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on 17 November 2001
A welcome return to the studio and an album of original material since the death of Linda. Featured strongly is a mix of feelings of loss and new found love as should be expected from a performer well known for penning emotional songs from the heart.
Upon the first listening i thought it was not of a very high standard that is expected of McCartney, i was already disappointed by the single(From a lover to a friend), but after a few listenings it began to grow on me and i think i prefer it to Flaming Pie now!
This album is a positive, harder edged McCartney still showing he still doe'nt mind taking a few risks along the way.
There are obvious commercial catchy songs (Driving Rain and Tiny Bubble) and the strong balled Your Loving Flame.
Tiny Bubble surprised me..not sounding particularly typical Macca but it works and it IS a great song.
Much in evidence is McCartney the bass player. More interesting and melodic of late perhaps due to looking back to early rock n roll on the Run Devil Run album.
For me the album only picks up momentum with the title track Driving Rain. Riding to junipur is in Indian style similar to George Harrisons. You either love it or hate it!!
Rinse the Raindrops is an incredible 10 minute long jam similar to songs he did with Steve Miller on Flaming Pie and although could have been edited it is still a welcome track.
In conclusion Driving Rain is as good as anything McCartney has done..if not better. Typical McCartney melodic, lyrical songsmith with the odd surprise and a man who has gone through every emotion through the past few years to return with a positive, strong album which sounds like he is really enjoying himself, after all he does not HAVE to record anything again..but he is a workaholic and you just cant stop the guy producing brilliant songs.
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on 6 September 2002
With the release of DRIVING RAIN, Paul McCartney has delivered three superb albums and hasn't been on a streak like this since the early 1970s. Those who criticise McCartney for this album is beyond me. As always, the melodies are excellent, and there's a real rejuvenation in the instrumentation. This music is tight and muscular, and when McCartney does indulge the band, stretching "Rinse the Raindrops" to over ten minutes, it never feels successive excessive, though it does feel like jamming. In this sense, the jamming is controlled and very much under McCartney's control, and the jamming fits naturally into the song's structure.
Each song is classic McCartney, and you can tell he really cares about these songs. Those who complain about the rather trite lyrics of the title cut with its counting chorus or the "Spinning on an Axis," are just out of the loop and have been for years.
McCartney is, first and foremost, a pop engineer, not a lyricist. Much of his work, let's face it, doesn't have a lot of substance (come on, "Silly Love Songs"?), and he has for years been making domestic pop with melody and a pleasant mood his first and foremost concern. Even looking back at his Beatles years, songs like "Here, There, and Everywhere," from the 1966 album Revolver, or "Ob La Di, Ob La da," from my personal Beatles favorite THE WHITE ALBUM aren't deep at all. Both songs are stunning tracks none-the-less, standing as very solid pop and some of the best music around.
Much of McCartney's critical problems are the fact the "intellectuals" are more interested in hearing former band-mate Lennon sing about feminism in "Woman is the Nigger of the World," or "Working Class Hero," and what music critics fail to realise is McCartney is working with a totally different ascetic than Lennon did.
McCartney is working for a different audience than the other rockers, and he is both the best and most experienced at delivering jaw-dropping pop which may be short on substance but that doesn't matter because substance is rather beside the point. While the critics may hold a grudge, McCartney's gifts rewarded him with the most successful Beatles solo career.
The Beatles were very much a band, and what made them as great and successful as they still are is McCartney and Lennon could combine their writing styles into a cohesive and very balanced song-writing team. Without one another, Lennon went his political route and McCartney his pop route. They stand as the two extremes on the best song-writing team that music has seen, and without these two extremes we would not have gotten the balance that made The Beatles so great.
Personally, I have a beef with the critics in regards to McCartney anyway. They are very unfair to him, because The Beatles are their critical darlings and without his superb pop-writing craft The Beatles would be drastically weakened. The critics damn McCartney for playing up to his strength that they were so adamant in favour of when he was with The Beatles because Lennon balanced him. No one complained when Lennon played up to his strengths as a songwriter. This is one of the critics' many blindsides.
In much the same way, you can compare Dylan with McCartney. While both are from the same era and both released albums roughly around the same time, they serve as good counter-points toward one another. Dylan has always had a much bigger scope and influence than McCartney, and his song-writing is both very diverse and very complex. Dylan's always had much more appeal both from the intellectual standpoint and the musical standpoint. While I would rather have LOVE AND THEFT over DRIVING RAIN (I'm a big Dylan fan), the beauty of both records is you see two rock pioneers do what they do best. While Dylan is deeper and much broader in scope in LOVE AND THEFT, he couldn't come up with a track to match McCartney in just good solid pop, and to tell the truth I wouldn't want him to try.
Going with the Dylan conversation even further, Dylan's trouble with women show up in his work, and it is both visceral, bitter, rage at both himself and the woman, wistful, and hopeful, reminiscing over the good times and the bad. The three albums McCartney has done since Linda died also shows the effects of loving his love.
While the situation is much different, with Dylan going through a divorce and McCartney losing his wife to breast cancer, the point is his emotions escape in very poppy music whereas Dylan devotes whole songs to anger (Idiot Wind) or remorse or any of the emotions. McCartney couldn't write a song equaling "Idiot Wind" to save his life, but the same could be said about Dylan writing a song that is both extremely good pop and still captures McCartney's emotion and heart about Linda ("Lonely Road," "From a Lover to a Friend," "It Must Have Been Magic.")
