The Wings song Paul McCartney never figured out: “I can’t really explain what it is”

Paul McCartney never claimed to be a genius whenever he sat down to write a song. He may have written some of the greatest songs of the past century, but he was likelier to tell you that he has no idea where his songs come from half the time. Usually, the perfect melodies fall out of the sky, but the lyrics to ‘Jet’ were intended to sound a little bit silly when Macca began working on them.

McCartney writing a few questionable lyrics is certainly nothing new for any Beatles fan. Despite being the man behind a lyric like “The love you take is equal to the love you make”, fans had to sit through the comedic stylings of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ before they even got to that nugget of brilliance.

When the Fab Four split up, it seemed like McCartney was usually going for a more comedic angle half the time when penning his nonsensical songs. There would be the occasional love song here and there, but there’s no real logic that dictates what a song like ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’ is supposed to be about.

By the time Band on the Run rolled around, there was no time for working out the bugs anymore. The rest of The Beatles had classic albums under their belt in their solo careers, so McCartney would either have to make his best sonic statement or be relegated to the same relics of yesteryear that most people forgot about once changes in fashion went away.

Thankfully, we got the latter. Even though Band on the Run was an absolute nightmare to make, they walked away with more than a few hits, including ‘Jet’. Finally, after years of waiting, this was the kind of uptempo rocker that people had been waiting for McCartney to make—while also going back to the absolutely nutty lyrics.

It may have started around McCartney’s father-in-law being a nuisance, but he admitted that even he didn’t know what some of the lines were about, writing in Paul McCartney in His Own Words, “I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it means something to the record buyer, but if I’m asked to analyze it, I can’t really explain what it is. ‘Suffragette’ was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it”.

For all of the various explanations that McCartney has given over the years, it’s hard to really pin down any one meaning behind the songs. Jet was allegedly the name of one of his ponies that he had at his country house, but chances are even McCartney could care less what the song is about anymore.

This was just the vehicle to get him back into the good graces of the public, and ‘Jet’ was a reminder that the lovable balladeer that everyone thought they knew could still rock out when he wanted. ‘Junior’s Farm’ and ‘Letting Go’ were still to come, but it was just nice to see McCartney back to embracing his roots.

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