Sir Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom Album Review

Sir Paul McCartney Kisses on the Bottom Album

Review of Kisses on the Bottom Album by Sir Paul McCartney

The bizarrely-titled Kisses on the Bottom is the first solo album from Paul McCartney since 2007's Memory Almost Full and for someone that has - quite publicly - experienced a great deal of turmoil and life changes in that time, you'd be forgiven for expecting Macca to deliver an album of heart-wrenching personal tragedy and triumph. What we have, instead, is an album of jazz standards that has you wondering just how long Michael Bublé has agreed to lend the former Beatles member his career for.

There are some pleasant renditions on Kisses on the Bottom and that humour and light-hearted personality that McCartney can lend to a song, simply by opening his pipes, is never far from the surface. 'It's Only A Paper Moon' was previously made famous by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole and in the hands of Paul McCartney, it's a suitably feather-light sing-along, as is 'My Very Good Friend the Milkman,' though a little more of that Liverpudlian lilt wouldn't go amiss. There's something a little disconcerting listening to Paul McCartney growling, with a faux-Mississipi drawl and at times it feels the songs would benefit from a little more McCartney and a little less mimicry.

The romantic numbers, such as 'Bye Bye Blackbird' and 'More I Cannot Wish You' are beautifully accompanied, with orchestration that could quite easily whisk you to a 1940s Carnegie Hall, if you close your eyes long enough and hard enough. In fact, it's the instrumental backing that really carries these songs because, with all the will in the world, Paul McCartney simply does not possess the voice of a jazz singer. He's a fine singer, with a wonderful turn of phrase, but he is a pop singer. McCartney's voice, sadly, doesn't have the depth or dynamic to really carry these heavyweight jazz classics.

He's obviously got the phone numbers of some pretty stellar session musicians in his little black book, so it's a shame that Paul McCartney seemingly forgot to take Paul McCartney into the studio with him. These versions could well have benefitted from a little more of his own personality, his own accent, his own roots. Instead, what you have is a collection of lightweight interpretations that has Macca sounding at times, almost identical to Michael Bublé, or Jamie Cullum.

It's not unusual for artists to break from their oeuvre every once in a while and record an album in a style that their fans are maybe unaccustomed to. And for a longstanding songwriter like Paul McCartney, of course, there will always be a struggle between pleasing fans with the styles they're accustomed to and keeping them interested with a fresh perspective. He's recorded these songs because they are songs that his father played to him as a child. So, really, it's an exercise in self-indulgence, as much as anything else. But this former Beatle doesn't bring anything new to the songs on Kisses on the Bottom and whilst it makes for pleasant background music, these versions don't have the same emotional pull as the greats that he so clearly wanted to emulate.

Hayley Avron




Official Site - http://www.paulmccartney.com


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Comments

DanielleRose's picture

DanielleRose

Agree with everyone here. You have completely missed the point of this delightful album.

2 years 2 months ago
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njmralo's picture

njmralo

the album was a tribute to love, those who embellished the music scene, and joy. is that something to complain about???? NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111leave sir paul alone already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 years 3 min ago
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PaulaBrochu's picture

PaulaBrochu

We received an advanced copy (I live with long-time New York Times music critic, and Beatles expert, Allan Kozinn) and he popped it into the player and clicked on My Valentine. My very first words were, "What's he doing? Michael Bubl?" The music was weak -- like something you put out when you don't have to try as hard to be creative, but know that your name will sell the album. It seemed a little bit anemic to me. I was also disappointed by the sound of his voice, after having heard him at Yankee Stadium last summer when it seemed to be in the trim. Of course, in a stadium, how much can you really judge, other than a general sense that it sounded strong and that his vocal stamina was amazing. I always qualify my opinion by saying, "But what do I know about it? -- I'm not a music critic," since many of our friends are among the best. However, Allan agreed with my thoughts on the matter, as did our friend, Richard Buskin (who is among the short list of Beatles scholars who are as up on these things as Allan) as we messaged our reactions by Facebook.I love Paul and have a great deal of respect for his life-long work. I hold few musicians in such high regard for being so steadfast and eager to continually try new things -- and for living a life that kept him out of the smuttier headlines. I hope he keeps performing as long as he is still able to do so physically and fill the stadiums. But I hope that the mild enthusiasm he may get from Kisses on the Bottom, will incite his muse to create something new that will make us all say, "Now that's the Macca we all know and love."

2 years 2 months ago
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PaulaBrochu's picture

PaulaBrochu

We received an advanced copy (I live with long-time New York Times music critic, and Beatles expert, Allan Kozinn) and he popped it into the player and clicked on My Valentine. My very first words were, "What's he doing? Michael Bubl?" The music was weak -- like something you put out when you don't have to try as hard to be creative, but know that your name will sell the album. It seemed a little bit anemic to me. I was also disappointed by the sound of his voice, after having heard him at Yankee Stadium last summer when it seemed to be in the trim. Of course, in a stadium, how much can you really judge, other than a general sense that it sounded strong and that his vocal stamina was amazing. I always qualify my opinion by saying, "But what do I know about it? -- I'm not a music critic," since many of our friends are among the best. However, Allan agreed with my thoughts on the matter, as did our friend, Richard Buskin (who is among the short list of Beatles scholars who are as up on these things as Allan) as we messaged our reactions by Facebook.I love Paul and have a great deal of respect for his life-long work. I hold few musicians in such high regard for being so steadfast and eager to continually try new things -- and for living a life that kept him out of the smuttier headlines. I hope he keeps performing as long as he is still able to do so physically and fill the stadiums. But I hope that the mild ethusiasm he may get from Kisses on the Bottom, will incite his muse to create something new that will make us all say, "Now that's the Macca we all know and love."

2 years 2 months ago
Report
View Comments

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