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Showing 1-10 of 319 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on February 7, 2012
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."

For many music fans, their personal reaction to an album of cover songs can depend largely on their familiarity with the songs and the various previously released cover versions of those songs. I'm guessing your average fan will know about half of these by title alone. A personal high point of this record for me was the Irving Berlin classic "Always." McCartney gives a respectful and subtly nuanced performance, and I was unfamiliar enough with the song and all its versions so as to make this tune virtually new to me. A low point was probably "Get Yourself Another Fool" but only because I was already familiar with a beautiful rendition by Patty Griffin on her LIVE FROM THE ARTISTS DEN album, and then after I heard McCartney sing it I decided to pull up an old Sam Cooke version, and...well let's just say Sam Cooke can sing. Man can he sing. I also discovered that "Home (When Shadows Fall)" is another tune that both McCartney and Sam Cooke have now covered, and again I was hooked on Sam Cooke's version.

So thanks Paul for helping me realize how amazing Sam Cooke is (there are still some legends I just haven't gotten around to yet) and for delivering a stellar collection of standards just in time for V-Day. McCartney's version of any of these songs could probably play in the background of some big budget romantic comedy while the leading characters canoodle each other all over New York City.

There are in fact two McCartney originals on this album. "My Valentine" is probably the most intriguing of the two because it seems to fit right in with the other songs, as if it was written 70 or 80 years ago - and if it was I'm betting it would have been heavily covered and perhaps even have found its own slot in "The Great American Songbook."

If you only want pop-rock music from pop-rock legends then you should turn around and walk away, but if you're open-minded and feel like you could use some old school atmospheric romance in your life, then this album will give you a nice little injection of exactly what you're looking for.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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on February 17, 2012
Beautiful melodies, arrangements, and of course, that timeless voice. At nearly 70, his voice is silky smooth with no hiccups. He chooses to use more vibrato than usual, and is in a higher register than usual, but there's no mistaking that it's our old friend Paul. It's just a really touching album. A real throwback to a simpler time. But it's not Paul doing a Tony Bennett impersonation -- no, he's doing it his way. It's not crooning. It's really, really touching singing. The kind that makes you sad but also happy at the same time. The best way to describe it is...this is how Paul would sing to his young daughter as he tucks her in at bedtime. The best song in my opinion is his original composition, My Valentine, but More I Cannot Wish You is also stunningly beautiful.

Paul's at that point where he doesn't care about reviews or what people are expecting of him. He's not trying to make the next Sgt Pepper's. He's just doing what he wants to do. And for the record, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and the album has charted top 3 in the UK and top 5 in the US. Not bad, Paul. Not bad for an album of mostly covers of old songs that most people haven't heard of.
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LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM PUTS A SMILE ON MY FACE:

This review is a copy of a reply to a comment I made to another comment within another review. The comment I responded to was to someone criticising and questioning why McCartney would make such an album and used the "relatively" commercially UNsuccessful Ringo Starr album Sentimental Journey as a comparison.

I don't think one can make a fair comparison of any singer/musician performing covers of "oldies" unless the songs they've recorded are the same.

From my own personal opinion about this album I initially found myself asking why did Paul do this. I'm 57 years old and have followed all the Beatles closely from the very beginning of their American launch on the Ed Sullivan Show. Like many of you who are reading this I am and always will be a "Beatle Maniac". We all, or at least should, know that McCartney and Lennon wrote 90+ percent of the Beatles Music and if one examines the songs that Paul primarily wrote as opposed to the ones that John penned, and also examines all the four Beatles separate careers and public personas I think one would deduce that Paul was/is the most sentimental of the Beatles WITH RESPECT TO HIS SONGWRITING. I am in no way suggesting that he was "deeper" than Lennon, Harrison, or Ringo; quite the contrary in fact. I think every one of them were and are incredibly complex and sensitive people and musicians and the legacy of all of their music they've left for us is a testament to that. The vast percentage of Ballads and love type songs the Beatles recorded though were written by Paul.

