Paul McCartney - Driving RainWow, it’s finally happened – Paul McCartney, whose last project I really dug was 1997’s Flaming Pie, has been dragged into the 90s. Not a bad trick, considering that this album was released in 2001.

I was pleasantly surprised by Driving Rain, having been bitterly disappointed by the retro-cover-fest that was Run Devil Run. And one of the things that I believe surprised many people about Driving Rain was the fresh frankness of the lyrics, dealing openly with McCartney’s second marriage following his first wife’s death due to cancer. But while the subject matter is a bit different for the former Beatle, his way with a pop song isn’t. Tunes like “Your Way”, “Magic” and “Driving Rain” demonstrate his melodic gift, complete with trademark hooks.

Songs like “Spinning On An Axis” and “She’s Given Up Talking”, however, introduce something new to the equation – a bit of modern groove and a much more modern sound production-wise. These things aren’t unwelcome, and I felt the number of songs given this treatment wasn’t overpowering. You won’t be wondering why Sir Paul suddenly changed his entire sound – because he hasn’t.

“Riding Into Jaipur” is the kind of Indian-flavored tune we might have expected from the late George Harrison, while “Heather” turns out to be another surprise, with a lengthy instrumental jam eventually leading up to a single verse song. “Rinse The Raindrops” is also mostly instrumental, and clocking in at ten or so minutes with its atmosphere of a nice loose jam, it would’ve made a nice album closer. But as most people know by now, it’s not the album closer – that honor goes to the hurriedly-written song “Freedom”, which addresses the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. in what I can most charitably describe as a token manner, 3 out of 4with jingoistic, repetetive lyrics that don’t really rise to the challenge of addressing the momentous events that inspired them. Honestly, I would’ve rather he’d ended Driving Rain with “Rinse The Raindrops”, or perhaps moved the “No More Lonely Nights”-esque “Your Loving Flame” down to end the album; “Freedom” is, in itself, hardly a song befitting the occasion, and not as good as the rest of the album.

Order this CD

  1. Lonely Road (3:15)
  2. From A Lover To A Friend (3:48)
  3. She’s Given Up Talking (4:57)
  4. Driving Rain (3:26)
  5. I Do (2:55)
  6. Tiny Bubble (4:20)
  7. Magic (3:57)
  8. Your Way (2:54)
  9. Spinning On An Axis (5:15)
  10. About You (2:53)
  11. Heather (3:24)
  12. Back In The Sunshine Again (4:21)
  13. Loving Flame (3:42)
  14. Riding Into Jaipur (4:06)
  15. Rinse The Raindrops (10:11)
  16. Freedom (3:31)

Released by: Capitol
Release date: 2001
Total running time: 66:55