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Venus and Mars

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Wings 11/16/1988

Review

Band on the Run was a commercial success, but even if it was billed as a Wings effort, it was primarily recorded by Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine. So, it was time to once again turn Wings into a genuine band, adding Joe English and Jimmy McCulloch to the lineup and even letting the latter contribute a song. This faux-democracy isn't what signals that this is a band effort -- it's the attitude, construction, and pacing, which McCartney acknowledges as much, opening with an acoustic title track that's a salute to arena rock, leading to a genuine arena rock anthem, "Rock Show." From that, it's pretty much rocking pop tunes, paced with a couple of ballads and a little whimsy, all graced with a little of the production flair that distinguished Band on the Run. But where that record was clearly a studio creation and consciously elaborate, this is a straightforward affair where the sonic details are simply window dressing. McCartney doesn't really try anything new, but the songs are a little more varied than the uniform, glossy production would suggest; he dips into soft-shoe music hall shuffle on "You Gave Me the Answer," gets a little psychedelic with "Spirits of Ancient Egypt," kicks out a '50s rock & roll groove with "Magento and Titanium Man," and unveils a typically sweet and lovely melody on "Listen to What the Man Said." These are a slight shifts on an album that certainly feels like the overture for the arena rock tour that it was, which makes it one of McCartney's more consistent listens, even though it's possible to scan the song listing after several listens and not recognize any song outside of "Listen to What the Man Said" and the opening medley by title. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Venus and Mars Wings 1:18
  3. 2 Rock Show Wings 5:33
  4. 3 Love in Song Wings 3:3
  5. 4 You Gave Me the Answer Wings 2:14
  6. 5 Magneto and Titanium Man Wings 3:15
  7. 6 Letting Go Wings 4:29
  8. 7 Venus and Mars (Reprise) Wings 2:6
  9. 8 Spirits of Ancient Egypt Wings 2:57
  10. 9 Medicine Jar Wings 3:33
  11. 10 Call Me Back Again Wings 4:48
  12. 11 Listen to What the Man Said Paul McCartney 4:1
  13. 12 Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People Wings 4:19
  14. 13 Crossroads Wings 0:59

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