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3.8 out of 5 stars36
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 November 2001
At best, this album is akin to the greatest of the Wings output. If I were to describe it accurately though, I would say it was a mix between 'McCartney II' in weirdness, 'Back To The Egg' in Wings-ness and 'Flaming Pie' in sheer creativeness. Upon first hearing, the similarness of the songs makes them seem to merge together and nothing particularly strikes you - but listen again, and it's actually marvellous!
It will grow on me. That is the reason I gave it four stars and not three. The songs that immediately stand out are: "From A Lover To A Friend" (the excellent first single), "Magic" (with a great drum break at the end), "Your Way" (which wouldn't have looked out of place on 'The White Album'), "About You" (a great rocker - too short, though), "Heather" (a mostly instrumental track and arguably one of the best tracks on the record), and "Your Loving Flame" (one of the best Macca ballads: and he's done a few!)
Despite recent reports, Paul's voice may not be in the best shape it's ever been, but it's still in great form. This is especially shown on the impressive vocal of the bonus track "Freedom" (a song for the NYC Firefighters.) The musicianship is great. The drummer (Abe Laboriel Jnr.) is excellent, as is the bassplayer (I can't quite remember his name!)
Of course, there are more than a fair share of Beatles/Wings moments. "I Do" and "Your Way" could have been extracted from any later Beatles record, and "Riding Into Jaipur" could have been written by George H. and the walking basslines couldn't be anyone else. The whole sound of the album has a spontaneous quality which are apparent on most Beatles albums/songs.
You can imagine most of these tracks appearing on Wings albums, especially "Lonely Road", "She's Given Up Talking" and "Back In The Sunshine Again" (one of two written with his son, James). This is not signifying that Sir Paul has taken a backwards step: he is merely showing the world that he can still do it!!
All in all, 'Driving Rain' is extremely enjoyable. It's great to hear the master back doing what he does best - a guy loving life and sharing it with you; singing about loves and losses and just so happening to make a damn good CD documenting it all! In a nutshell, extremely creative and inspiring.
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VINE VOICEon 30 June 2007
'Driving Rain' is an interesting if slightly uneven album, with the material ranging from beautifully crafted ballads to extended rock noodling, with a couple of diversions to George Harrison flavoured Indian music and laid-back grooving along the way. At it's best this album offers up a trilogy of gorgeous tracks ('I Do', 'From A Lover To A Friend', 'Heather') that are alone worth the price, and virtually every song contains at least moments of genius, though personally I find the pair of songs co-written with Paul's son ('Spinning on an Axis', 'Back in the Sunshine Again') rather out of place with their laid back grooves going nowhere fast. The production throughout is spartan, letting the musicianship shine without burying tracks in a mass of overdubs. A little too uneven to rank as a classic from beginning to end, but the highlights definately outweigh the odd meandering moment. Good stuff.
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on 13 June 2009
For the most part this was a reasonable effort from Macca. What the "driving" force was behind this album is not so evident unless it was to say goodbye to one past love in his life (Linda) and welcome the "new" love we have all come to know was Heather. If compared to Flaming Pie then this album does not hit the same delights as Little Willow, Young Boy, Calico Skies, The World Tonight. However, Driving Rain does have its moments with From a Lover to a Friend, Spinning on an Axis, Back in the Sunshine Again and Riding into Jaipur. So you pays your money and takes your chances. Either way enjoy but do buy Flaming Pie first if you haven't already done so! Funsize.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 October 2015
This album was something of an enigma from the day of its release. It was well received by the critics but it didn't sell well. Unusually for a McCartney album there was no slam-dunk hit single in the track-list. 'From a lover to a friend' and 'Freedom' were singles, but have never featured in the list of McCartney's greatest outputs.

And yet, this album has its merits. It is consistent throughout with only a couple of tracks that I would class as 'filler'. There is a wide variety of styles, even stretching to the Indian-styled 'Riding Into Jaipur', faintly redolent of some of George Harrison's input to the Beatles.

Perhaps McCartney realised that the album needed something else. There is a hidden track 16 'Freedom'. He asked for this to be included even though the artwork for the CD had already gone to print. He was sitting in a plane on the day of the 9/11 attack and, when the news came through he wrote 'Freedom'. This caused a small ripple at the time and was generally positively received, though he became uncomfortable at the way it came to be interpreted politically.

McCartney assembled and a good set of backing musicians including Abe Laboriel Jnr,, who has become a long-standing member of his band on drums.

