Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ebony & Ivory Revisited

Paul McCartney pops up on Stevie Wonder's A Time To Love, his first CD in 10 years. And the reunion got me thinking about their new CD's. McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard came out in September to his best reviews since Tug of War. Both CD's share something in common. They're hard to dislike, but hard to love. McCartney's was the more troubling listen. Produced by Nigel Goodrich, who helped launch Radiohead, its obviously been more painstakingly thought over than any recent CD of new McCartney material. The songs are light, airy, with only 2 songs picking up the pace. It's no wonder critics like it. There are silly love songs, for sure, but Goodrich's production doesn't overdo the cloying aspects that have haulted McCartney's love songs recently. The more serious songs, like those on Wonder's new CD, address the need for love to cure your heart. It took Wonder 10 years to come up with 15 new songs he felt comfortable with. I think the CD is better than 1995's Conversation Peace. But I had my doubts about the album when the first 2 songs that were previewed left me cold. Happily, there are better songs on the album than "So What Te Fuss" and "From The Bottom of My Heart." There are throwbacks to peak 70's Stevie and of course lots of Wonder's own love and be loved songs. Like the McCartney CD, I hear no sure shot singles, nothing classic. A few could fill out a future compilation or box set. These CD's aren't bad. If you're a die-hard, you'll find much to enjoy. But for me they were so frustrating, I doubt I'll give 'em another spin.
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