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Sir Paul McCartney has a new album out next week, in which he pays tribute to the masters of romantic songwriting from the era before his own, with a little help from such friends as Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and Diana Krall. But rather than giving it a respectful title, as Rod Stewart did with his “Great American Songbook” series, he’s opted for a saucy quote from the Fats Waller song that begins the collection, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter”.
And that quote? “Kisses On The Bottom”
But the amazing thing about this, apart from the worldwide “wuh?” that followed in the wake of the album’s announcement, is that actually, once the silliness subsides, it’s not that bad a title. Yes, it’s a ridiculous double entendre, but if you take it at face value, it’s a rather sweet sentiment. And if Paul has a calling card, it’s his openhearted sentimentality, after all.
Also it’s the first time in a dog’s age that anyone has paid more than lip service attention to a new Paul McCartney album, no matter how good the music within, so why not?
Not that his record company saw it like that at first, as Sir Paul explained to the Sunday Times: “I made the suggestion and got this nervous text from the label which said ‘Paul, under no circumstances can we do this’. One of the guys said he felt like he’d been punched in the gut.”
But he remains unrepentant: “I like mischief. It’s good for the soul, it’s always a good idea – if only because people think it’s a bad idea.”
Here’s one of the two original songs he wrote for the album, the swooning “My Valentine”:
The full tracklist is as follows:
“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter”
“Home (When Shadows Fall)”
“It’s Only A Paper Moon”
“More I Cannot Wish You”
“The Glory Of Love”
“We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)”
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive”
“My Very Good Friend The Milkman”
“Bye Bye Blackbird”
“Get Yourself Another Fool”
“The Inch Worm”
“Only Our Hearts”
Do you like Sir Paul’s new direction? Tell us here:
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic