Paul McCartney – McCartney – Hear Music deluxe box set (orig. 1970) remastered CD 34:20 + Bonus CD 24:54 + DVD, 31:55 ****:
In addition to the bonus music disc that comes in these sets, there is also a DVD with music videos, live footage, home videos and information about the album itself. A majority of the songs are simple and stripped down. All the instruments are played by Paul and although on some recordings this can result in a sterile vibe, this record does not come across that way at all. Most of the music seems to be an attempt to craft post-Beatles catchy pop songs, but lyrically many of them are empty. The music leans towards a mix of blues (Valentine Day, Oo You) and rock. Just because much of the music is fairly simple (especially in comparison to some of the later Beatles’ music) doesn’t mean it isn’t likable—case in point “Every Night.”
It’s hard not to try and compare early solo records from members of the Fab Four (i.e. Junk and Man We Was Lonely) but this is all McCartney and his style comes across clearly. Nothing is bad…just a bit lightweight by comparison. A lot of the music is simply instrumental with no lyrics whatsoever. Surprisingly, the album didn’t sound nearly as dated as I had feared. As I listened more and more (and over and over) this record could sit among current contemporaries without sounding “new.” All in all there are some really organic rock songs that won’t be on a greatest hits record (Singalong Junk) but should not be forgotten, as well as the classic “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
The bonus audio disc has a couple tracks that the listener wouldn’t miss (Suicide, Women Kind) but for the McCartney fan there are some decent live tracks—nothing that I couldn’t live without, but still worth a listen. The bonus DVD is something else entirely. It is worth having it just for the family photos/video and the explanation of what the album is about. It really helps clarify many of my thoughts regarding the disc’s production and the intentions of the record. The recording quality varies song to song. Because of the overdubbing (I’m guessing) there is more noise on some tracks than others. Apart from the noise I’d rate it in the C+/B- range. For music I give it a B+/A-. For me that means it’s a keeper.
Songs/material included are: CD1: The Lovely Linda; That Would Be Something; Valentine Day; Every Night; Hot As Sun/Glasses; Junk; Man We Was Lonely; Oo You; Momma Miss America; Teddy Boy; Singalong Junk; Maybe I’m Amazed; Kreen-Akrore. CD2: Suicide [Out-take]; Maybe I’m Amazed [From One Hand Clapping]; Every Night [Live At Glasgow]; Hot As Sun [Live At Glasgow]; Maybe I’m Amazed [Live At Glasgow]; Don’t Cry Baby [Out-take]; Women Kind (Demo) [Mono]. DVD: The Album Story; The Beach; Maybe I’m Amazed Music Video; Suicide [From the documentary film One Hand Clapping]; Every Night [Live At Concert for the People of Kampuchea]; Hot As Sun [Live At Concert for the People of Kampuchea]; Junk [MTV Unplugged]; That Would Be Something [MTV Unplugged].
— Brian Bloom