Review: Paul McCartney – Kisses on the Bottom
Published on February 13th, 2012 | Charles Connolly
Album: Paul McCartney – Kisses on the Bottom (Hear Music)
At long last, Paul is not still twenty-or-thirty-something! It’s as if someone has tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Er, you know you’re seventy this year?”… McCartney goes yet another re-invention further – to tick off another talent; jazz.
Being a rather huge fan, I personally always get a tingly excitement from news of a new McCartney album, but this time it was slightly dampened by hearing that it was jazz. All jazz, and nothing but jazz. Soft, unexciting jazz. i.e. Not Paul! I then read that the greatest songwriter in the world – ever – had only written two of the fourteen songs! For days I was deeply depressed by this news, and found myself getting into Arcade Fire… This mood quickly subsided and I got my childish excitement back.
McCartney’s last solo album – now five years ago – was so critically acclaimed that even I thought they were going too far, almost to the point of wondering whether bribery was involved (of course it wasn’t). Or most likely: “Hey, it’s Paul. Of course it’s great”. It’s true, it was certainly a grower – as with so much pop music in the last ten years – but at least for the first ten listens(!), I did find myself only hugely warming to a handful of the tunes. Namely; “Only Mama Knows”, “Mr. Bellamy” and “Ever Present Past”.
And so, to jazz.
Sometimes he gets it right; sometimes he gets it hugely wrong. His new album however seems to suit quite comfortably. Not an exciting and new-found sound, and neither is it an embarrassing compilation of whispers to his latest love.
Although a very polished and accomplished album, the only thing – thank God – left of his lifelong obsession with embarrassing himself (and his fans) is the title. I can’t help but titter every time I hear yet another radio ad for his new album; Kisses On The Bottom…! As if the idea of Paul McCartney doing jazz was not enough of a treat for cold critics in the harsh world of reviews, he decides to call it Kisses On The Bottom (titter!).
“My One and Only Love”
All I really have to say is that it’s such a shame he only wrote the two songs. One of which is the single “My Valentine”, a sweet little piece of perfection you were sure had existed for many decades. As a songwriter myself, I wish I had written it. As with a lot of McCartney’s back catalogue, post-Beatles, after several listens, the album as a whole becomes fond, warm and endearing – very personal – but I really do feel a lack of his greatest talent; songwriting. If half the tunes were as good as “My Valentine”, this album would be hailed. But as it is, they’re not. Probably still hailed though; until the next one. Well hey, it’s Paul. Of course it’s great.
As John Thomson of The Fast Show once said; “Hi, and welcome to Jazz Club”…
The making of Kisses on the Bottom