Monday, July 1, 2019

"Press" by Paul McCartney

Song#:  2816
Date:  08/02/1986
Debut:  66
Peak:  21
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Following the lackluster performance of his movie project Give My Regards to Broad Street and its associated soundtrack, McCartney began to make plans for his next studio album. Prior to it, McCartney scored a one-off hit with "Spies Like Us" (#7) the theme from the film of the same name. That set him up well for a return and McCartney then began to record his new album Press to Play. For the LP, McCartney brought on board producer Hugh Padgham, whose career was in high gear thanks to his work with The Police, Genesis, Phil Collins, and others. McCartney thought the hot producer could give his tunes a slick, mid-80s sheen that would keep his music current and relevant. The first test was this lead single. It got a bit of attention, but ultimately it didn't do well stopping short of the Pop Top 20. It was the first time a lead single from a McCartney album (including with Wings) did not make the Top 20. The lack of a more significant hit single along with mixed critical reviews took a toll on sales of the album. It would stop at #30, his worst showing for any of his post-Beatles albums, and it would be his first to miss the gold level sales mark.

ReduxReview:  Well, McCartney certainly got all 80s modern on this one. It's full of synthpop flourishes and dense production. While the production/arrangement might have worked for another pop tune, I don't think it was a good fit for McCartney's little ditty. It all just overwhelmed the tune, which wasn't that strong to begin with. While I applaud McCartney for trying to keep up with music trends, he needed to write songs that would work with the production. You can't take a typical quirky McCartney composition and just stuff it into a synthpop arrangement and expect it to work. This ended up being an interesting relic in his catalog, but at the time it was just a failed attempt to keep up with the kids.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  For the album, McCartney co-wrote several songs with former 10cc vocalist/guitarist Eric Stewart. Although Stewart had worked on McCartney's previous two albums as a guitarist and vocalist, Press to Play was the first time he wrote songs with McCartney. Six of their tunes made the original release of the album. One other song would be used as a b-side for a single while three others would show up as bonus tracks on a reissue of the LP. Stewart would join up with a reformed 10cc in 1991. That band would record albums in 1992 and 1995. Leftover songs from Stewart and McCartney's Press to Play collaborations would be recorded for the albums. One song would receive additional help from 10cc's Graham Gouldman and be put on 1992's "...Meanwhile." Another tune would be recorded for 1995's "Mirror Mirror," 10cc's final album. McCartney would make a guest appearance on that track and another on the album. (Note: "Press" was one of four on the album solely written by McCartney).


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