Excellent

LITTLE ORPHAN ANI

TYLENOL TALENT

STUPID BLOODY STUPID!

Interview

All the News That Didn't Fit

On the Record

The Olympia Connection, Or Lack Thereof

Excellent

The Numbness Is Just a Bonus

Hiphop City

WEEN ARE THE WORLD

Soul by the Pound

EXCELLENT REAL ROCK QUOTES

Incest is Best

The Rise and Fall of the N-Word

DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway

You Don't Own Me

Summer Lovin'

Stagger Lee

Music to Lose Your Job By

Boy, You Sure Can Take the Fun Out of Music

CINEMATIC CLICHE

Stuart Braithwaite From Mogwai

Going to New York City?

THE CHURCH OF COLTRANE

A Whole N'other Level

Who Says Morrissey Fans Don't Get Laid?

ISSA ROCKA ROLL

Not Modest Enough

Like many an important pop composer, Paul McCartney has always been willing to blur the line not between artist and audience, or even between art and commerce, but simply between bad and good. Nowhere is that struggle more revealing than on McCartney II, by far the weirdest album the ex-Beatle ever made.

The genre-hopping home recording is loose, rangy, and deeply stoned: 11 songs--a far-reaching melange of Caucasian disco funk, straight-down-the-middle R&B, kraut leanings, electronic mini-symphony, and bedroom folk--rendered in an intimate, comparatively lo-fi mode. A man alone, making really fucked-up sounds. Absurd, fearless, and fascinating, McCartney II walks the thin line between genius and folly.

Strung up in Kraftwerk-y synthesizer chirps, furtive beats, throbbing bass drone, and incongruous acoustic guitar strums, "Temporary Secretary" is unabashedly grating, and features the boldest rhyming list of all time: "Belly dancer/true romancer, diplomat/girl like that, neurosurgeon/nothin' urgent." It also sticks in your head like a pick-ax.

But for every abrasion, there is a salve:

"Summer's Day Song" is fairy-tale English folk set to a Walter/Wendy Carlos-worthy analog synth odyssey so pastoral, you expect centaurs with pan flutes to emerge from the speakers. The obscure gem "Waterfalls" is also noteworthy, as it was cannibalized by R&B trio TLC for a hit a few years back.

The closer, "One of These Days," is trademark McCartney: a spare, plaintive acoustic ballad so simple, direct, and perfect in its construction you can't believe it hasn't always existed. It's the kind of song only he can write, and he has. But in the context of a semi-bedroom record, drenched in homemade reverb and delicately adorned with perfect harmony, the plain takes on an honest, humble beauty, absent on his bigger-scale studio albums.

You could only call it a masterpiece.