Paul McCartney

Driving Rain (Capitol)

Phases and Stages

Paul McCartney

Driving Rain (Capitol) Paul McCartney is every bit the musical genius that John Lennon is so often called, and in fact, if you stacked the 50 best McCartney solo tracks up against the 50 best Lennon solo tracks, Sir Paul's would probably be judged better by an objective panel. Which just goes to make it doubly frustrating that Driving Rain is such a disappointment. The worst mistake McCartney made after hitting the home run that was his back-to-basics covers album Run Devil Run was hiring L.A. hack-producer David Kahne, a man whose credits include some of the most awful dreck L.A. has produced in the past two decades. Add to that a group of unknown musicians you'll probably never hear from again, and you have a recipe for disaster. At least the devastating loss of his beloved wife Linda has ensured that his lyrics, for almost the first time in his solo career, are both honest and moving. Coupled with the fact that he can write breathtaking melodies, sing better than just about anyone working in popular music, and come up with clever arrangements for even the most frothy of tunes, Driving Rain isn't the total disaster it could have been. Still, most critics have compared the album to Revolver, which is patently ludicrous. Maybe next time he'll let someone like Dave Edmunds or Pete Townshend -- both hypercritical egotistical sorts themselves -- produce the album and will be challenged to rise to the top of his enormous talents. In the meantime, can you honestly recall a single song from his last so-called "critical comeback," Flaming Pie? Neither can I.


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