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Parlophone CDPCSD 171

Even allowing for the variable quality of Macca's work over the past decade or two, this is pretty woeful stuff. What makes it especially sad is that, in the copious annotations that accompany the press release, McCartney appears to believe that he was making "an album where there wouldn't be a stiff on the track list", in the manner of Beatles LPs. He doesn't, however, explain how he expected to achieve that end with what is effectively a bunch of mash-notes to the wife, jams with old friends and family members, and throwaway doodles of songs mostly written on his holidays.

Besides containing possibly the worst song he has ever written - "Somedays", which sounds as if it took considerably less to complete than the two hours claimed - Flaming Pie features a few off-the-cuff blues jams with Steve Miller and more than a few jerry-built pieces on which the Jeff Lynne virus continues its creeping influence over The Beatles' posthumous career. Sometimes, the results are unintentionally amusing, as with this typical couplet from "The World Tonight", a perfect illustration of McCartney's militant reasonableness: "Never mind what they want to do/ You've got a right to your point of view". Steady on, old chap, don't get too controversial!

He has done some sucky stuff in his long and partially illustrious career, but it has to be said that, overall, McCartney has never sounded less necessary.