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'Footprints': "It came from an image of a magpie looking for food out in the snow. Eric and I changed the magpie into an old man, although the magpie came back for the third verse. The old man is out there looking for Yule logs or something, like the character in 'Good King Wenceslas'.. .The song goes into what his story might have been, the heartaches there might have been..." Indeed, the lines 'His heart keeps aching in the same old way/He can't help feeling that she might come back some day' recall the sentiments and melodic sweep of 'Another Day'. A Spanish guitar sparkles and there's even a spinet, a small harpsichord with a string for each note more readily associated with Sir John Betjeman than Paul McCartney.
"Only Love Remains": "People who've heard the album say 'That's the McCartney I like'. So I sorta put it on for them, and for myself, because I'm pretty romantic by nature... I like the quiet moment, and this song is that reflective moment". John Bradbury leads the orchestra in Tony Visconti's arrangement and Paul reasserts the oldest cure for most of life's problems: "Find the right boy or the right girl."
"Press": "I actually played the guitar solo... Carlos played arpeggio guitar...which really pulled the track together... 'Oklahoma was never like this'. That can mean whatever you want it to mean... It's a symbol for the provinces, the sticks, the out of the way places. The line just wouldn't change". The other lyrics include a subtle update of Gary Glitter's 'Do You Wanna Touch Me' ('Right there, that's it. Yes.')", the music is entirely infectious and there's a good, upretentious video to boot.
"Pretty Little Head": More eccentricity. Paul's voice is transformed, sounding deep and unrecognisable; the only lyrics which jump out at the listener are in the chant of 'Ursa Major/Ursa Minor", but it hardly matters as the whole performance is charged with an otherworldly atmosphere. Paul explains how this was achieved: "I had a new studio, a new producer, a new songwriting partner, so I wanted to try something different... For a long while 'Pretty Little Head' was an instrumental. I drummed on it, Jerry played vibes, Eric played keyboards, so we all switched roles to send us off in a different direction."
"Move Over Busker": "That's got a good American rock 'n roll feel to it.. .There's a bit of harmless sexism in it: that strong British tradition, you know, of seaside postcards. Nell Gwynne, well you know the archetypal image of her, with her oranges and all! Then there's Mae West 'in her sweaty vest' - that's an old Beatle joke: 'And here's Miranda in her little sweaty vest'." Paul's percussion helps drive the track along and Kate and Ruby are singing again.
"Angry": A highly publicised song, due to its uncharacteristic belligerence and the presence of Pete Townshend and Phil Collins. "That's me being pretty straightforward, although there is a crazy synth thing on there. The backing track is me, Phil and Pete, which is a nice little rhythm section!... I'd kept in touch with Pete after 'Rockestra' and Live Aid.. .There's a chord riff... and every time I played it I felt like Pete Townshend!... It actually only took two hours to get that track down, which is incredibly quick these days.. .What makes me angry are things like Thatcher's attitude to the blacks in South Africa... People who burn children with cigarettes. That sort of thing makes me angry — not bad reviews of my albums." McCartney is percussing away again here and his galvanising bass line recalls the heyday of Tamla Motown.
"However Absurd": 'Talk More Talk' and 'However Absurd' are the two main surrealist lyrics... 'Absurd' was another thing you start off and think 'Ooh no, that's too Beatley, so I won't do it.' So I resisted it for a little while, but... it was a good system then, why ignore it now?.. .There's a sort of 'Walrus' intro to this track... It's a style I know and love. The lyrics on this one are a bit bizarre, but then again they make a kind of sense... I n the middle it explains itself a bit... 'Something special between us... Words wouldn't get my feelings through'. That's taking off into The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - there's a line of his that always used to attract me and John, which was 'Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you.'" Indeed, students of The Beatles' White Album will recall those words from John's poignant 'Julia'. Anne Dudley's orchestration contrasts effectively with 'bass effects' and synthesised 'strings'; synth and heavy guitar take over as the song repeats and intensifies in a slightly 'Hey Jude' manner; the spacey fade-out completes the Beatles flavour. Move over all buskers: Mac's back.