In all honesty this is not one of McCartney's best albums. But it is a 'grower' and it has its moments.
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on 22 August 2003
I must admit when I bought this album (the day it came out) I was expecting it to be a dark, harrowing album filled with McCartney writing about the loss of Linda. Initially, I was disappointed with many of the songs on the album as they seemed like typical McCartney fluff. I have to say though in retrospect this album is one of his most different sounding albums McCartney has recorded and it is far better than some of the albums that typically earn good reviews. Think of Tug of War. A good record but certainly not light on fluff, some of the tracks (dress me up as a robber, whats that you're doing)make me cringe. Or Flowers in the Dirt. That album has some of my favorite McCartney tunes (Put it there, My brave face, This One)but I think he sounds older and more "pedestrian" than he does on driving rain. What I like about driving rain is how much it grows on me. I've come to think of the best songs as lonely road (killer bass line, thoughtful lyrics), from a lover to a friend (a piano ballad with a point), heather (love the sunny vocals), your loving flame (although it does seem a little forced), and especially rinse the raindrops. I cant believe more folks havent noticed McCartneys excellent screaming on this song. Also I disagree with the negative feedback that 'Riding into Jaipur' has recieved. Here's McCartney getting pretty trippy musically and people say he s copying George Harrison? I just don't get it. I also have really grown to love "Shes given up talking" because of the spooky acoustic guitar, fuzz bass, and interesting vocals. By the way, the lyrics to the title track are slight but his bass line is great on it. I also really like the chord changes in the middle part. The only song I really don't think much of is Tiny Bubble because while some of the guitar parts are good and the organ sounds great this song just never gets off the ground. Also, About You is one of McCartneys best rockers in a long time. In closing, I think the main reason I like this album is because it is so different. It really doesn't sound like the McCartney you'd expect. I'm still playing it almost 2 years after its release.
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on 9 November 2001
After listening to the album four times, my initial impression is that it sounds like a distant cousin to the RAM album. There is that kind of casual, let's-do-it-and-not-think-too-much-about-it quality about it, which in general recalls Paul's early 70's albums. True to this spirit, some of the songs are slight (Heather, Your Way, Driving Rain) but still very catchy. Songwriting has always come easy to Paul, you see, and occasionally he just doesn't feel the need to come up with a middle eight or a "bridge" to properly finish off a song.
The production is, in my opinion, a vast improvement over the last album. The vibe is warm and organic, the natural sounding drums are much more suitable to Paul's music than Jeff Lynne's monster snare hits on Flaming Pie. If you own any other McCartney albums then you know what to expect lyrics-wise. The guy never did compete with Shakespeare, you know, and with an exception of couple of poignant moments, the words are merely pleasant and passable.
But it doesn't matter, because that familiar Paul McCartney vibe, that melodic spark which we all love so much, is still there. And curiously, there are several deeply melancholic moments here that carry genuine emotion: From A Lover To A Friend, She's Give Up Talking and Lonely Road in particular both have a strange, haunting quality to them. The final two songs on the record could have been dumped, particularly the half-baked Rinse The Raindrops, which lasts ten minutes and doesn't really add anything to the proceedings. My version of the album (U.S.) comes with a bonus track -- a live recording of "Freedom" from the New York City benefit. It's quite rousing, and Paul's vocal sounds much stronger than I remember it from watching the show on TV.
In the end, if you don't like McCartney, this album won't convert you. But for the diehards, this is an embarrassement of riches. Is this on par with his classic stuff? Have no idea. Only time will tell I suppose. But, hey, it's just great to hear from the man every once in a while. Favorite songs: Lonely Road, From A Lover To A Friend, She's Giving Up Talking, Driving Rain, Your Way, Magic, I Do.
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on 30 November 2001
I reckon McCartney has gone back to his Beatles roots and spent a bit of time listeneing to their old mentor, Bob Dylan. This album sounds like Paul has been digesting Dylan's last but one album, 'Time out of Mind'. The songs feature the same relaxed confidence and slightly mushy, slightly unpolished, 'around the beat' groove. This type of thing can only be done by the Dylans and McCartneys of this world. To pull if off requires supreme mastery in song-smithing.
I think its a very refreshing album - an added bonus is a bit of Lennonesque rhythm guitar work on a few of the songs which will have Beatles fans reminiscing and digging out their old albums. Nice sound all round.
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on 17 February 2016
Sure, I like Band on the Run, Speed of Sound, Flaming Pie. But I only recently discovered his Chaos and Creation album. Because... I was happy enough with my "Another Day Maybe I'm Amazed Bluebird Jenny Wren" playlists.
Thing is, this album deserves a place there. It's kind of old-school, the production is clear, not 1990s harsh like Flowers in the Dirt, and nearly as "analogue sounding" as BOTR. And that's good. Hey, I stick to CDs (well, FLAC but you get the idea) and to my ears this sounds as warm as the original Pipes of Peace.
Recommended :-)
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on 1 April 2002
Not Macca's most commercial album but after a few listens the sheer beauty iof the melodies emerges. On first hearing it comes over as rough and under produced but given time the beauty of songs like "Tiny Bubble". "Magic", "Heather" and "Loving Flame" escapes.It's amazing that "From A Lover To A Friend" didn't do well as a single as it's one of his best ballads for a long time. The title track is a great rocker spoilt only by pretty awful nurserty rhyme type lyrics. Whilst there are a couple of filler tracks, overall this shows that Macca hasn't lost his touch and the album is up there with "Flowers In The Dirt" and "Flaming Pie" for quality.
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on 12 January 2014
I've bought the Beatles set three times....so I know what I'm talking about....I'm a fan.
Ok so this is just Paul......and I've loved most of his previous albums....ok there have some fillers on them but every artist can't put out a full album of classics every time....I understand that.
....but this album was disappointing to me....started off ok but fizzled out to a series of fillers...better than most artists I would say....but for this man not up to standard....
....he's done better and I think he knows it....
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