Latest posts by Michael Gerber (see all)
- From Faith Current: “The Sacred Ordinary: St. Peter’s Church Hall” - May 1, 2023
- A brief (?) hiatus - April 22, 2023
- Something Happened - March 6, 2023
You can listen to Paul McCartney’s new album, “Kisses on the Bottom,” free for a limited time here:
I was skeptical when I learned McCartney was planning an album of covers, and when I heard the title, I did a facepalm. But after an initial listen, I’m liking it much more than I thought I would.
Take a listen and see what you think!
I’ve listened to it a couple times now, and after the initial shock of hearing Paul sing so quietly and with such restraint, I’ve decided I like it. A lot.
I was pretty much expecting this to be a disaster. And I know that it will only reinforce his detractors’ preconceived notions against him (granny songs, yada yada) but he’s done an impressive job with this. He’s working with great musicians, he’s picked a great mix of songs, and he’s obviously playing with his voice.
I read one review that talked about how this might be one of the most ardent albums he’s ever created and I agree. He’s conveying a lot of emotion in each of these songs.
I think some people won’t like his voice on the record, though. They somehow expect that at 70, Paul is going to sound like he did in 1963 singing Till There Was You. And he doesn’t. But his phrasing and tone are incredible — especially for a guy who has spent his career singing in stadiums and screaming out Helter Skelter.
Not a major album of his but it’s really really a lovely listen.
By the way, I don’t think this album is going to sell well. Because it’s got Paul’s old man voice on it. And narrow-minded people want Paul to sound like he did 40 years ago. They allow Bob Dylan’s voice to be scratchy or Tom Waits’ voice or Leonard Cohen’s because all of those guys never had pure, sweet voices to begin with. Paul did. And that’s the voice that a mainstream audience — fed on a diet of autotuned perfect voices — wants to hear.
But what’s great about this album IS his old-man voice and the precision with which he sings these songs.I don’t think most people will appreciate that, though.
Drew, I agree with you about McCartney’s voice on this album. No question that it shows his age and that it will put some people off and give fuel to the “he’s too old” chorus. But, like you, I think the age in his voice adds a dimension to these songs that makes them more moving.
He couldn’t have sung “More I Cannot Wish You,” to pick one example, like this at an earlier stage of his life. The tone and voicing here capture an older parent looking at the lives his children will live.
I don’t think he could have written or sung “My Valentine” or “Only Our Hearts” when he was much younger, either. The blend of melancholy and acceptance in these songs is something most people don’t feel early in their lives.
Like “Electric Arguments,” I think this is an album he’s done just because he wanted to, and that gives both a freedom that makes them a pleasure to listen to.
I’m glad the album turned out so well!