What we have here I think is simply a 70 year old man who's had a most incredible life and, as with many of us as we age we reflect on much of our lives and certainly our childhood. McCartney has very naturally done that and he is in the enviable position of being able to record an album of songs that meant something to him personally from his childhood. Some people write memoirs, some sing and/or compose music and songs to express and expose their lives. I don't think he cares if this album is a commercial success or not. Nor do I think he's one bit concerned about the reviews it will get. Let's face it, this man simply loves music and he loves playing and singing. If he didn't, he would have quit decades ago. If anyone has seen him perform live over the past ten years then you've walked away realizing you've seen an artist who just loves what he does.

I don't think this album is about whether or not Paul sings these songs well or not. To me, it's something that gives me additional insight into why and how this man wrote beautiful songs such as Yesterday and Michelle to just note the very tip of the iceberg of Paul's incredible opus.

Musician's like Paul McCartney are incredibly rare, having had a successful career spanning literally FIFTY YEARS, and are a gift to all of us who, as fans, have watched his career and public life evolve and in many cases affect our own lives on very deep levels. I don't think this album, and certainly not Paul himself, should receive any negative criticism whatsoever and I think that those who do critique it are missing the point and more importantly the whole picture. If you're not interested in listening to this music you don't have to buy it and if you've bought it you don't have to listen to it. But please, before criticizing any recording this man puts out at this stage of his life, think long and hard about the bigger picture (i.e., what this man has given to us) and at the very least, don't try to compare him to ANY other singer; former Beatle or otherwise.

I think it's safe to say that whatever Paul chooses to do musically is, and has been for a very long time, a labor of love. It's not about money or commercial success to him; of that I am highly confident. Whether or not these are the "greatest" recordings of these individual songs or not is not the point. Indeed, I should think that Paul himself would tell you they're not. They're songs that he loves and clearly, he's shown us he loves to sing. I think that's really all there is to this and intensely critiquing this effort is just wrong.

On November 8, 1975 I saw the legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein perform two concertos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Afterward, he played six or seven solo encores. Not only is it unheard of to attend a concert and hear TWO piano concertos in one evening by the same pianist but at the time this took place Maestro Rubinstein was EIGHTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD. As is the case with any concert, classical or otherwise, there will be all kinds of people in the audience. Some of those people will be familiar with the music being performed, others will not, and a few will know it so well and have such well-trained ears, that they'll be able to pick out every missed or dropped note or mistake. Now Rubinstein dropped some notes here and there but I don't think anybody cared. That this man, who had been playing piano for people for seventy-five years or so was not criticized for his dropped notes or mistakes, nor should he have been. What Rubinstein gave to the world of music and to those who followed his career and life was nothing short of a blessing. To criticize him for doing something that less than 0.25% of the world population could come close to doing would simply be wrong.

Although McCartney's not a classical musician, I think the analogy is still a fair one to make. Paul's given us too much for too long; he has nothing to prove. The man is seventy years old and I think that at this point nothing even remotely negative should be said about what he records. Negative words and thoughts about his music or singing are best kept as thoughts. They ad nothing of value to anyone to be written in public reviews. There are very few entertainers in this world who by virtue of their tremendously great careers, simply shouldn't be criticized negatively; unless of course they turn out to be serial killers or something. IMHO Paul McCartney falls into that category. Don't like the music, don't buy or listen to it but regardless, before you consider yourself worthy of criticizing Paul's artistic output at this stage of his career and life I suggest you first compare your own life to his before you knock him.

I'm listening to the album right now and each and every song puts a smile on my face. I can tell, he had the time of his life producing this and the musicians accompanying him are superb!
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on February 15, 2012
At first I thought 'oh no,' he's following on the coat-tails of Rod Stewart in doing boring standards now. (I'm still hoping Rod will get back to making good original songs like he used to in the previous century.) But then I remembered, this is the man - Paul McCartney! He's covered I think almost every category of music, but the standards album was missing from his resume so voila now he's got that covered too. What makes this album work is the fact that he covered relatively unknown songs, which is great! So it sounds fresh, it sounds like their his songs. The music is truly outstanding, hats off to Diana Krall. I think now all Paul has left to do is a rap and heavy metal album and there'll be nothing left for him to do! At 69, this creative legend keeps going strong!
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on February 14, 2012
Just listened all the way through, and I don't get what all the criticism is about. It's exceptionally tasteful - considerately chosen songs (very few "usual suspects"), two fantastic originals (Stevie Wonder's harmonica accompaniment on "Only Our Hearts" is signature), Paul's vintage vocals front and center, spare and mature arrangements throughout, and Diana Krall's top-notch band underneath it all.

