Album Review

Paul McCartney "Kisses On The Bottom"

Chad W. Lutz
Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes Paul McCartney’s billionth addition to his musical catalogue. Alright, it isn’t really his billionth album release (obviously), but it sure seems that way given how long he’s been around. Right on the heels of his fellow-Beatle Ringo Starr’s recent release, Sir Paul offers up Kisses on the Bottom which playfully and listlessly pursues the same overall themes we’ve come to expect in his music.

Kisses on the Bottom represents the 16th solo studio album from Paul McCartney. Released on February 7, 2012, on Hear Music, the 14-track LP features Eric Clapton on “My Valentine” (3:14), the album’s first single, and Stevie Wonder on “Only in Our Hearts” (4:21). Producer Tommy LiPuma took the helms with McCartney serving as the main singer/songwriter.

At first listen, the album is slow. McCartney’s voice sounds like he’s been kicked in the throat a few hundred times, but I suppose a lifetime of smoking and wailing at full pitch will do that to a person. The styles are simple and easy to get comfortable with. There were times where I wasn’t sure if I was listening to a Paul McCartney album or a Miles Davis EP. On Kisses on the Bottom, McCartney abandons the usual Pop/Rock format used in many, if not most, of his catalogue for more traditional Jazz arrangements. Throughout the album the use of upright bass, acoustic guitar, and Jazz-style drumming is poured on thick. Many of the songs end up sounding the same, with the exception of a couple including “My Valentine.”

“Get Yourself Another Fool” (4:41) is the only song on the album to feature the electric guitar. Eric Clapton uses a flamenco-style guitar play on “My Valentine.” Other noteworthy songs include “Bye Bye Blackbird” (4:24) and “Speaks of Wisdom of Life” (3:02). Both are gems lyrically and speak to life-gone-by and of love. As always, Paul retains a master-craftsman appeal throughout the album with each song meticulously arranged and produced. The album lacks any major thrills, but gives us a glimpse of what The Walrus is still capable of at age 69. I’d be more inclined to give the album a higher rating if it weren’t for how alien Paul’s voice sounds. But, then again, Paul, and the rest of the Beatles really, were always a little out there.