fri 22/09/2017

CD: Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom

CD: Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom

Beatle raised on big-band standards croons a love letter to the yesteryear of his youth

Late-blooming romanticism: the Macca voicebox brings its own rich history

Come on, the cheeky title is endearing. So it’s not the Fats Waller lyric that John Lennon would have lifted onto the album cover, but Paul McCartney has often sung of frogs and little lambs, of blackbirds and bluebirds, and even at 69 is still in touch with his inner child. Never more productively than in this homage to the age of the big-band jazz standard he ingested at his father’s feet.

It’s not as if this outburst of nostalgia doesn’t belong to a through-line. With the Fabs he ceded the floor to jaunty clarinets and muted trumpets in “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Honey Pie”, then with Wings there was “You Gave Me the Answer”. But this time he mostly lets yesteryear’s giants take the songwriting chores. It shouldn’t quite work, but it does, deliciously. One of the unlooked-for pleasures of Kisses on the Bottom is the match between McCartney’s voice, tending to reediness in recent years, and the lilting lyricism of Harold Arlen (“It’s Only a Paper Moon”, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”), Frank Loesser (“More I Cannot Wish You”) and Irving Berlin (“Always”). Confined to vocal duties, with Diana Krall leading a house band of jazzers recruited from Mount Olympus (plus Messrs Clapton and Wonder guest-soloing), McCartney ranges flutingly high and – in “Get Yourself Another Fool” - baritone low.

Tonally the anthology of songs put together by a soppy newlywed tends towards the sweet – Loesser’s “The Inch Worm” is the closest we stray to outright tooth-rot. In other paeans to the animal kingdom, the nightclub crooner “Bye Bye Blackbird” (Ray Henderson/Mort Dixon) sounds like a melancholy valediction to another feathered friend singing in the dead of night. Slotted into the collection are two new songs from McCartney himself, of which the more touching is the outbreak of uncertain, late-blooming romanticism of “My Valentine”. You could maybe ask for an injection of smoke and sex and vulnerability, but the Macca voicebox brings its own rich history. It's not one for the under-30s, or even under-40s, but hats off to the old fella.

Watch the promotional video for Kisses on the Bottom

You could maybe ask for more smoke and sex and vulnerability, but the Macca voicebox brings its own rich history

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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