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Memory Almost Full is the 21st studio album by Paul McCartney released in the United Kingdommarker on June 4, 2007 and in the United Statesmarker a day later. The album was the first release on Starbucks' Hear Music label. The album was produced by David Kahne and recorded at Abbey Road Studiosmarker, Henson Recording Studios, AIR Studios, Hog Hill Mill Studios and RAK Studios between October 2003 and February 2007.

In the U.S. Memory Almost Full debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with about 161,000 copies sold, making it McCartney's highest-charting album there since 1997's Flaming Pie. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide to date and has been certified gold by the RIAA, selling approximately 550,000 copies in the United States as of October 2007. The artist's own website announced in early February 2008 that Memory Almost Full had gone platinum in the U.S., which means over a million copies shipped. Shortly after the release of the album, it was reported that McCartney was aiming to sign a long term deal with Starbucks due to the success that Memory Almost Full had enjoyed, but with the demise of Hear Music in July 2008, McCartney had to seek another deal, which would be with One Little Indian Records.

A CD/DVD deluxe edition was released on November 6, 2007.

History

In the web site constructed for the album, McCartney stated: "I actually started this album, Memory Almost Full, before my last album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, released September 2005. (...) When I was just finishing up everything concerned with Chaos and had just got the Grammy nominations (2006) I realised I had this album to go back to and finish off. So I got it out to listen to it again, wondering if I would enjoy it, but actually I really loved it. All I did at first was just listen to a couple of things and then I began to think, 'OK, I like that track – now, what is wrong with it?' And it might be something like a drum sound, so then I would re-drum and see where we would get to. (...) In places it's a very personal record and a lot of it is retrospective, drawing from memory, like memories from being a kid, from Liverpool and from summers gone. The album is evocative, emotional, rocking, but I can't really sum it up in one sentence".

Memory Almost Full is an anagram of "for my soulmate LLM" (the initials of Linda Louise McCartney). When asked if this was intentional, McCartney replied; "Some things are best left a mystery". In an interview with Pitchfork Media, McCartney clarified, "I must say, someone told me [there is an anagram], and I think it's a complete mystery, because it's so complete. There does appear to be an anagram in the title. And it's a mystery. It was not intentional." The album's title was actually inspired by a message that came up on his mobile phone. He thought the phrase summed up modern life.

McCartney revealed in late June 2007 that "See Your Sunshine" "is pretty much an out-and-out love song for Heather. A lot of the album was done before, during and after our separation. I didn't go back and take out any songs to do with her."

"Mr. Bellamy", the sixth track on the album, was found as an anagram of "Mills betray me" and fans on Internet forums say it is about his divorce. McCartney invited Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke to play piano on the track, but he declined. The press ran articles claiming that Yorke had "snubbed" McCartney, but Yorke later revealed that he "really liked the song" but felt he would be unable to perform to the required standard.

"Gratitude" is reportedly a song about the divorce between Heather Mills and McCartney.

A significant proportion of the CD release of Memory Almost Full incorporated a cover insert whose top-right corner was intentionally folded down to the center of the insert, leaving the CD tray visible. The folded-down white corner covers up the corner of the armchair image, but has the artist and album names printed so that the text is complete despite the fold. Upon opening and flattening out the cover insert, the armchair is complete, but the portion of the text which is printed on the folded-down corner is not printed on the front of the cover, leaving the text incomplete. This was the first time such an artistic intervention occurred within a standard jewel-case, and at first glance had the possibility of being viewed as a mis-manufactured copy.

As part of a promotion with British newspaper the Mail On Sunday, McCartney gave away the standard version of the CD in a unique slip-case with the 18 May 2008 edition. As of August, 2008 it is still promoted by and found in all Starbucks outlets.

Reception

Memory Almost Full was acclaimed by critics. Many maintained the album had a very Wings-esque sound, as 1997's Flaming Pie was a Beatles-inspired project. Evan Serpick of Rolling Stone magazine also compared the medley of five songs in the second part of the album to the famous song suite in The Beatles' Abbey Road.

While it was announced that copies of the album sold in the Starbucks coffee shops in the U.K. would not be counted by the Official UK Charts, because they are not registered in the copies counting system, Memory Almost Full still managed to hit #5 on the UK Album Charts. The album fell out of the top 40 charts in the UK after four weeks.

This album was #22 on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007.

Release details

On May 15, 2007 the album (in both standard and deluxe editions) was made available for pre-order from the iTunes Store, with the single "Ever Present Past" being made available for immediate download.
Country Date Label Format Catalog
Germanymarker June 1, 2007 Mercury Records
United Kingdommarker June 4, 2007 Mercury Records, MPL, Hear Music CD/LP 8 88072 30348 5
Deluxe Limited CD set 8 88072 30358 4
United Statesmarker June 5, 2007 MPL, Hear Music CD HMCD-30348 / 8 88072 30348 5
Deluxe Limited CD set HMCD-30358 / 8 88072 30358 4
Japanmarker June 6, 2007 Universal Music Group CD UCCO-3001
Deluxe Limited CD set UCCO-9151


On 18 May 2008, the original 13 tracks were included on a free CD giveaway with UKmarker Newspaper The Mail on Sunday.

Singles

The first United Statesmarker single, "Ever Present Past", made its radio debut on April 20, 2007. Even without a music video, reception was strong, and it became McCartney's first song since 2001's "Freedom" to climb the Billboard charts, debuting at number 10 in the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart the week ending June 6, 2007. The lead single for the rest of the world is "Dance Tonight", released on McCartney's 65th birthday in the United Kingdommarker, June 18, 2007. The music video for the song was directed by Michel Gondry and features Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. The video premiered exclusively on YouTube on May 23, 2007. "Dance Tonight" is also featured in an iPod + iTunes commercial with McCartney playing mandolin.As the third single, "Nod Your Head" was released as a free download single on August 28, 2007 via the iTunes Store. It was packaged with a music video for the song.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Paul McCartney.

Standard edition

  1. "Dance Tonight" - 2:54
  2. "Ever Present Past" - 2:57
  3. "See Your Sunshine" - 3:20
  4. "Only Mama Knows" - 4:17
  5. "You Tell Me" - 3:15
  6. "Mr. Bellamy" - 3:39
  7. "Gratitude" - 3:19
  8. "Vintage Clothes" - 2:22
    • This track marks the start of a five-song medley on the album.
  9. "That Was Me" - 2:38
  10. "Feet in the Clouds" - 3:24
  11. "House of Wax" - 4:59
  12. "End of the End" - 2:57
  13. "Nod Your Head" - 1:58


2-CD edition

Disc 1 is the standard edition of the album. Disc 2 contains the following:
  1. "In Private" - 2:08
  2. "Why So Blue" - 3:11
  3. "222" - 3:38
  4. Audio commentary: Paul talks about the music of Memory Almost Full - 26:04


iTunes Store pre-order bonus
  • "Dance Tonight" (Acoustic Version)


Deluxe Edition

On November 6, 2007, the album was re-released as Memory Almost Full – Deluxe Edition. The set included one CD and one DVD. The CD included the standard album plus the three extra songs from the 2-CD edition. The DVD contained five tracks recorded live at The Electric Ballroom in London, and two videos. The DVD program is the following:

  1. "Drive My Car"
  2. "Dance Tonight"
  3. "House of Wax"
  4. "Nod Your Head"
  5. "Only Mama Knows"
  6. "Dance Tonight" (video)
  7. "Ever Present Past" (video)


The Rock Radio website leaked a track listing for the album on April 12, 2007. A day later, producer David Kahne stated on the same site that the leaked listing was "bogus."

Personnel

Paul McCartney played all instruments except for "Only Mama Knows", "You Tell Me", "Vintage Clothes", "That Was Me", "Feet In The Clouds", and "House of Wax", where he was joined by the following musicians:

Grammy

Memory Almost Full has been nominated in the following categories:



Chart positions

Country Rank Sales/shipments Certification
UK 5 100,000+ Gold
USA 3 500,000+ Gold
DEN 2 Gold
SWE 3
NOR 4 9,500 Gold
CAN 6 50,000+ Gold
NED 6
ITA 8
FRA 13
JPN 17 43,000+
AUS 33
AUT 17
SUI 20
IRL 30
EST 9
GER 18
HUN 28
FIN 33
ESP 17
BEL 25
CZE 39
MEX 15


-The album entered the Billboard 200 chart on June 23, 2007 at number 3 with sales of 160,832. It remained on the chart for 15 weeks, and became 90th best-selling album in the U.S. for that year.

References

  1. Katie Hasty, "T-Pain Soars To No. 1 Ahead Of Rihanna, McCartney", Billboard.com, June 13, 2007.
  2. 'There is a tunnel and there is light, and I will get there' | Pop | Guardian Unlimited Music
  3. Pitchfork Feature: Interview: Sir Paul McCartney
  4. Life for a man on the run - Los Angeles Times
  5. McCartney fans hail 'Mills' song, BBC News Monday, 24 March 2008
  6. Thom Yorke Reveals Reason Behind Paul McCartney Snub - GIGWISE
  7. Thom Yorke Reveals Reason Behind Paul McCartney Snub On the song ‘Mr Bellamy’ » Beatles Unlimited
  8. Paul McCartney: The tracks of my years | Mail Online
  9. Rolling Stone : Preview Paul McCartney’s New Album, “Memory Almost Full”
  10. Paul McCartney's latest album faces sales battle | News | NME.COM
  11. ROBERT CHRISTGAU, DAVID FRICKE, CHRISTIAN HOARD, ROB SHEFFIELD (December 17, 2007). "The Top 50 Albums of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-20


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