyrics. Most of us have a "side"of our personality that sometimes comes out so to me it is a universal message. I think that "The Other Me" is one of Paul's hidden gems. I also don't find the "heavy breathing" style in parts of the vocal to be bothersome. It was interesting that one of the guys related this aspect of Paul's singing to the reminiscent of the Beatles' song "Girl". Maybe Paul was thinking about this at the time. In general, I love the song and production.
I don't mind the next two songs...Keep Under Cover and So Bad. The former has a great melody in my opinion but unfortuately I think that some of the lyrics are quite weak. Wished Paul had taken more time to flush it out but all in all, I think it is a good album track. The final track on Side One is a typical McCartney "guilty pleasure" type hit singles. It definitely fits in with the "Poppy" type flavor of the album in general. I do really like the performance of Paul's lead vocal coupled with the Wings-like backup vocals (mainly Linda and Eric Stewart) I think.
It is Side 2 where the album really falls off the rails for me. Unlike the guys, I don't like the other Michal Jackson duet song "The Man" at all. It starts off fine but by the time we get to the "This is the Man" line (sung by Michael at the end) is becomes very grating. It is also way too much of an "Audult Contemporary" type of a song for a Paul album where you are ready to scream. The only songs I like on Side 2 are "Sweetest Little Show and "Through Our Love". I don't like Average Person at all. It has that "Showtune style" that occasionally pops up from Paul that I totally dislike and the lyrics seem to be so forced. The next song "Hey Hey" is only a "filler" type of track and as I said earlier, Tug of Peace is just terrible. Again, these are my opinions only.
In summary, Pipes of Peace, in my opinion is just too "Poppy" for me with little connection from song to song. I actually rate it on the lower tier of Paul albums. I think of the Podcasts I have heard so far, London Town, Back to the Egg, Red Rose Speedway, and Press to Play are basically "mid tier" Macca albums for me and I put than higher than Pipes of Peace.
As with Tug of War, Paul was taking advantage of working with and doing duets with a major R&B star but in this case, Pipes of Peace was just too forced and quickly released . Tug of War, on the other hand, had much better songs with actual common themes around it. Still, I love some of the tracks on "Pipes" like Pipes of Peace, The Other Me, Sweetest Little Show and Through Our Love.