Paul McCartney’s 1970 debut album McCartney was surprisingly slight, filled with song sketches, and just one big moment, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” viewed as befitting the former Beatles’ normally outsized ambitions, so the pressure was on for his second outing. When this emerged the following year, it was billed as a collaboration with his wife Linda, an American photographer with no musical credibility whatsoever.
Perhaps this was the reason it was hammered in the press. Jon Landau’s review of the album in Rolling Stone began by hyperbolically declaring, “Ram represents the nadir in the decomposition of Sixties rock thus far.” It didn’t help matters that the other three Beatles thought the album was stuffed full of diss tracks about them. The album’s opener “Too Many People” even prompted a response from Lennon, “How Do You Sleep?”
Listening to the album today, all this disdain seems insane. It’s one of McCartney’s best solo albums and one of the best by any former Beatle; showcasing well the varied stripes of his songwriting. His voice is in fine form and, what’s more, working with relatively unknown backing musicians, the instrumentation he arrives at is a continuation of his work with Beatles, demonstrating the significance of his role as de-facto musical director in his former band.