McCartney is a legend. He is clearly one of the greatest pop musicians of all time. It is impressive at the very least that he is making new music at his age. He doesn’t have anything to prove but he’s Paul McCartney and will probably be making music until the day he dies.
Going into his new album a listener has to know what to expect. If you’re expecting The Beatles, The Wings or anything similar to his 2007 solo release Memory Almost Full you’re going to be caught off guard. This album is mostly covers of hits from the Great American Songbook, classic tunes made popular in the 1930s-1950s. McCartney has said his inspiration was to recreate songs his father used to play on the piano; he wanted to recreate the moments of his family gathered around and singing together.
It's kind of an indulgent idea, but, like I said, he is Paul McCartney and can do whatever he likes with his career.
As an album it sounds great. He recruited Grammy award winning producer Tommy LiPuma to pinpoint the exact old time feel McCartney was looking for. These songs sound like they could have been recorded in the 30s with the only clarifying differentiation being McCartney’s signature vocals. Legendary jazz musician Diana Krall and her band played most of the music on the album. They kept the tone sublime and downbeat. The bass is loose but eloquently heavy, driving most of the songs. The drums are tapped lightly with brushes making a piddle paddle similar to rain hitting the fresh snow.
This is smooth jazz. It is peaceful and intimate. It beckons the accompaniment of a lounge and a glass of red wine.
The best song is McCartney’s original “My Valentine”. While it was produced with the same style as the rest of the album it has a purely encapsulating loving-feeling about it. The guitar part is utterly beautiful, played by another great, Mr. Eric Clapton. The only other original features Stevie Wonder. Clearly Sir McCartney isn’t taking any chances here but at least he sets himself up for success.
Kisses On The Bottom is an album up to you. Do you want to accompany McCartney down memory lane? If you’re not familiar with the Great American Songbook it might be a fun ride. Sometimes when an artist you care about reaches out of his comfort zone and into another genre, even if you’re unfamiliar with the genre, it can worthy to follow him. In this case you might learn something about 1930s hits and you’ll be lead by the charming voice of Paul McCartney.
If this doesn’t sound interesting it is an easily avoidable album. Kisses On The Bottom isn’t going to blow any minds. This is a personally indulgent album McCartney recorded for himself and maybe as a Valentine’s gift for his new bride.