Wild Life, Paul McCartney’s follow-up to Ram, and first LP with his new band Wings was a critical and commercial failure upon release. Much of the problem came from McCartney’s ill-advised decision to make it an impromptu album, inspired by a story of Bob Dylan cutting an album in three days. Yet McCartney’s strengths are in well developed melodies and here there are a lot of cuts that were just trying to stretch the album into an album. One could however make the case that if there were EP’s at the time, you could have made a pretty decent one out of the material present. (It’s also important that you listen to these songs with good headphones or speakers, because those arrangements aren’t gonna stand out on just any laptop speakers, and it’s worth it)
Wild Life (The EP)
1. Wild Life
2. Love Is Strange
4. Little Woman Love
“Wild Life” is one of the more polished numbers, a bruising, bluesy number that not so subtly alludes to the barely visible line between humanity and animality. McCartney’s musicality is on full display here, building from a simple acoustic number to a melody that’s brimming with tension. I’d love to see this used in Breaking Bad, I think it would work fantastically
“Love Is Strange” is a cover from 1956 by a little known R&B group called Mickey & Silvia but you’d hardly know it from the tickling Hawaiian-Afro-Cuban guitar lines that flicker about in the long instrumental introduction. For people who are so quick to lambaste Paul McCartney’s later group, they’d never know this was Wings.
“Tomorrow” is a number that could have found a home on the musical Annie. It’s pretty cheesy, but once again McCartney saves the number with some inventive arrangements, the backing vocals are especially effective here a la “Mr. Sandman” that act as a bridge in between verse and chorus.
“Little Woman Love” showcases McCartney’s boogie-woogie piano playing, and it’s a song that throws subtlety out the window, celebrating rock & roll in the biblical sense, despite its overt nature, it’s really fun.