McCartney's doing what he does best. This isn't deep music, it's not "analyse every word," or a walk through America's musical history (or England's since McCartney's a Brit) like LOVE AND THEFT is.
McCartney accomplishes what he has set out to do, being the best pop musician around. DRIVING RAIN is great pop and no one can touch him.
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on 13 May 2002
The man can still write a melody. But too frequently, it's just a great chorus and the verse is weak, or vice versa.
And then the lyrics: "1,2,3,4,5, let's go for a drive" "She don't say a word, not a dicky bird". These are rhymes that really make you wince.
Why doesn't his producer tell him for once? I guess they are all scared of him.
On the plus side, "Heather" is brilliant, and really innovative, and "From a Lover to a Friend" is close to a great song.
Otherwise, there are a few good moments interspersed with a lot of stuff where he is sleepwalking through it all. Great bass playing for once, though, almost all the way through. It is as if it was the only thing he could be bothered to concentrate on.
Oh, and then there's Freedom, which is his effort at matching Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", and is a pretty good shot at it.
So a middling to weak album. But then, even these fragments from a genius are worth ten albums from just about anyone else.
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on 29 October 2001
After listening to "Driving rain" four times I thought it wasn't as great as, for example, "Flaming pie", McCartney's last album with his own songs. However, this albums gets better the more you listen to it. It's a bit "rougher" than his previous album and not overproduced as a lot of his earlier work.
"From a lover to a friend", probably the new single, reminds me of The Beatles' "Free as a bird". The same kind of voice (as if recorded in the bathroom on a cheap tape recorder)- a bit sleepy, the singer still dreaming, singing slightly out of tune. In "Lonely Road", "About you" and "Driving rain" Macca rocks like he did with Wings and, recently, on "Run devil run".
I do not understand why the 10 minute jam "Rinse the raindrops" was included on this album. It seems to be more of a B-side track.
Highlights: "Loving flame", a nice ballad (would be a good next single!), "It must have been magic", "Heather" and "Your way".
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on 11 November 2001
"Driving Rain" is the best McCartney Album for years [it may be better than "Flaming Pie"].
McCartney sounds so fresh.
This albun has a difrent feel. It's the "Oh Darling" McCartney, not the "With a little luck" one. and I Love it!
This great album, together with the brilliant Electric Light Orchestra "Zoom" album, make us a great year for the rock seniors and for the Beatles esthetics.
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on 18 November 2001
Unlike the majority of Maccas work, my first impressions were "What is this heap.
But...Because I am familiar with all his other work I gave it a few more plays and, in the words of my wife "you'll love it in a few weeks" I can honestly say that there are bits I do love however, there are bits that I don't love as much.
Overall I am pleased with it...I would be fasinated to see or hear comments by George Harrison on it and if John were alive I think I know what he would say, and in the end he would pick up on the skills that only McCartney has. Unfortunately he would totally dismiss most of it.
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on 25 October 2001
Paul McCartney's "Driving rain", recorded while "Wingspan" hit the stores, reminds me most of Paul's "Wings" period and of the records he made in the eighties ("Pipes of Peace", "Tug of War").
"Lonely Road", "About you", and "Your way" sound like old Wings songs. "From a lover to a friend" is Paul's new single, but not the best track of the album. The other weak spots are "Riding to Jaipur" in which Paul's seems to copy George Harrison's worst "India songs" and "Rinse the raindrops", a 10 minute jam.
Great songs, which could have been taken from "Flaming pie" sessions are "Lonely Road" (a kind of "The world tonight"), "Loving flame" (Driving rain's "Beautiful night")and "It must have been magic".
"Silly love songs" are -ofcourse- also included. Typical is "I do" ("If you only knew how much you'd meant to me, you'd understand and I would feel your love was true" and so on).
Note that "Heather", a song in which the piano has a more prominent role than Paul's vocals, is not a remake of the song Paul wrote in the late sixties, which appeared on several Beatles bootlegs.
"Driving rain" is not a bad record. I am not sure whether I like it as much as, e.g. Flaming pie. Though I have to admit I have heard it only four times now, and it does get better everytime.
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on 31 December 2011
Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy Driving Rain. I felt that the lyric's were mediocre and the majority of the songs were Paul going through the motions of making an album rather than putting his heart and soul into the music as in his other albums e.g. 1970's 'McCartney' or even 2005's 'Chaos and Creation in the Backyard'.

I would suggest you get this only if you are a McCartney completist.
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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 12 November 2001
Though beeing a huge Beatles fan, I was never too excited about the solo oeuvre of Mr. McCartney. Sure there were some good efforts like McCartney I, Band on the run (with the Wings) and partially McCartney II. He also had some decent tunes on several albums, but most of them were a bit poppy, even kitschy. I was really pleased with "Flaming Pie" and I am so happy that "Driving Rain" is a step into the right direction. Most of the songs have really good tunes and the arrangement is rough and spartanic, so that the don't drown in overproduction. I am really pleased with that album. Go on like that Paul!
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