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Kisses on the Bottom [VINYL]

4.2 out of 5 stars 551 customer reviews

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Vinyl, February 7, 2012
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The Beatles - 1 The Beatles - 1

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Editorial Reviews

Paul McCartney presents "the songs which inspired the songs;" a newly recorded collection of the songs he grew up listening to that influenced his musical sensibility and eventually led him to become the most successful songwriter in popular history. The album, which also features two brand new McCartney compositions, is his first studio recording in five years. The album includes special guests Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.
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Digital Booklet: Kisses On The Bottom
Digital Booklet: Kisses On The Bottom
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (February 7, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Hear Music
  • ASIN: B006PAO2FS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (551 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,320 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Let's face it - these cover albums from veteran, heavily-moneyed legends of rock and pop are often pretty mundane, or at the very least inconsequential. In spite of this, Paul McCartney delivers quite well on "Kisses on the Bottom," with his iconic, velvety voice singing an eclectic, elaborate array of some of the best tunes ever written - as well as two extremely impressive new ones.

The gorgeous, lilting "My Valentine" recalls a fond romantic memory without a trace of sap or sickly-sweetness. It is a damn solid McCartney original that, save for his now-huskier vocal range, would fit in well on one of the classic Beatles albums. "Only Our Hearts" is similar in its theme and melancholic edge, but better showcases McCartney's expressive, stirring lower register. Eric Clapton plays guitar on the latter while Stevie Wonder contributes harmonica on the former. It helps to have friends.

This is not a Valentine's Day album, but it is very fortunately released in the days leading up to the holiday, for its ambiance is certainly warm, balmy and lush - that is to say, romantic. Whether he's singing the nuances of the evocative "Bye Bye Blackbird" or the timeless, drippy "Always," McCartney's delivery is consistently restrained, contemplative and sentimental, yet, importantly, he never sounds insincere or premeditated. Each selection is well-rendered and straightforward.

Much of the reason for this cohesion is owed to Diana Krall's backing band, hired specifically for this project. Backing McCartney with a fervent glow on the likes of the brilliant "The Glory of Love" and the relatively funky "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," they earn their keep here.
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Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

If you've always wanted to get all up close and personal with "The Cute Beatle" then this may be the album for you. Notice Paul with his arms full of flowers on the cover of his new album - an album loaded with his close-mic vocals on old-fashioned romantic standards...released just a week before Valentines' Day...he might as well be saying "will you be my valentine?"

Whether it's a calculated marketing ploy or just a coincidence of timing, this is certainly a good album. But it will probably divide some of McCartney's fans and may not win him many new ones outside of those who enjoy "the standards."

If you're looking for an album full of Beatlesque singer-songwriter brilliance then you'd best look elsewhere. This is mostly jazzy, old-timey stuff from the 1920's and 30's that a young McCartney first heard from his father's piano. In the same way that many actors just want to direct, there are many singers who just want to sing the standards, and thanks in part to Willie Nelson's 1978 blockbuster STARDUST many of them eventually do. Rod Stewart is another prime example of a star who cashed in big on this same concept, though he drew a fair amount of criticism as well. And then of course there's fellow Beatle Ringo Starr's 1970 effort SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY.

After initially thinking "oh brother" (before hearing the album) I changed my tune pretty quickly about 25 seconds into the opening track - a 1935 tune that has been covered by a host of singers including Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat "King" Cole, and Dean Martin - McCartney gives it just the right amount of jazzy snazz and I found myself thinking "maybe he can do this after all - maybe he's just the right singer for the job.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Kisses on the Bottom" is personal, restrained, and moving. Many albums of standards are virtually interchangeable, as the singer "sells" each one through vocal gymnastics and splashy instrumentation. "Kisses on the Bottom" is, in contrast, an intimate and unpretentious affair. [The title is taken from a line in "I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" and refers to putting XXXXXs on the bottom of a letter.]

McCartney is turning 70 this year, and this album feels like a reckoning with both his past and future. These are (with the exception of the two originals, "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts"), the songs he grew up listening to, but he's singing them from a perspective that comes with age. He doesn't try to hide his voice's aging, and has said he was trying for a "small" voice effect, similar to Fred Astaire's. The spare arrangements by Diana Krall and her band complement his voice instead of overwhelming it, and the overall effect is spacious and unforced.

In "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive," you can hear the roots of McCartney's upbeat, say-hello-not-goodbye musical persona, and in "My Very Good Friend the Milkman" the kind of whimsy that characterizes "Lovely Rita" or "Martha My Dear." But many songs offer windows into deeper emotions. "More I Cannot Wish You," expressing a parent's hopes for his children, and the slowed down "Bye Bye Blackbird" are particular standouts. The combination of longing and acceptance of limitation that infuse these two songs is hard to put into words, but I can't hear them without thinking that McCartney is looking at the end of life and thinking about what can still make it worthwhile. The two original songs on the album, "Only Our Hearts" and "My Valentine," seamlessly match the tone of the standards that surround them.
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Kisses on the Bottom [VINYL]
This item: Kisses on the Bottom [VINYL]
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