8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Return to early 70's?,
This review is from: Driving Rain (Audio CD)
After listening to the album four times, my initial impression is that it sounds like a distant cousin to the RAM album. There is that kind of casual, let's-do-it-and-not-think-too-much-about-it quality about it, which in general recalls Paul's early 70's albums. True to this spirit, some of the songs are slight (Your Way, Driving Rain) but still very catchy. Songwriting has always come easy to Paul, you see, and occasionally he just doesn't feel the need to come up with a middle eight or a "bridge" to properly finish off a song.
The production is, in my opinion, a vast improvement over the last album. The vibe is warm and organic, the natural sounding drums are much more suitable to Paul's music than Jeff Lynne's monster snare hits on Flaming Pie. If you own any other McCartney albums then you know what to expect lyrics-wise. The guy never did compete with Shakespeare, you know, and with an exception of couple of poignant moments, the words are merely pleasant and passable.
But it doesn't matter, because that familiar Paul McCartney vibe, that melodic spark which we all love so much, is still there. And curiously, there are several deeply melancholic moments here that carry genuine emotion: From A Lover To A Friend, She's Give Up Talking in particular both have a strange, haunting quality to them. Lonely Road starts out calmly and builds effectively into a desperate growler. Heather is a beautiful, euphoric piece which captures the rush of falling in love with someone. My version of the album comes with a bonus track -- a live recording of "Freedom" from the New York City benefit. It's quite rousing, and Paul's vocal sounds much stronger than I remember it from watching the show on TV.
In the end, if you don't like McCartney, this album won't convert you. But for the diehards, this is an embarrassement of riches. Is this on par with his classic stuff? Have no idea. If it was released in 1972, I have a feeling the album would probably top the charts, and it would spawn two top ten singles. Today, radio won't touch it and most people will not even know it's out. But, hey, it's just great to hear from the man every once in a while. Favorite songs: Lonely Road, Heather, From A Lover To A Friend, She's Giving Up Talking, Driving Rain, Your Way, I Do.