I listened to Ryan and Chris' episode on MAF. As usual, I learned some new things (about the loudness of the CD) and I enjoyed the episode.
I see MAF as a very good Paul album. I seem to like it a little more than Ryan and Chris.
Whereas Chaos is polished and perfect, it lacks Paul's quirky side (which to some is a good thing, Godrich certainly promoted quality control but I like some "weird" McCartney mixed in with other more traditional songs). MAF sees Paul return to some of his quirkiness while also having some more traditional songs. I also really like the general theme of memory and the past. I bought the album (CD) in a Starbucks on release day (and I have never been in that Starbucks since --not a coffee drinker).
I like Dance Tonight as a stomp and found it a fun song and I loved the video and also the Apple commerical. Ever Present Past is a really good song (but my wife does not like it) with good lyrics (not sure that I liked the video for it with Paul dancing). Who lives more with their "ever present" past than Paul McCartney?
See Your Sunshine remains one of my favorites on the album. I love the middle bit ("She picks up daisies in the field, she likes to weave them through her hair....") Only Mama Knows is a great rocker and I love Paul's performance of it. I like the orchestral bit at the beginning. This in my top five-ten of McCartney rock songs since the Beatles.
You Tell Me is another highlight. Good lyrics and a somber mood with good lyrics ("what was that summer when it never rained.....").
Mr. Bellamy is an odd song that I really liked (and I had the cat in the tree interpretation on first listens also). I love the line, "I'm not coming down, I like it up her without you." Who else would write a song like this other than Paul McCartney?
Gratitude was never a favorite of mine but today when listening to it, I quite liked Paul's singing on it. Still, I would not miss it on the album.
Vintage Clothes is good and I like the 60s sound in the guitars and backwards guitars. I always quote the lyric, "dont live in the past, don't hang on to something that is changing fast" when I or someone else wants to live in the past. It would be easy for Paul to just want to live in the past but he pushes forward with new music.
That Was Me is a favorite as I can see myself looking at myself in a scrapbook and being amazed that "that was me." I can only imagine what is must be like for Paul McCartney to do so. Paul has the ability to write about specific events (in this case looking at his life in a scrap book) but make the song so that it could relate to our own lives. I also love his bass playing on the song. I really like the live version that he did in a concert in Paris, I belive at the Olympia. (see YouTube if you have not seen this performance).
Feet in the Clouds is quirky and the "very, very, very, very, very hard" line can be irritating as pointed out by Ryan and Chris but somehow the song works for me (who would use a vocal decoder in 2007 other than Paul McCartney?) and there are some clever lyrics that I believe Ryan pointed out ("I'm not a square as long as you are not around").
House of Wax is lyrically strong. The lyrics are good and I can see Paul sitting at a grand piano leading the band in this great rocker. We all live in a house of wax even when we are the greatest song writer of a generation (though Paul has said it is about the decline of the record business).
I like the End of the End. While I agree that it is not a great and majestic song like you might expect, I think that is the point. Paul dealt with his own death by writing a nice little ditty with great lryrics like "on the day that I die, I want jokes to be told. And stories of old to be rolled out like carpets. That children have played on and laid on. While listening to stories of old." That is just a great lyric and choked me up every time without being overly dramatic. I love his whistling as well.
I never warmed to Nod Your Head and would have replaced it with Why So Blue (or just dropped it and replaced Gratifude with Why So Blue).
Overall, the album is not quite in my Paul's greatest list (Ram, BOR, TOW, FP, Chaos) but is in a second tier of very good albums. For me it has aged well. It was also a nice transition into Electric Arguments where Paul's gets to further explore his quirkiness. I look forward to Ryan and Chris reviewing it next episode. It sounds like they are going to review Strawberries Ships, Oceans Forest, Rushes, and Electric Arguments. I liked some of the dance music on the first Fireman album but thought it was repetitive. I found Rushes both strange and fascinating and loved how Paul used it for the opening of his 2002 tour (I saw Paul twice that year). Just the bassline on Bison makes the album worth listening to. Then, Electric Argument is more accessible but also full of good McCartney weirdness. I think that Paul uses the Fireman to channel his strange side. But I will wait for the next Ryan and Chris episode to review the Fireman.