Driving Rain (2001)

 
1. Lonely Road 2. From a Lover to a Friend 3. She's Giving Up Talking 4. Driving Rain 5. I Do 6. Tiny Bubble 7. Magic 8. Your Way 9. Spinning on an Axis 10.About You 11.Heather 12.Back in the Sunshine Again 13.Your Loving Flame 14.Riding into Jaipur 15.Rince the Raindrops 16.Freedom

 

It became clear around this time that Paul McCartney was now in full force back from his slump from the eighties. He simply could do no wrong, and people were always excited when new McCartney product was coming out for release. This album was no exception, and the fact that made this one a bit special, is that it's rather generic, or plain. Some would state that's a disadvantage, but that never seems to be the case here. Paul doesn't sound like he's really trying for a specific sound, or direction. He merely manages to put together a very good collection of straightforward present daypop songs.

This is probably the most "normal" thing he had released since Off the Ground almost ten years earlier. It's 67 minutes chock full of great songs and are very middle of the road, very unambitious but are so easily accessible and friendly, that it never seems to really bother you. Maybe in that aspect you could claim that this album is "unmemorable", but it's memorable in the fact that it's unmemorable. Make sense?

There are times when the album seems to repeat itself a bit. During the middle of this record in the midst of all of these songs, you may have trouble discerning some of the songs from others. There are other moments, such as Spinning on the Axis that you almost wish it would have been left off because it's not quite up to par. Then there are some curious moments such as on Heather that sounds like the song is merely an idea for a song that never really takes hold. The song sounds like it starts in the "middle" of where a song should start, and never really blossoms into what it should. Then again, McCartney was sort of famous for doing things such as this, so moves like this were never completely surprising.

The high points of this record are in abundance, however. Never has he sounded so refreshing as he does on songs such as Magic, Tiny Bubble and Lonely Road. All of these have the classic, straight-forward Paul McCartney sound that are completely expected and welcome from a man of this caliber of talent. He manages to put together several of his classic romantic ballads on such numbers as Your Loving Flame and From a Lover to a Friend.

He really gets interesting close to the end with the mideast sounding Riding into Jaipur and the ten minute plus catchy number Rinse the Raindrops. Since this album came out right around the time that 9/11 occurred, he quickly added the patriotic Freedom to all except the earliest pressings that only enhanced the quality of the overall record.

There may have been a few too many songs on this album, and perhaps if a few were cut it may have made the overall package a bit more desirable, but you certainly had to be happy with what the majority of this record had to offer.

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