Paul McCartney

Another Day

Composed by Linda McCartney / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

Paul McCartney's first solo single, 1971's "Another Day," remains among his best post-Beatles work. As a legal maneuver to keep royalties coming into his household while his own affairs with Apple and Northern Songs were tied up, the always business savvy McCartney credited his wife, Linda McCartney, with co-writing his songs. While for the most part this was simply a loophole, on "Another Day" Linda earns her pay, delivering her finest supporting performance on any of her husband's records. Of course, the show is Paul's, and the raw material here is undeniably of the highest quality. "Another Day" features the best of what he is capable of: an incredibly catchy melody; an organic, acoustic arrangement; complex and well-orchestrated harmonies; and an active, melodic bass line. And again, lyrically, this type of song is where he shines. It's a picture of seemingly average life, about a woman who gets up everyday and goes to work. But McCartney is able to expose the darkness underneath the surface of this life, describing her hopes and disappointments and, ultimately, her breakdown. It is one of McCartney's gifts, like a pop Rodgers & Hammerstein, to be able to match the music to the change in lyrical tone within the same song, making it sound seamless and natural. "Another Day" bounces along with the cheery banality of the woman's routine before making sharp detours into menacing territory as he describes her sadness and her highs and lows as "the man of her dreams" appears. But he apparently uses her and leaves her again in despair. Dramatic swells and releases mark this event: "And he comes, and he stays/But he leaves the next day/So sad." This is also the point where Linda's contribution comes to the fore. Her harmony on this latter line matches Paul's lead vocal in presence, and the passionate swell in volume is truly the selling point of the song. She sings well throughout the song (parts no doubt arranged by Paul), but perhaps the importance of her part here is not just her complete commitment to it, but also the fact of the female voice being identifiable with the song's subject character. Paul pleads, "Ah, stay/Don't stand her up," but it's Linda, becoming the character and doubling the plea, who injects reality into the moment. The tone of her voice as it changes from a falsetto background voice to a prominent, full voice is distressingly and perfectly sad. The culmination of the song is the woman's breakdown: "As she posts another letter to the sound of five/People gather round her as she finds it hard to stay alive." McCartney then leaves this scene to refrain. Just the hint of it is enough to convey the despair of her life. Earlier, he indicates this impending breakdown in a mirroring verse as he says, "At the office where the papers grow she takes a break/Drinks another coffee as she finds it hard to stay awake." This betrays the foreignness of this office setting to McCartney himself ("at the office where the papers grow") and thus, to the character he's created, who has difficulty surviving there when it's all she lives for (since the rest of her life is so unrewarding). However, the final verse is a repetition of the first verse, describing her getting up and going to work again, indicating that it's a cycle she will not break out of. Nothing has changed for her, and therefore, nothing will.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
All the Best 1987 Hear Music 3:40
That Loving Feeling, Vol. 7 1994
Various Artists
Alex 3:42
Greatest 1999 EMI Music Distribution 3:42
Wingspan: Hits and History 2001 Universal 3:42
Bringing On Back The Good Times 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Soft Rock Ballads [EMI] 2006
Various Artists
EMI/Virgin TV
No Image 2007
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 3:41
Another Day 2012 MPL
No Image EMI Music Distribution
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