Paul McCartney's new album Kisses on the Bottom, released earlier this month, is a sweet throwback to the musical styles of the former Beatle's childhood. Including just two original tracks, "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts," McCartney's latest musical effort is full of classic love ballads and old-school standards. If nothing else, the album is sure to tug at the heartstrings of listeners of all ages.
McCartney has often been criticized for clinging to his balladeer roots, especially in contrast to former Beatles bandmate John Lennon, who thrived during the growing rock n' roll scene of the 1960s. But I applaud McCartney for managing to walk the fine line between belting out rock tracks and singing soulful, sweet ballads. One of his biggest assets in this balancing act is his soft, syrupy voice, which croons and caresses throughout this entire album.
The album, admittedly, will probably not go down as a great work of McCartney's career. Listening to it can definitely become a bit boring, but McCartney's voice sounds wonderful, the songs are classic, and the tribute to the artist's youth is duly appreciated.
In honor of the new album, Rolling Stone magazine put McCartney on its March cover. In the magazine's titular article, "In the time it took you to read this, Paul McCartney just wrote a new song. What makes the 69-year-old former Beatle run?" McCartney characterizes Kisses on the Bottom as a quick tribute and explains that he plans to return to his rock n' roll roots for his next album.
"The plan was to do what I'm doing now, which is to almost immediately start into another studio album, so people don't think that that's it, I'm now in the jazz genre," McCartney said to Brian Hiatt, the piece's author.
While Kisses on the Bottom certainly offers up McCartney's trademark charm and cheer, I will be glad to see him return to his rock-era sound, even if only for one album. His talent has hardly faded since his bygone days as a Beatle, but his newest work feels almost too old-fashioned at times, and it lacks the originality and innovation which once made McCartney great.
While McCartney wrote two songs on Kisses on the Bottom, neither stands out as a huge hit. His adaptations of some other classics, such as "The Glory of Love," are wonderfully well-done, and McCartney's phenomenal vocals shine through, but even listening to these adorable ballads makes me miss "Band on the Run" and "Live and Let Die," two highlights of McCartney's post-Beatles career.
McCartney's accomplishments as a Beatle are obvious to any music lover, and he has experienced great success as a solo artist. Songs such as "Run Devil Run" point to McCartney's more 50s-style rock, and Kisses on the Bottom is, if nothing else, a solid showcase for McCartney's admittedly stereotyped softer side.