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McCartney gives Starbucks a hit.

Folks, the pre-release reviews are slowly filtering in.  Cover artwork aside, I mean it is kind of minimalistic to say the least, it seems that this album will be a real gem.  You know, the McCartney album that we all have been wanting to hear since Flowers in the Dirt.  Unless of course, you loved the last four pop albums that Paul put out.  I for one am a huge fan of the latter works.  I love Flaming Pie, Run Devil Run, Driving Rain, and Chaos and Creation.  The feeling that I get about this new album is that it will be a summation of those last four albums.  I think all the buzz that we are hearing about this album being a nostalgic, special, album will be true.  Paul is no longer making music to market it, and sell it.  It seems that he is making it for himself.  In recent interviews he said that this is simply who he is, and what he does.  Well I think he’s found his muse, and is just hitting his stride once again.

My only question to you is this.  I get the impression from people that they expect the only place for the album to be available is at your local Starbucks location.   Do they really think that it won’t be available anywhere else?  Not that I wouldn’t mind buying music with my latte.  Anyway, it looks like we may have another masterpiece on our hands with Memory Almost Full.

Here’s what we’ve read.

You know, he’s 64 years old. On June 1, he celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ landmark album “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Four days later he will release his newest album “Memory Almost Full.” This is a landmark of sorts, too. It’s his first album release on Starbucks’ Hear Music label. McCartney, the most successful pop performer/singer/writer in history, has left the mainstream music business.

The good news is that “Memory Almost Full” is excellent, just as good as his Grammy-nominated “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.” But McCartney, sources say, felt that Capitol Records did nothing to promote “Chaos” despite its four nominations. The album, like most of Capitol’s releases, went nowhere. So the pop star is gone, and his departure is a blow to a record company on the ropes.

McCartney took his entire back catalogue with him when he left, too. This includes all his solo albums, and Wings releases, everything from McCartney to “Ram” to “Band on the Run” and “Chaos.”

It’s not like CDs still really sell or that many people are busy looking for “Red Rose Speedway” or “Flowers in the Dirt,” but still: McCartney as a solo artist is one of the great success stories in the now nearly dead music business.

Whether taking “Memory Almost Full” to Starbucks is a smart move remains to be seen. The coffee chain has had a lot of hits with other company’s releases, but also some duds. Can you say Antigone Rising? And, of course, Starbucks also sells CDs at high prices. I have personally resisted James Morrison‘s album while waiting for cappuccino because it’s $14.99. I could download it for five bucks less.

On the other hand, outside of Amazon.com, Starbucks is one of the few places people my age will buy a CD at all. Tower Records is gone, and the remaining “record” stores are multitask disasters with thunderous hip-hop music making the visit very unpleasant. Like most everything else in the music business, the era of contemplative record hunting through bins is over.

Even so, buying “Memory Almost Over” in Starbucks should prove to be a rewarding experience. McCartney is true to form on this CD, offering lush ballads and jangling rockers with as much gusto and unembarrassed gushing as ever. From the opening track, a mandolin-powered ebullient “Dance Tonight” to the closing sort power surge of “Nod Your Head,” he’s still got it.

Of course, nowadays you listen to a Paul McCartney record more closely than ever for the lyrics. Is “Dance Tonight” some kind of comment on his gold-digging ex-wife’s stint on “Dancing with the Stars”? Is the beautifully wistful “You Tell Me” sung to his late, beloved wife, Linda? What about “Ever Present Past” and “Vintage Clothes”? Aren’t they nostalgic reminisces of that first, now much-missed marriage? It would seem so.

My favorite track, “That Was Me,” a rockabilly shuffle, is disarmingly reflective for McCartney. For years, until his excellent “Flaming Pie” album, he eschewed real emotion for a veneer of flashed peace signs.

“That Was Me,” as it is, inaugurates a five-song medley that finishes off “Memory.” “Feet in the Clouds,” “House of Wax” and “The End of the End” comprise the bulk of the medley. Some of the publicity compares this to the suite on “Abbey Road.” Not really.

The medley really reminded me of a similar one on “Red Rose Speedway” and on some of the other solo albums. Paul McCartney loves a medley, you know. He loves stringing together short bits with different melodies.

Luckily, he’s good at it. His medleys usually contain at least one gem. Back on “Red Rose,” it was “Hands of Love.” On this album, it’s “Feet in the Clouds,” a tour de force where McCartney — who has absolutely improved 100 percent as a lyricist — insists he has his “head on the ground” in a Beatle-esque counterpoint that even John Lennon would admire.

What will happen when “Memory” joins the ventis and the grandes and the chocolate-covered graham crackers on the Starbucks shelves? Already, McCartney says he has made a video for “Dance Tonight” with director Michel Gondry. Natalie Portman is featured in it. But neither MTV nor VH-1 plays many videos, and none by rock stars who will turn 65 three weeks after his album is released.

But no one writes or sings like Paul McCartney. After a roller coaster career of tremendous highs and curious lows, he has acquitted himself brilliantly on “Memory Almost Full.”

Source: Fox News


One Response

  1. if i can say my opinion,i think Paul is a very good singer!when he was in The Beatles he wrote some unforgettable songs,then when he playied and sang with the Wings he wrote also others beautiful songs………………..but when he started to sing alone i think he lost something connected with his ability to sing and play .he isn ‘t the same Paul as he was in the Beatles or Wings.i think what has happened in his life during his last years changed him so deeply till to be the same person in music and life,no more!C’MON PAUL!LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED!!! 😉

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