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Verse Chorus Verse: Paul McCartney – “Driving Rain”

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Paul McCartney seems to me to be one of the most polarizing forces in music.  His legacy with The Beatles is practically unassailable, which led in no small part to critics lining up with sharp knives during his solo career.  It's not that Paul didn't deserve a few of sharp sticks, but the music often seemed to take a backseat to the pre-written narrative of some snotty critics determined to get in their licks.

Paul McCartneyThe first two melodies bouncing around the echo chamber that sat atop my neck this morning were The Beatles' "For No One" and McCartney's "Driving Rain."  Praising The Beatles isn't cliche to the point of being pointless, but it's damn close. Saying something nice about McCartney's later works is semi-novel territory.

There's nothing special about the song on its face. It's lyrically nondescript, but it's not insipid or insulting. McCartney plays to his strengths as a vocalist and stays in his comfort zone as a great singer of pop/rock songs. There is just a little fray in his voice as age has begun to compress the range of notes he can comfortably hit and command in his upper register, but it's all very pleasant and still filled with the warmth and welcome his voice has become famous for providing. It's hard for me to say this with a straight face considering we are talking about Monsignor Whitebread here, but there's a little hint of R&B to this one.

The melody is addictive like crackrock, with a set of wicked sharp teeth that sink into your head and never let go.  There are songs on my iPod I'm physically incapable of listening to only once.  I don't listen to "Driving Rain" every day or even every month but when I do listen to it, it's getting played more than once.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, let's go for a drive…

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About Josh Hathaway

  • Matt

    I’m with you Josh; bought ‘Chaos’ after all the rave reviews & was disappointed 1st time played. Couldnt stop playing it after a couple of listens. He’s the Mozart of rock songwriting, in that his best stuff has a seamless quality about it,ie; where does the melody end & become harmony, when is the bass just bass, it’s all so interwoven, all the elements in his best songs, you just can’t pick the seams & pull it apart. I cant think of anyone else in rock who is quite like that, eg; Lennon’s stuff was much more structured, you know where the block chords are, bass, rhythm, etc. Most songwriters are like that, but you just cant nail McCartney down.

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    Josh, it’s interesting to read your perspective on “Driving Rain.” To be honest, it is my least favorite of all his albums. Unlike even some weaker albums like “Pipes of Peace,” I didn’t connect to a single song off it. But I have talked to some who really enjoyed “Driving Rain,” so…at least, as you said, Paul still writes songs that get people talking!

  • Josh Hathaway

    The album as a whole didn’t do a lot for me, but I really do like the title track.