The Paul McCartney Project

However Absurd

Album This song officially appears on the Press To Play Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1986
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1985 (Paul McCartney was 43 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


"Press To Play" sessions #1

March - May 1985


"Press To Play" sessions #2

October 1st - December 6th 1985


"Press To Play" sessions #3

April 14th-18th 1986

Other "Press To Play" songs co-written with Eric Stewart


Footprints

Officially appears on Press To Play


Angry

Officially appears on Press To Play


Stranglehold

Officially appears on Press To Play


Pretty Little Head

Officially appears on Press To Play


Move Over Busker

Officially appears on Press To Play

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Song facts

However Absurd” is a song from 1986 album “Press To Play“.

From “Club Sandwich 42 – Autumn 1986“:

‘Talk More Talk’ and ‘However Absurd’ are the two main surrealist lyrics… ‘Absurd’ was another thing you start off and think ‘Ooh no, that’s too Beatley, so I won’t do it.’ So I resisted it for a little while, but… it was a good system then, why ignore it now?.. .There’s a sort of ‘Walrus’ intro to this track… It’s a style I know and love. The lyrics on this one are a bit bizarre, but then again they make a kind of sense… In the middle it explains itself a bit… ‘Something special between us… Words wouldn’t get my feelings through’. That’s taking off into The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran – there’s a line of his that always used to attract me and John, which was ‘Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you.’” Indeed, students of The Beatles’ White Album will recall those words from John’s poignant ‘Julia‘. Anne Dudley’s orchestration contrasts effectively with ‘bass effects’ and synthesised ‘strings’; synth and heavy guitar take over as the song repeats and intensifies in a slightly ‘Hey Jude‘ manner; the spacey fade-out completes the Beatles flavour. Move over all buskers: Mac’s back.

It did suggest the epic finale – which is why it’s at the end of the album! For me, it was another thing you start off and think ‘Ooh no, that’s too Beatley, so I won’t do it’. So I resisted it for a while, but I kept coming back to ‘Why? Tell me one good reason why you’re resisting this Beatles influence?’ Cos if anyone’s got a right to do it, there’s three guys alive who’ve got the right to do it. I’ve got past the point of comparisons with The Beatles, or being accused of being a ‘Beatle Stylist’, but I mean, I was involved in all that stuff very heavily, and realising it was a good system then, why ignore it now?

There’s a sort of ‘Walrus’ intro to this track, but of course any time you play that style on piano it evokes that. It’s a style I know and love. The lyrics on this song are a bit bizarre, but then again they make a kind of sense, a strange kind of sense. But then I find that things in life don’t always make sense, they’re not always conveniently wrapped up with a little sticker that says ‘This is very sensible!’ Sometimes they are completely absurd, which is what the song is about. In the middle section it explains itself a bit, less surrealist: ‘Something special between us… Words wouldn’t get my feelings through… However absurd it may seem.’ That’s taking off into ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran – there’s a line of his that always used to attract me and John, which was ‘Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you’. So it’s that kind of meaning to ‘However Absurd’.

Paul McCartney, in Sound On Sound interview, October 1986
From the “Press To Play” sleeve – These coloured diagrams by Paul show the position of the voices and instruments in the mix of each track.

Last updated on May 2, 2020

Lyrics

Ears twitch, like a dog, breaking eggs in a dish.
Do not mock me when I say this is not a lie.

It's funny thing, half serious, with our hands on our ears.
Living dreams with mouths ajar, wide awake, we go to sleep.

However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.
However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.

Something special between us,
When we made love the game was over.
I couldn't say the words,
Words wouldn't get my feelings through,
So I keep talking to you…

However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.
However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.

Custom made, dinosaurs, too late now, for a change.
Everything is under the sun, but nothing is for keeps…

However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.
However absurd, however absurd… It may seem.

Officially appears on


Press To Play

Official album • Released in 1986

4:59 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Keyboards (?), Piano, Producer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Engineering, Mixing, Producer
Anne Dudley :
Orchestration
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Press To Play (LP version)

Official album • Released in 1986

4:59 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Keyboards (?), Piano, Producer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Engineering, Mixing, Producer
Anne Dudley :
Orchestration
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Press To Play (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:59 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Keyboards (?), Piano, Producer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Engineering, Mixing, Producer
Anne Dudley :
Orchestration
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.19

Unofficial album

4:40 • Rough mixA1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Electric guitar
Jerry Marotta :
Drums

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Pizza And Fairy Tales

Unofficial album • Released in 2000

4:45 • Rough mixA1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Electric guitar
Jerry Marotta :
Drums

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Press To Play - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

4:59 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Keyboards (?), Piano, Producer, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Engineering, Mixing, Producer
Anne Dudley :
Orchestration
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Press To Play Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

4:43 • Rough mixA1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Vocals
Eric Stewart :
Electric guitar
Jerry Marotta :
Drums

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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