Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Tug of War Album Review

Release Date: April 1982

Artwork: An OK cover but it has dated quite badly, however as a piece of artwork it is quite good.  It is a shame that it was not a classic cover.

General Comments: Being back with George Martin and also having Ringo on some tracks must have focused the mind and the quality control in Paul's first release since Lennon's sad death after the patchy McCartney II. Paul's vocals are wonderful throughout and the production and decision making in the music is also excellent. This is a high quality McCartney album.

Track by Track 
1. Tug of War
What a start to the album! A very moving but simple acoustic song that builds and builds as it progresses. It has great but subtle changes of pace and has some nice different passages. Instruments are added layer by layer and you sort of notice but don't. It has great lyrics with an emotional force. When Paul writes and performs like this we realise how lucky we are to have him making music. An complete and utter McCartney classic. 10/10
2. Take It Away
Apart from the intro before the piano comes in (which I don't like) this is another wonderful McCartney track. It makes you feel good as it simply sails along. I love the word 'impresario' in this song. Sometimes Paul uses words not often used  by others in songs 'clutching' and 'inclement' are other examples from other songs. I like that.  8/10
3. Somebody Who Cares
When I first got this album this was my favourite track. It is very catchy and uplifting. It is corny but somehow not. I often put this on if I am feeling low. Yes, us men sometimes need a lift too! Sweet melody and vocal. 7/10
4. What's That You're Doing
I think that this duet with Stevie is a really good funky workout and much better than Ebony and Ivory. An underrated track this one. It really does groove along. Give it another chance folks. 6.5/10
5. Here Today
Paul obviously took a lot of care on this one and George Martin clearly did with the arrangement too. This is a tribute song straight from the heart and everything about it is perfect.  The words are honest and revealing and the vocal full of love, regret and memories - happy and sad. 8.5/10
6. Ballroom Dancing
Another favourite when I first got this album and it is still a good track. Has a retro style to it, tells a good story and is funny without being tacky. I always imagined The Beatles doing this but John getting a bit irritated but then doing something a la 'Ob la di ob la da' that made it even better. 7/10
7. The Pound is Sinking
Almost perfection. About 124 songs rolled into to one, there is so much to keep the interest, but it works. Fantastic. A real highlight. 9.5/10
8. Wanderlust
A piano based song with gorgeous chords and a beautiful melody. Great horns, great vocals and wonderful production and structure. If this was a Beatles song it would be a worldwide classic, that does not stop it being of classic status though. Song writing at is best. 10/10
9. Get it
A fun and harmless little duet with Carl Perkins. A nice change of mood. 6/10
10. Be What You See
A nice little track that works well as a link to the next song. 6/10.
11. Dress Me Up As a Robber
Another funky song which is enjoyable and shows Paul's diversity. Not one of my favs but not bad. 5/10
12. Ebony and Ivory
A huge worldwide number one and apart from Mull of Kintyre and Live and Let Die probably my first big memory of Paul's solo work. Therefore it brings back good memories. Not  great but not quite as bad as some make it out to be. It is alright really, but does not fit on this album. My opinion changes all the time with this song but at present I am having quite good thoughts. 6/10

Overall score: 89.5/120
Overall score indexed: 74%


  1. Tug of War (the song) is my favourite Macca song of all time. I am pleased you rated it highly.

  2. I agree with most of this review. Tug of War is a beautiful album, but has a couple of tracks (What's That You're Doing and Get It both should have been B sides, if anything) that stop it from being a true masterpiece.

    Just to let you know, I have been reading your reviews, and have been enjoying them. Keep them up! :D

  3. George Martin to the rescue. His past relevance was again realized I'm sure. One of Paul's best ever.