Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is the thirteenth solo studio album by Paul McCartney, released in 2005. A long time in the making, the set was produced by Radiohead and Beck collaborator Nigel Godrich at George Martin's suggestion.

McCartney plays almost all of the instruments, similar to his 1970 album McCartney and the 1980 McCartney II album. In addition, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard marks the first time since 1984's Give My Regards to Broad Street that McCartney was not involved in producing one of his studio albums.

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard was McCartney's last rock album release for longtime label EMI. He signed a deal with Hear Music, owned by Starbucks, in March 2007.[1]


 [hide*1 Music and lyrics

Music and lyrics[edit]Edit

McCartney said that the song "Friends to Go" is influenced by, and dedicated to George Harrison.


Upon being asked to produce an album with McCartney, Godrich admitted:

"My initial reaction was one of terror, not only because it's a very important person, but I really wasn't sure how willing he would be to get his hands dirty."[2]

The two tentatively began a collaboration, recording the songs "This Never Happened Before" and "Follow Me" which was enough to convince both of them that they could develop an album. Godrich's participation was active: he inspired McCartney to write the song "At the Mercy", added piano loops on "How Kind of You" and worked with McCartney to slow the tempo of "Riding to Vanity Fair" which McCartney says "changed the mood completely".[3] Although initially taken aback, McCartney appreciated Godrich's tenacity and honesty.[citation needed]

According to McCartney, Godrich was at times blunt in his appraisal of McCartney's songs-in-progress during the making of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:

"Nigel... refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn't like, which was very cheeky of him."[3]


Recording sessions for the album were done over a long period of time, with many pauses. First sessions were held at RAK Studios, London in September 2003 by McCartney and his band. After a few takes, Godrich said to McCartney he wanted to work with him alone, not involving the band. After some months' break, sessions resumed at Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles in April 2004, with more sessions in September. Final recordings took place at AIR Studios, London in April 2005.[4]


The cover for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is from a photograph of McCartney strumming a guitar in his family's back yard in Liverpool, taken by brother Mike McCartney (aka Mike McGear) and originally entitled Paul Under Washing, before being retitled Our Kid Through Mum's Net Curtains.


The first single, the upbeat "Fine Line", was released in late August 2005, ahead of the release of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and reached No. 20 in the UK. A second single, "Jenny Wren", reached No. 22 in the UK that November.

The 'US' Tour in 2005 helped to promote the album in the States and Canada.

There was also a promotional concert for the album held at Abbey Road Studios, called Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 78[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [6]
BBC Favourable[7]
Blender [8]
Entertainment Weekly [9]
The Guardian [10]
Los Angeles Times [11]
Music Box [12]
The New York Times (Positive)[13]
NME [14]
People [15]
PopMatters [16]
Q [17]
Robert Christgau [18]
Rolling Stone [19]
Stylus Magazine A[20]
USA Today [21]

At Metacritic, the album holds an average Metascore of 78 out of 100, based upon 19 reviews, which indicates generally favourable reception. Advance reviews for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard were very strong and signified that after delivering Flaming PieRun Devil RunDriving Rain and this album – all in uninterrupted succession – McCartney is in a late-career creative peak. Many critics and longtime listeners also acknowledged that the album was unusually reflective and intimate-sounding for McCartney.[citation needed] The sudden shift in direction was generally considered an unexpected and welcome surprise, and resulted in four Grammy nominations for the album, including the nomination for Album of the Year.

In the United States, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard debuted at the number-six on the Billboard 200 with sales of 91,545 copies. It stayed on chart for a total of 21 weeks, selling over 530,000 copies up to 2007.[22] However, the album underperformed in the United Kingdom, peaking at the number-ten on chart and spending only 3 weeks inside the top 200 with cumulative sales of around 45,000 units.[23] It fared better in France, selling in excess of 100,000 copies during a 21-week chart run.[24]

According to the annual report published by EMI, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard had sold 1.3 million copies worldwide by the end of March 2006.[25]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written by Paul McCartney.

  1. "Fine Line" – 3:05
  2. "How Kind of You" – 4:47
  3. "Jenny Wren" – 3:47
  4. "At the Mercy" – 2:38
  5. "Friends to Go" – 2:43
  6. "English Tea" – 2:12
  7. "Too Much Rain" – 3:24
  8. "A Certain Softness" – 2:42
  9. "Riding to Vanity Fair" – 5:07
  10. "Follow Me" – 2:31
  11. "Promise to You Girl" – 3:10
  12. "This Never Happened Before" – 3:24
  13. "Anyway" – 7:22
    • "Anyway" contains a hidden track, "I've Only Got Two Hands", at 4:10 after a 20-second break.

Other songs[edit]Edit

In addition to the above tracks, the Japanese release of the CD included the song "She Is So Beautiful". The song was also offered as a free download in Windows Media Audio format to US customers who purchased the CD at Target stores. Other bonus downloadable songs were made available to people who bought the CD at certain other stores, such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Also, "Fine Line" and "Jenny Wren" appeared on singles with their running time shortened.

There are six songs which were recorded during the sessions for Chaos, not included on the album but released as B-sides and on imports:

Title Length Notes
"Comfort of Love" 3:12 Available on "Fine Line" CD single
"Growing Up Falling Down" 3:27
"Summer of '59" 2:11 Available on vinyl edition of a single "Jenny Wren"
"This Loving Game" 3:15 Available on "Jenny Wren" CD single
"I Want You to Fly" 5:03
"She Is So Beautiful" 3:01 Available on Japanese pressing of the album
"Jenny Wren" (Live from Abbey Road) Exclusive download from

Special Edition DVD[edit]Edit



Personnel per booklet.[27]



Grammy Awards[edit]Edit

Year Recipient Award Result


Chaos and Creation in the Backyard Album of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
"Fine Line" Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
Nigel Godrich Non-Classical Producer of the Year Nominated


"Jenny Wren" Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated


Chart positions[edit]Edit

Chart (2005/06) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[30] 33
Austrian Albums Chart[31] 13
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[32] 15
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[33] 10
Canadian Albums Chart[34] 6
Danish Albums Chart[35] 5
Dutch Mega Albums Top 100[36] 8
Finnish Albums Chart[37] 20
French SNEP Albums Chart[38] 3
German Media Control Albums Chart[39] 4
Italian Albums Chart[40] 3
Japanese Oricon Weekly Albums Chart[41] 19

VG-lista Albums Chart[42]

Spanish Albums Chart[43] 9
Swedish Albums Chart[44] 3
Swiss Albums Chart[45] 9
UK Albums Chart[46] 10
United States Billboard 200[34] 6

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (2005) Position
Italian Albums Chart[47] 129

Certifications and sales[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[49] Gold 108,900[24]
Japan 39,000[50]
Russia (NFPF)[51] Gold 10,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[52] Gold 44,894[23]
United States (RIAA)[53] Gold 534,000[22]
Worldwide 1,300,000[25]

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone
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