Album: Paul McCartney, Kisses on the Bottom (Mercury)
There's always been an easy-listening element to the McCartney oeuvre, but the lite-jazz treatment of standards on Kisses on the Bottom seems like a misstep.
The backings are pleasantly executed by Diana Krall's band, though the laidback approach verges at times on catatonic, particularly on "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "The Glory of Love".
Surprisingly, the Achilles' Heel is McCartney's delivery, with a wheedling edge betraying the strain of singing in too high a register. "Ac-Cen-Tchu-Ate the Positive" is the most successful, with echoes of Bing Crosby's relaxed swing. The good news is that McCartney's two originals, "Only Our Hearts" and "My Valentine", sit comfortably among the standards, the latter's bluesy tone providing his most comfortable vocal vehicle.
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