Unlike the recent series of Rod Stewart songbook atrocities, there's nothing gimmicky here, and very little schmaltz.
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on February 14, 2012
The songs are classics - well done and absolutely gorgeous. Some of us are sick and tired of "modern" music, having a lifetime fill of it. We long for the classics of yesteryear. This cd fulfills all its promises.

I heard Paul sing My Valentine at the Grammys. I was shocked. I didn't realize he was as sentimental a fool as I am. This song is destined to become a classic and elevates Paul McCartney even further into the realm of treasured songwriters (as if he wasn't there before!). I've read some criticisms of his voice here. So he's getting older like the rest of us. Yes our voices can wear a bit thin at times. This only adds to the absolute charm of this cd, and besides, I find perfection boring. That said, Mr. M still sounds wonderful!

I highly recommend this cd to those of us who love the old classic songs, tinged with jazz and an element of beauty that can't even be put into words. Every single song sounds superb. How many albums can you say THAT about?

Great job Paul and accompanying musicians!
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on February 12, 2012
I would be disappointed if he didn't use his talent to try a different musical genre other than "Pop" or "Rock and Roll". The idea of providing his fans with a collection of Standards first came to my mind with the release of the "Broadstreet" album and the song "Goodnight Princess" even then I could imagine what it might be like; and now almost Thirty years later I am not disappointed. Would this album have been released by the Beatles; Wings, or even by Paul himself say Ten years ago? No, but that's not to say that it isn't a quality offering from a very talented musician. It continues to grow on me; so maybe I am getting older, but I have a true appreciation for his latest offering; and I think if given the chance, others will too.
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on February 11, 2012
These are the songs that Paul was meant to sing and I'm so glad he's still around to sing them. His voice has mellowed with age and, although he might not be able to belt the high ones like he used to, the notes he does hit are round, full and as lovely as you could wish for. My favorites songs on the album are the two he wrote himself. His songwriting skills are, and have always been, right up there with all of the greats. Congratulations, Paul, on a thoroughly enjoyable and beautifully crafted CD. Big kiss on your bottom!

And special kudos to Diana Krall for her lovely, understated vocals and rhythm arrangements, Eric Clapton for the signature guitar solo on 'Get Yourself Another Fool' and Stevie Wonder for wrapping it all up so nicely on 'Only Our Hearts'.

I haven't stopped listening to this CD since I bought it. Dreamy...just dreamy...
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on February 7, 2012
As a Beatle's fan from the start, and Paul always being my favorite, I have them all...every album/CD. This one is totally different, but these songs from the 20's-40's (I'm guessing, I haven't looked them all up) is so totally different, but I absolutely love them! This is going to be something I listen to over and over. Just downloaded it from the Cloud today and have it on my phone, and know this is one I will listen to constantly. I am not discounting his wonderful songs that he has written and recorded, but his version of these classics, WOW!!!
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on February 20, 2012
As always, I enjoy first reading the negative reviews before experiencing the product myself. A summary of the criticisms include that Paul McCartney's latest album is simply dull - lacking the energy of the more traditional rock Sir Paul has generated over the years. Coming off his latest tour and performing many of the Beatles and Wings classics, I can see why many fans were left scratching their heads.

That being said, this album is a complete departure from much of what McCartney has done over the years. I won't bother breaking down each and every track...but in a nutshell, the music is simply a great jazz recording. I can't help but think most of the fans offering negative opinions would not have batted an eye, had this album been released just before Christmas (save maybe "My Valentine" and "The Inch Worm" tracks). I can easily see myself playing this album along with another of my favorites during the holidays next year: Vince Guaraldi's, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Despite my preference, this recording certainly stands out as a fantastic jazz album during any time of the year.

It should come as no surprise that McCartney enjoys indulging in multiple music genres. Kisses On The Bottom is yet another great example of McCartney's diversity and creativity as an artist.
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