The irony of the first Wings
album is that it seems more domesticated than Ram
, feeling more like a Paul
effort than that record. Perhaps it's because this album is filled with music that's defiantly lightweight -- not just the cloying cover of "Love Is Strange" but two versions apiece
of songs called "Mumbo" and "Bip Bop." If this is a great musician bringing his band up to speed, so be it, but it never seems that way -- it feels like one step removed from coasting, which is wanking. It's easy to get irritated by the upfront cutesiness, since it's married to music that's featherweight at best. Then again, that's what makes this record bizarrely fascinating -- it's hard to imagine a record with less substance, especially from an artist who's not just among the most influential of the 20th century, but from one known for precise song and studiocraft. Here, he's thrown it all to the wind, trying to make a record that sounds as pastoral and relaxed as the album's cover photo. He makes something that sounds easy -- easy enough that you and a couple of neighbors who you don't know very well could knock it out in your garage on a lazy Saturday afternoon -- and that's what's frustrating and amazing about it. Yeah, it's possible to call this a terrible record, but it's so strange in its domestic bent and feigned ordinariness that it winds up being a pop album like no other.