Memory Almost Full
(Limited Edition)

Paul McCartney

I rarely bother with reissues of new records, even if they include DVDs. And I especially won't go out of my way for a reissue of an album I wasn't particularly fond of in the first place. Perhaps, in the case of Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, that was the whole idea. It's one of those discs that needs to grow on you. Upon its release in May 2007, Memory Almost Full reaped many more accolades than I thought it deserved (see my initial review). Full of hits and misses, I still maintain that “Ever Present Past” and “See You Sunshine” are the type of pop monkey throwaways that have hampered McCartney in the past. But the more I listen to edgier stuff like “Only Mama Knows” and "Nod Your Head," the more I realize the guy can still punch out a decent rock and roll riff when he wants to. And, as I said before, “Mr. Bellamy” and “House Of Wax” demonstrate the cheeky one can brilliantly whip up numbers on par with some of his best work. The real winner here, however, is the DVD that has been conveniently tacked onto the new Limited Edition version.

For the past decade, Paul McCartney's strongest suit has been his live shows.With guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brain Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., and keyboardist Paul 'Wix' Wickens in his corner, the former Beatle's repetoire routinely receives a spit and polish that shines every time. The DVD features a remarkable performance, a "secret" and intimate show from London's infamous Electric Ballroom in June 2007 (McCartney and his band played similar "small" shows in New York and Los Angeles to promote Memory Almost Full). Hearing live renditions of "Dance Tonight," "Nod Your Head," "House of Wax" and "Only Mama Knows" made me go back and give Memory Almost Full another listen. Of course, having "Drive My Car" along for the ride doesn't hurt either. The videos for "Dance Tonight" and "Ever Present Past" had me scrambling for the remote. But as long as they throw in the good live stuff, limited editions like these hold a certain appeal for collectors, fans, and skeptics like me.

~ Shawn Perry

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