Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (2005)

Album Cover

All tracks composed by: Paul McCartney
Produced by:
Nigel Godrich


For Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, McCartney tried a different tactic, returning to the one-man band aesthetic of his debut album, McCartney, its latter-day sequel, McCartney II, and, to a lesser extent, the home-spun second album, Ram. 

Apart from a guitar part or two, a couple of drum tracks, and, of course, the strings and horns that pop up now and again, McCartney played everything here, from the guitars and keyboards down to the bass and drums. 

The difference here is that instead of producing the record by himself, McCartney brought in alt-rock auteur Nigel Godrich, best known as the producer behind Radiohead's OK Computer and Beck's Mutations, as well as being the only producer responsible for a streamlined Pavement record. 

Godrich has a gift for making messy or difficult music sound simple, logical, and clean, and he has that same effect on Chaos and Creation, removing the obvious rough edges and home-spun charm that characterized Macca's previous one-man affairs. 

Consequently, Chaos sounds as polished as a normal McCartney album, as polished as Driving Rain, but the process of its creation and recording does make this a very different album from not just its predecessor, but from most of McCartney's solo albums. 

It's quiet and meditative, not without its share of eccentricities, nor without its share of sprightly tunes.


Fine Line    (3'05)

This is the first single for the album. And also the most uptempo song on the cd. 

It's got a great vocal melody, and optimistic lyrics you would expect from Paul. There you will find some Lady Madonna reminiscence.  

Instrumentally the song is driven by a bouncy piano, but we get a short guitar solo that is nothing to fancy but does the job.

As a single, this number should be catchy enough to get attention from most of the fans. But as usual with Paul, the number chosen for the single released is not the best track on the album.

How Kind Of You    (4'47)

The music in this song gives off a sadder mood, but the lyrics are still very optimistic "I thought that all was lost, I thought I'd never find, someone quite as you." 

There is not really a chorus to this song. He just says a variation of the title in the hook of the song, much like Bob Dylan. 

The song includes a nice instrumental break that sounds very dark, but then we get back to the verse. This is a very Paul song.

Jenny Wren    (3'46)
This song has been compared to Blackbird by many other reviewers, and by Paul McCartney himself, who called it the daughter of Blackbird. 

Actually, the structure of the song and the guitar picking style are very close to the ones from Blackbird.

This song also reminds us of other Paul's acoustic numbers like Mother Nature's Son or the more recent Calico Skies.

But unlike Blackbird this song is a lot sadder sounding. The lyrics are very well written with lines like "Like so many girls Jenny Wren could sing, but a broken heart took her song away."

At The Mercy    (2'38)

Breaks out with the chorus that has Paul's voice layered singing "At The Mercy" it sounds alright, but the verse is very lovely.

Driven by a nice piano arrangement, and a great vocal melody from Paul. The guitar in this song will make you think of George Harrison with the wonderfully placed and written fills. 

This is a rather sad song with lines like "Sometimes my head is hanging low, but its time to get on with the show." 


Friends To Go    (2'43)
This is a folk-style song, very bob-dylanish, with only an acoustic guitar and Paul's voice early on which is joined by the percussion and piano later on. Another bob-dylan style thing about this song is how there is no chorus he just says the title as the hook. A great vocal melody, and nice music arrangement.

Paul says this song could have been written by George Harrison. And you definitely agree when you listen to that song carefully. After performing live "All Things Must pass" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", Paul still goes on making tributes to his old mate.

English Tea    (2'12)

This a beautiful "English" song, one of the best titles of this album.

It's a great continuation of "When I'm Sixty-Four", mixed with some reminiscences of "Martha My Dear". A perfect Paul's composition influenced by the thirties whom he likes so much (and we too!)

The lyrics are a lot of fun with oldish English expressions.

Paul says he's pretty proud of this composition.

Too Much Rain    (3'24)

Opens with a great piano line, which is soon joined with an acoustic guitar strumming along. 

This song is very well written, it's mood is very sad, but the lyrics are very optimistic about smiling when you are sad and such. 

This has an incredibly strong melody, and will be in your head after one listen! One great moment when listening to this album.

A Certain Softness    (2'42)

This kicks off with Pauls voice and a latino style rhythm. And that latino mood stays with the whole song. 

The vocal melody is pretty catchy and refers to songs a la Fred Astaire. Here we get another attempt from Paul to revive the music from the Thirties.

It reminds me of Paul singing Noel Coward's number "A Room With A View". 

Riding To Vanity Fair    (5'06)

There has been a lot of talk about this song and how sour and angry it is. It's very uncharacterstic of McCartney. 

The mood is sounds very angry, and the lyrics speak of how his friendship was refused. "I was open to friendship but I didnt dare to presume it was their, while you were riding to vanity fair." 

This melody is very nice, and the music fits the lyrics very nicely.

A very special number which is very difficult to compare to anything Paul did before.

Follow Me    (2'31)

This is another folky song, it kicks off right into the vocal melody accompanied by an acoustic guitar. This is another happy love song, with no chorus. It uses the title as the hook. "You hold up a sign that reads...follow me" 

This is a really well written song; everything is here. Great acoustic guitar, nice lyrics, and a strong vocal melody. This song will be imprinted on your mind very quickly.

The song has a joyfull and religious mood which can be compared to "Let It Be". Paul himself said he wanted to  write something of the same kind.

Promise To You Girl   (3'09)


It starts out with Pauls vocals on a piano in a sad sounding choir type thing. "Looking through the backyard of my life..time to sweep the falling leaves away." 

Then it kicks into a bouncy upbeat song with Motown influences. "I gave my promise to you girl, I dont want to take it back." 

The vocal melody is very strong, and the music is great. This is one of the few upbeat songs on this cd, and its a great one that you old McCartney lovers will enjoy!.

This Never Happened Before    (3'24)

A very nice ballad, driven by the piano. A very well written love song. 

Once again the guitar fills are very beatle-esque. The words will be in your head for days to come. "Im very sure...this never happened to me before." A song full of hope like no one can write but Paul !

One of the best tracks on the album.


Anyway   (7'24)

There comes a wonderful ballad finishing the album. It has an amazing piano line and a catchy melody. This song is going to make you thrill.

There again, the ballad is full of hope.

The song recalls the Long And Winding Road, but with a more optimistic feeling.


This is the last track of the album. But be aware of the end of the song. It stops for a while like the album would be over. But there is a secret track which comes up !

A chaotic and instrumental number is there waiting for you ! It is structured around three pieces: an electric guitar jam followed by a nice piano improvisation and finished  by an "avant-garde" number with drums and other instruments coming from the Chaos and Creation dimension...



  • Fine Line / Comfort Of love 

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