Paul McCartney returns to jazz classics in "Kisses on the Bottom"
He has won 14 Grammys in his lifetime. He was knighted by the Queen of England. He has been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twice. What more could one of the biggest musical legends of the 20th century possibly produce for the public? How about a full jazz album in which Sir Paul McCartney only provides his voice? And trust me, Biola, that’s more than enough for this album.
Covering jazz classics
In 1976, McCartney was touring with Wings and penned the lyrics, “Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs. And what's wrong with that?” McCartney does just that and more in his brand new album, “Kisses on the Bottom,” a phrase taken from the first track, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” written by Fred Ahlert and Joe Young. Right after that first track begins, the listener is taken on a magical mystery tour of the musical genre of jazz; McCartney needs only to play his voice on these jazz classics, while backed by jazz pianist and three time Grammy winner Diana Krall.
McCartney covers a variety of timeless pieces ranging from “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” to “It’s Only a Paper Moon” by Harold Arlen, the man who wrote the music of “The Wizard of Oz.” To be quite honest, I had never heard of most of these songs before the album came out, but knowing the kind of musician that Paul McCartney is, I knew that he would never fail to entertain his audience. And that’s exactly what he did. Each song features a different jazz flavor that provides the listener with a pleasurable, soothing experience.
Jazz influence from father
To that I say, it’s about time. It’s about time this former Beatle got in touch with his roots. What many McCartney fans do not realize is that his father was a jazz bandleader in the 1920s. He performed many of the classics that appear on the album, and became one of the earliest influences in Paul’s musical talents.
According to McCartney’s biography “Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, the Liverpool lad was urged by his father from a very young age to learn to play and perform jazz music, which resulted in his influence by the famous jazz musicians of the day. Their influence shows up throughout McCartney’s career. Fans of this British legend can hear McCartney’s inspiration to his smooth, dreamy voice when listening to “Always” by Irving Berlin.
McCartney was sure to include two self-penned songs, “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts.” Both tracks prove all too well that the artist has not lost his musical touch in the least. “My Valentine” in particular brings back the romantic, acoustic side to McCartney last famously seen in the Beatles hit, “Yesterday.” This track features legendary guest star Eric Clapton, who first worked with him in 1968 while McCartney was with the Beatles.
Delivering on entertainment
So what’s the final grade on this album? That’s particularly hard to say. Is this a record-breaking album that will top the charts? No. Does it feature an artist who has a voice said to be exceptional and beautiful? Of course not. Then what kind of album is this?
Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom” is an album made by a man who’s doing what he loves because he can do it. He’s not worried about the money or the fame. In a time when a big part of the music industry is run on indecency and studio equipment, it is a breath of fresh air to hear an artist who still sticks to the classics. Granted, this album doesn’t feature any landmark singles, or a groundbreaking musical style that makes you want to listen to it over and over. The album overall is a very average jazz album made by an above average musician. That is why this album overall receives three and a half stars out of five. But for doing what you love and never failing to entertain, you deserve all five stars, Sir Paul McCartney. And thanks for another pleasurable listening experience.