Friday, February 17, 2012

Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom (2012)

We all know that Paul McCartney has a taste for music that was written not long after the fictional Lord Grantham and his family were walking the giant halls of Downton Abbey so it may have been inevitable that the rock veteran would release a CD of (to use his own lyrics of many years ago) "relics from a different age." While I'm aware that standards and songs from the Great American Songbook may not be everyone's cup of tea those of us who appreciate the sound of those bygone days know McCartney always possessed a flair for writing, playing, and singing this kind of stuff quite well. He started recording tunes like these all the way back in 1963 during his early days with The Beatles. They include The Music Man's "Til There Was You," "When I’m Sixty-Four," "Honey Pie," "You Gave Me the Answer" and more.

However, the ex-Beatle's latest CD, Kisses on the Bottom, is a questionable venture and not because of the enterprise itself. It's the timing of the release. While hooking up with Diana Krall's band is a very good idea, and the song selection is fine, the problem lies with McCartney's singing. His voice is past its prime and the spare musical backdrop supporting him tends to emphasize this more than his recent rock productions have. If he had taken on this project fifteen years ago he probably would have been able to pull it off with whole lot of panache.

There are two McCartney originals that blend in well with the standards. The first single, "My Valentine," has Eric Clapton playing acoustic guitar, and "Only Our Hearts" features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. Because both are self-penned tunes they work better than the covers do because the singer composed them to fit into his vocal range.

The double entendre album title comes from the song "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." It's cute but a little weird.

1 comment:

  1. You say potato, I say potahto, I have no problem with Paul's voice on this. I think these songs sound great in his voice, and if he has lost anything to age, I am thankful that he sounds as much like himself as does, considering that he turns seventy this year. He sounds so good with a jazz band that I wish he had tried it years ago, maybe instead of some of his more mediocre albums.