Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram (1971), 7/10

Ram didn't really take much time to become one of my favorite records, perhaps because of my familiarity with the Beatles, but more likely because it is just plain ol' pop rock that never misses. Paul clearly still had the song writing bug, tapping into a familiar set of sensibilities that captures the same nostalgic essence we’re familiar with. Things start off strong with "Too Many People" and its booming chorus/glowing verse, and while it may be the weakest track of the whole record, it still sets the mood properly and introduces a tone consistent with the stronger compositions. "Dear Boy" feels like a classic Paul melody and it fits right in among the other hits, again easily recognizable as his writing and performance style. It is followed by one of my favorite songs period in "Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey", a sweeping two-part masterpiece telling a gripping story and showcasing gorgeous, well varied sounds throughout, then hitting hard where it counts in key, impressionable moments. It carries an otherwise underwhelming first half of the album on its shoulders, before the stronger second half gets underway. If he would have been able to capture the magic in this creation Ram could have been one of the great solo albums rivaling the Beatles more creative works, but it remains a solid, great set of songs. The issue with the record as an experience is that the majority is hindered by what most of his solo work is held back by, his strange infatuation with a very specific self-involved cutesy sound. He works better in a group that could control his substantial personality. Later we get one of the most satisfying vocal performances from Paul in "Monkberry Moon Delight" filled with deep growling and haunting nightmarish guitar flourishes. Despite its shortcomings, Ram is a warm, comforting soulmate for any fan of sixties and seventies pop rock.