Ram. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.
Ram. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.

Worn-out record: Ram

8 minutos / Carlos M. Mérida

20.08.2020 / Worn-out record,  Reviews

Raise your hand who knows a living legend of popular music (at least Western) greater than Paul McCartney. When he dies, the 20th century will finally be over for us. This album, and the one that came before, McCartney (Apple Records, 1970), shows him in one of his most vulnerable moments: deciding what direction his life would take after the definitive separation from The Beatles.

There is a lot of gossip on this album and in the reactions to it, a lot of pullita. Lennon felt alluded to at various points - for example, in the opening song, Too Many People, with that of: “That was your first mistake. You took your lucky break and broke it in two ”- and then, in one of the photographs that made up the art of his acclaimed album Imagine (Apple Records, 1971), released less than a month later, he comes out clutching a pig's ears , direct reference to the lid of his former partner's Ram. Paul even came to recognize later that he was thinking of Lennon and Yoko when he wrote, for that same initial cut: “Too many people preaching practices. / Don't let them tell you what you want to be ”, due to the fact that the woman with the rising sun and her boyfriend with glasses began to get heavy on the subject of meditation and orientalism, as I did with my smoking friends when I quit after reading a bad and effective self-help book; And it is very difficult for the enlightened - which is, only, who thinks they are - not feel the need to distribute the light they have found, at least with the people who care. Harrison and Ringo weren't very comfortable either, especially with the second track, 3 Legs, where they sing: "My dog, he has three legs, but he can't run"; that dog had a lot of beetle.

If we review Paul's songs in the post-Beatles and pre-Wings stages, we will see that, in this way or that, almost all revolve around three main themes: his Scottish farm, his love for Linda, and his empingue for the breakup of what few hesitate to call the greatest band of all time. Much of the latter is here. McCartney was trying to get on with his life, forget about the past, but he can't hide his anger. In this album there is the anger "I'm not just The Beatles", and also the anger "there are no Beatles without me"; one intentional, the other residual; hence one of the central themes of the record, Ram On, is, in essence, a harangue (presumably to himself) disguised by the candid sound of the ukulele and a very Paul McCartney magnetic melody: “Ram on, give your heart to somebody. Soon. Right away ”. Turn the page, give your heart, do it now, but do it charging. It is stronger than him. Try, but in the end neither forgive nor forget.

This album seems like no, but yes, and a lot. Perhaps that not seem like it was the reason why the critics did not pay much attention to him at the time, although he did have good numbers in stores, because people know.

I remember listening to it the first time in its entirety, and when the last song ended I went back to Dear Boy and played it like three times in a row, which is the worst thing you can do with a song that you really like, because you turn it into one. scrape, or - at best - spaghetti pesto, delicious at first and boring at the end. Luckily this never happened and I still really enjoy them all.

Lo que le pasa a este disco es que no está equilibrado. Tiene dos clases de temas: los que aparecen completamente escorados hacia dentro, hacia un lugar donde hay algún tipo de pena, y los que no, los que tienen cierta estabilidad en el rumbo. Estoy seguro de que esto tiene una explicación tonal bárbara, pero como yo no sé de eso tengo que buscarme la vida en el territorio inconstante de la emoción. Los que más me gustan, los que me hacen hablar hoy de este álbum, pertenecen al primer grupo: Ram On, Dear Boy, Heart of The Country, Monkberry Moon Delight y The Back Seat of My Car. Salvo este último, ninguno fue lanzado como sencillo. La gente de Apple Records iba evidentemente por un sendero opuesto al mío. Creyeron ―y no puede decirse que se hayan equivocado― que donde estaban los piticlines era en las canciones de la otra clase, como Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey o Eat at Home, que están muy bien pero no llegan a camuflar la peste de los portales de Belascoaín, ni debilitan la consecución ritual de tu zancada mientras bajas por esa calle centrohabanera con la vista fija en el mar.

Do you know what makes Paul McCartney different from the rest of the song-makers in the world? That no one can make a simpler melody without questioning its compositional ability. The ex-Beatles tunes are the very border between a "serious" song and the improvised tune that my mother hummed to make me fall asleep. They can no longer be simpler, they have been completely de-tuned, if you take away one more bargain they stop being a song. Paul knows exactly where that point is where the universe is balanced. Providence placed the treasure map on his head, which is why everyone likes it: the gypsies with bracelets and the ascetics; that's why when someone tells you "no, I don't like it", the first thing that comes to mind is that you are talking to a soulless robot or that they are burning you. I imagine that his creative process is like a jenga game: he assembles the tower first, and then he strips it of the excess until only the amount of elements required remains so that the structure does not collapse. The key is that Paul never gets to remove the last block. The rest of the mortals either remove the last piece and the game ends there, or else they think the tower is going to fall, when in fact they can still take two or three orthohedra.

El protagonismo melódico en las canciones de McCartney es muy marcado. Parecen hechas específicamente para el tarareo. Este hombre es un magnate de la producción de silbidos de ducha y taller. Pero eso no significa ni por asomo que funcionen igual sin la letra. El mismo Paul se fue con la de trapo y, con el seudónimo de Percy “Thrills” Thrillington, sacó en el ’77 una espantosa versión instrumental del Ram in extenso: Thrillington, que, claro está, fue un fracaso de crítica y ventas. Y es que ya se sabe que la canción es una masa indivisible, o divisible solo por motivos estrictamente descriptivos. Al todo no lo componen una suma de partes, porque, sencillamente, estas partes no existen por sí solas; cuando lo hacen, entonces ya no hay todo. Monkberry Moon Delight, por ejemplo, es un temazo, pero solamente por la participación armónica de cada uno de los elementos que lo componen. La letra es un sinsentido a lo I Am the Walrus, un espantapájaros hecho de retazos, sobre la marcha, que no pasa de ser una anécdota divertida; sin embargo, si la retiras, como hizo Percy Thrillington, entonces lo que queda es una seguidilla sin ton ni son que no le interesa a nadie. La cosa funciona porque Paul canta esa melodía, con su voz rajada de tío bonachón, y al mismo tiempo articula estas palabras: “So I stood with a knot in my stomach, / and I gazed at that terrible sight / of two youngsters concealed in a barrel / smoking monkberry moon delight"

Paul McCartney will die soon, as so many unique people of the past have died. That day a large part of the world's music teams will be reproducing his voice, his face will be seen as soon as there is newscast and when we write a letter "P" in the Google search engine, the first suggestion that we will see will say: "Paul McCartney death ”. I too - as I did with Bowie, Krahe and Santiago - I will pray my anonymous requiem, which will be to put this album upside down.

I'm leaving with Martí, with this fragment of the presentation he made to his Simple Verses, where he asks himself: “Why is this simplicity published, written like playing (…)? (…) Why exhibit now, on the occasion of these wild flowers, a course of my poetics, and say why I repeat a consonant of purpose, or do I rank or group them so that they go by sight and hearing to feeling, Or do I jump for them, when the tumultuous idea does not ask for rhymes or support reprints?

Carlos M. Mérida

Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.

    More posts

    Leave a comment

    Más en El disco rayado

    Help support our magazine

    • Donate •

    Become a Patreon