Monday, November 26, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 65


McCartney's personal loss is public's gain on 'Rain'

By Jason Caesar Consolacion
Contributing Writer

Thank God for Paul McCartney. Honestly, if it weren't for this ex-Beatle, how on Earth would today's musicians do the things they do?

Mark Seliger/Capitol Records

Paul McCartney is a survivor. He has survived the deaths of his group the Beatles, his friend John Lennon and his wife, Linda. His latest solo
set, Driving Rain was released Tuesday.

McCartney's latest album, Driving Rain, is a microcosm of all and everything this legendary artist has produced since his days with the Beatles,
Wings and his illustrious solo career.

The 59-year-old McCartney has gone through quite a bit in his 40-year musical career. As one-fourth of the greatest band in the world, he had a
hand in changing the course of popular music.

But in recent years, McCartney has had to deal with great loss. In 1998, McCartney's wife Linda lost her battle with breast cancer. In love with the
same woman since 1967, Sir Paul suddenly found his life broken in pieces. But how dare anyone think McCartney would just fade away into
rock and roll history.

After recording an album of classic '50s covers in 1999 (Run Devil Run), McCartney brings his fans 16 new tracks that compile his latest work,
Driving Rain. And to say this album is a bit therapeutic for the ex-Beatle is definitely an understatement.

McCartney has found a new love in Heather Mills, a new band and a new light of inspiration, which produced the tracks on Driving Rain.

The album begins with two sweet tunes, "Lonely Road" and "From A Lover To A Friend," both songs dealing with McCartney's mid-life transition
from the love of the first part of his life to the love of the rest of his life.

The latter is the first single off Driving Rain and features McCartney on piano and bass as he sings a gorgeous melody over the ballad's
beautiful chord progression ­ it's classic McCartney, reminiscent of "Let It Be" and "My Love."

"She's Given Up Talking" is a rather dark composition, as Sir Paul creates a campfire sing-a-long mood in this story of a girl who chooses not to
peep a word at school.

The title track, which is actually a pretty funny tune, follows. Written during the recording of the album (half of the songs were written in the years
preceding the album's creation), "Driving Rain" sort of possesses a struggling of two styles: rock and ahem disco.

With the guitar strummed in a bright, "wah-wah pedal" tone and McCartney's bass walking up and down the neck, the accompaniment clashes
with the drummer's rock beat. The chorus is quite giddy and soulful, featuring a "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" lyric similar to the Beatles' "All Together Now."

Other songs on the album display McCartney's current state of mind: he has come to grips with the loss of Linda and has done so by moving on
and finding Mills. Tracks like "I Do," "Your Way," "Your Loving Flame" and the groovin' tune "Heather" (which is mostly an instrumental) reveal
the ex-Beatle's new life.

There are two McCartneys present on Driving Rain as Paul's son James co-wrote and played percussion and guitar on two of the albums

Finally, there are the last few tracks on the album that remind us of how talented this old guy from Liverpool, England, really is. "Back In The
Sunshine Again" is an awesome bluesy tune that features McCartney on stunning vocals, while "Rinse The Raindrops" is just a classic jam
featuring all the talents of Driving Rain's musicians.

There is a bonus track on the album. Inspired by the events in New York City on Sept. 11, McCartney wrote "Freedom" the day after the terrorist
attacks. He premiered the song during the Concert for New York tribute in October and recorded it just in time to be included on Driving Rain.

Not very complex in its musical form, "Freedom" serves as an inspiration to those confused about how to react to the tragic events that shook
America on Sept. 11. It has a catchy hook and includes fitting lyrics that actually make it one of the better songs on the album.

With Driving Rain, McCartney not only displays the different styles of music he has mastered since the early '60s, but he also reminds his fans
of how great he is on the bass. Using his trademark Hofner violin ax, the rock legend walks and plays various riffs and licks better than he ever

Driving Rain is a welcomed comeback effort by McCartney. Of course, being a legend of his stature, what kind of 16-track collection of original
new material wouldn't be? 

Once sharing the charts with the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and the Beach Boys, McCartney now finds himself amongst such names as
Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and 'NSync. Is this an over-stayed visit? Not exactly. It's more like a sigh of relief for the fact that great music
still exists.

Driving Rain

Paul McCartney

**** (out of five stars)

Capitol Records

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