Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wings - Venus And Mars

It came with stickers.

Awesome stickers.

Stickers about Venus and Mars.

And I put them on the wall of my bedroom closet.

The house-which is for sale, if you’re interested-still has them. My dad converted my bedroom into an office when I moved out for the last time in my mid-twenties. Up until that point, I occasionally found myself back home during romantic break-ups, something they don’t tell you about when moving in with a member of the opposite sex.
Just like they don’t tell you about the time when Paul McCartney was acting like an AOR act in the mid-70’s, looking at peers like Pink Floyd and uttering, “Maybe Wings should contribute a space-themed album and get in on some of that Dark Side of the Moon concept shit.”

To be fair, Venus and Mars isn’t a concept album and it isn’t much of an AOR staple either as the record flows throughout various genres of the pop format-meaning that you get a bunch of rabble-rousing numbers tacked next to old-timey shit like “You Gave Me The Answer” or theme music for a British soap opera.

While generally a solid set, Venus And Mars suffers noticeably from McCartney’s laissez-faire attitude towards material. It serves more as a tour primer, extolling the values of the power of the live rock experience-essentially “Juke Box Hero” a half-decade early.

Oh, and with a little bit of drug buying according to Macca’s “The pressure mounts/You score an ounce” line, to which Foreigner’s only salt-of-the earth reference came into the hands of a “beat up six string in a second-hand store.”
So which description fits you best?


McCartney is completely at another level in terms of wealth and fame at this point in his career that any semblance of “relating” to the common man at this point shows a remarkable lack of credibility. At the same time, his stature hasn’t curtailed his ability to draft a catchy tune, which means that even nonsense like “Magneto and Titanium” man is stuck in your head like peanut butter.

True story: a co-worker at a former job could recite the entire lyrics to “Magneto” at a moment’s notice, explaining that Venus and Mars was popular among her group of girls when she was in high school, and that sometimes they acted “silly.”

Another true story: I used to walk over to the recreational building of Fillenwarth Beach’s main offices during summer vacation and play “Listen To What The Man Said” on their jukebox every morning while indulging in a game of pool.

When I bought the single after coming home from vacation, I fell in love with the b/w tune “Love In Song.”

It’s a nice ballad that remains as one of my favorite Mc Cartney tracks to this day.
But aside from the stickers, the Iron Man references and the occasional A.O.R. pandering, there are not many endearing moments within Venus And Mars to count it as one of Macca’s best. It’s a perfect place to pick up after you’ve gone through Ram or Band On The Run and one that will get you carrying on about “the crimson dynamo” when it brings up those moments of remembrance.


Kiko Jones said...

"...there are not many endearing moments within Venus And Mars to count it as one of Macca’s best. It’s a perfect place to pick up after you’ve gone through Ram or Band On The Run..."

Comparable to Red Rose Speedway, then?

Todd Totale said...

That's funny. Originally, I was going to do a weeks worth of Macca album reviews leading up to the show, but life changed my plans. Red Rose Speedway was one of those records. Spoiler alert: it was not one of those that I'd pick up after Ram or Band On The Run.