http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/ec3c8570552693a787034fdf1388262190b506fc.jpg Memory Almost Full

Paul McCartney

Memory Almost Full

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
May 30, 2007

What's most remarkable about Paul McCartney's inaugural album for Starbucks' Hear Music imprint is its cross-promotional hoo-ha. To win it space on his demographic's overloaded cerebral hard drives, Memory Almost Full will play all day June 5th in every Starbucks in the world, in ten of which caffeinated fans will send birthday greetings to the ex-Beatle, who turns sixty-five on June 18th. Nevertheless, by McCartney's recent standards, the album justifies the pop eccentricity he pursues so imperturbably.

"Dance Tonight" is so simplistic it could make you shudder, but repeated plays soon implant its strummed hook, and the rest of the album establishes that the party it sets up is a setup — a bit of Eden before a fall that comes immediately with the peppy but regretful "Ever Present Past," about all the time a sixty-four-year-old has already wasted on work instead of love. "Gratitude" is an astonishingly unrecriminating romantic fare-thee-well from a guy who is going through a bitter divorce. "Vintage Clothes" and "Feet in the Clouds" incarnate his nostalgia and whimsy with some wit and considerable musical invention. And the final tracks make clear that boyish Paulie conceived this record as the old man he is. "End of the End" lays out funeral instructions that include jokes, songs, "stories of old" and assurances of an afterlife not all his contemporaries believe will transpire. And "Nod Your Head" appears to advise aging lovers on their beds of pain. Not simplistic at all.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »