Thursday, September 6, 2007


The topic on the table is overlooked solo McCartney tracks, or particularly good songs on otherwise unexceptional records. My thoughts turn to "Power Cut," last track of the medley on the second side of Red Rose Speedway. Go get your copy off the shelf and drop the needle.


There May Be A Powercut
And The Candles Burn Down Low
But Something Inside Of Me
Says The Bad News Isn't So

I May Never Tell You
But Baby You Should Know
There May Be A Miracle
And Baby I Love You So

Baby I Love You So
Baby I Love You So

. . . and then the phrase "Baby I love you so" repeats over and over again, over which Paul does his inimitable rock and roll shouting of incomprehensible non-words. He's always doing that over codas. Then, guitars come in with a reprise of all the previous melodies from the medley: Hold Me Tight, Lazy Dynamite and Hands Of Love.

A few thoughts:

- The simple, repetitive chord change that this song is built on is CLASSIC MCCARTNEY. Happy and sad at the same time. Catchy without being facile. Melancholy yet jaunty.

- The solo is played on what sounds like one of those little tiny toy kid pianos.

- The coda, with the shouting and the overlaid guitar melodies is INSANE.

- Paul's lyrics are meaningless, even if you are willing to work with him. This plays into the old McCartney stereotype (strong melody/weak lyrics), but only if you're looking for Lennonesque wordplay or candor. Why don't you just get off your high horse and admit that "There may be a power cut" is an amazing phrase.

WAIT A MINUTE! I just realized something for the first time. He's talking about the electricity going off, in a storm. That's what he means by "power cut." That's why there are candles burning down low. OK, so the lights go out, they put on candles, and then Paul just starts telling you (the listener?) that he loves you so.

I guess that doesn't redeem the song, but it's something I never got before. I thought when he said "Power Cut" he meant "great song." The lyric transcription above has it as, "There may be a power cut," but I'm pretty sure Paul sings "I may be a power cut." Listen and judge for yourself. I think he also says "I may be a miracle," which is certainly true.

Here is my transcription of the shouting at the end:
"Maybe I'm a miracle . . . and I love ya . . . and I love ya . . . and I do! yeah because . . . now maybe I'm a bongo . . . we'll a love you . . do babba do . . . maybe lunga . . . lunga bongo . . . YEAHHHHHHHH! YEAHHHHHH! Oh yeah!! . . . [incomprehensible]"

This is a great song! I love it.

-Doug O'Donnell