Album review: Paul McCartney - Kisses On the Bottom - Release date 6th February 2012

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is set to release his latest album ‘Kisses on the Bottom’ on the 6th February 2012. It is his most recent musical offering and is indeed his only release in the last five years. The oddly titled album is a reflection and nod into McCartney’s musical past, celebrating the music he grew up listening to. It also includes some notable guest appearances from Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and Diana Krall.

While there is no doubt of the talent flowing through the legend that is Paul McCartney this album leaves me somewhat confused. It is a tranquil, laid-back jazz-based album with a soft acoustic feel. It compromises of 12 cover tracks of old time favorites such as Only a Paper Moon and Bye Bye Blackbird to name a few as well as two brand new compositions My Valentine and Only Our Hearts. And yet, for all of this I am still left feeling a little empty for it.

What is certainly obvious is that Paul no longer has to focus on career pushing albums, he has released this out of pure love for the music. It’s isn’t about selling records rather more about a certain self-indulgence, and perhaps for that he needs to be commended. He has reached a rare stage in his career as an artist where he is able to break free from the boundaries of management and say “You know what? This is the music I like – I’m going to sing it!”

My Valentine is a charmingly smooth track. It begins with a bare arrangement of acoustic guitar, bass and piano with simple shuffle style percussion before introducing romantic harp strums and cinematic strings. It is rich and certainly has an essence of class to it.

Only Our Hearts opens with a solo flute accompanied by lilting strings. It has a certain 'Frank Sinatra’ and ‘Rat Pack’ feel to it. The soft percussion that characterizes the entire album appears again, working well with the Hollywood styled string arrangement.

I feel that Paul’s voice doesn’t quite work as a jazz singer and this is perhaps what leaves me slightly uneasy when listening to the album. While credit must be given to the talented arrangements, I long for a deeper richer voice singing along to them. The two original tracks are classy and glamorous, flawless in composition and arrangement but Paul’s voice doesn’t seem to carry well over them, particularly on the higher, longer notes.

While there is no denying that this is a solidly produced album that will certainly warm the heart there still feels to be something missing from the overall package. It will do well, and I commend Paul for pushing his own love of music and having the freedom to try different styles but for me it doesn’t work as well as I would hope it to given the names behind it.

Review by Melissa Phillips