Release Date: Jun 5, 2007
Record label: Hear Music
Paul McCartney isn’t about to let a little thing like a contentious divorce send him on a bleak confessional bender. He opens Memory Almost Full, his 21st solo album, in fancy-free fashion, pulling out the mandolin and inviting pals over to ”Dance Tonight” (an alternative gala to Dancing With the Stars?). Still, now that he’s 64, even rock’s most sanguine superstar is ultimately drifting toward weightier thoughts on mortality and the passing of time.
This matter-of-fact acknowledgement that he's in the last act of his life hangs over this album, but his penchant for nostalgia -- this is the man who wrote the sepia-toned music hall shuffle "Your Mother Should Know" before he was 30, after all -- has lost its rose-tinted streak. Where he once romanticized days gone by, McCartney now admits that we're merely living with "The Ever Present Past," just like how although we live in the present, we still wear "Vintage Clothes. " He's no longer pining for the past, since he knows where the present is heading, yet he seems disarmingly grateful for where his journey has taken him and what it has meant for him, to the extent that he slings no arrows at his second wife, Heather Mills, he only offers her "Gratitude.
Review Summary: Consistently better than McCartney's other solo work.To be honest, when I saw that Paul McCartney signed to the new Starbucks record label, I got a little worried. I am opposed to Starbucks in general, and the fact that they have a record label astounds me. People in the café population are stereotypically indie snobs, yes, but coffee shops and record labels? It just does not mix in my mind, especially when Starbucks is not in it for making good music; they just want more publicity and money.
This was rumoured to be McCartney's Blood on the Tracks, his sorrowful, sombre, post-divorce album. However, aside from one track - Gratitude, a thank-you to a woman who saved a widower "living with a memory" - it's less about her and more about him. And this is the ever-upbeat Beatle's problem. For while his voice remains remarkably unweathered, equally at home with a feral screech or a soft purr, his frequent, chirpy nods to his past (in the Let It Be swing of Vintage Clothes; in lyrics like, "The things I think I did/ I did, I did, I did!") sound lumpishly heavy.