Because of my Dad’s enthusiasm, I’ve been listening to the new McCartney cd. Dad says it lacks the usual McCartney cheesiness and bigification, and for the post part, he’s right. It has a disproportionate amount of the sorts of things I like about McCartney: pretty melodies, simple, catchy arrangements. This album is much more simple and emotional that most of McCartney’s solo stuff. There is a sense of intimacy and authenticity in much of it that is part of many of my favorite McCartney songs (Hey Jude, Calico Skies, Junk, Silly Love Songs…)
So, by and large, I approve of it. I don’t know if it will replace Flaming Pie as my longstanding favorite McCartney solo work (well, relatively longstanding). And there are a few moments where I think he misses the mark. Here are some of my highlights and lowlights:
My favorite song on the whole cd is “English Tea.” But that’s probably because I am a sucker for anything with a good string party. And because it makes me think of PG Wodehouse. But it is a charming little song and a great string part. Other great, subtle tunes include “Follow Me,” “At the Mercy,” and “Too Much Rain.”
“A Certain Softness” is something I think I might like coming from somebody else, but I just don’t think I can handle it from Sir Paul. It’s very latin-influenced, which in general I like, but it just seems like a bastardized Enrique Iglesias cover in this context. So I guess this song is screaming for somebody else to cover it. “Promise to You Girl” sounds like it belongs on a Queen Album and I can’t really handle it either. Maybe if he didn’t have the Bohemian Rhapsodie vocal harmonies I wouldn’t feel that way, but it’s not a standout regardless.
So I guess I’ll see how this one lasts over time. I like it, as McCartney albums go. And he is indeed one of the best songwriters of all time. It’s not stunning like some of the other things I’ve been listening to, but it might be one that grows on you over time.