As Paul McCartney was working on his early solo album Ram, he also wanted to release an orchestral version. That idea didn’t happen right away, and the project took years to actually come out. By 1977, McCartney constructed a persona under which to release it secretly. Heck, to sell the idea, he even took out adds to bolster the fictional background. Real grassroots, immersive campaigning. John Lennon revealed the truth in 1972, but enough time had passed before the release that it wasn’t common knowledge. The secret prevailed into the eighties and the record became something of collector’s item. McCartney has since acknowledged the truth publicly and has integrated Thrillington into his catalogue.

Album with fun history, but unless orchestral versions of rock are to your taste, not all that great to listen to. Ram is a decent album, but I’m not sure it gains much of anything from this treatment. In fact, part of the original album’s strength is built on the expanding range of McCartney’s musical expression after leaving the Beatles.

Example? “Monkberry Moon Delight”. Of course the melody and identity of the song remains. Yet, everything that makes the original track interesting is polished for the luster presented here. There’s nothing objectively wrong or bad about the style or performances of Thrillington. I just don’t really care for it.

My overall conclusion relegates this album to a footnote of McCartney’s admirably diverese career. An inessential arcane curio for most, and a light supplement for few.

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