THE ART OF McCARTNEY- a review by John The Rock Doctor

THE ART OF McCARTNEY Various Artists (Arctic Poppy/ Sony) ***This is a two disc set of world famous artists come to worship at the altar of the former Beatle, taking their shot at some of the best, most iconic songs written in the history of rock & roll.  With the assembled firepower over these 34 tracks, the results aren’t exactly what I expected.I like the album, but I was hoping to be blown away- and that just doesn’t happen.  Perhaps it’s that these songs and McCartney himself are held in such reverence that those involved were reluctant to take chances.  3 or 4 listens later that certainly seems to be the case as most of these songs rarely raise themselves beyond competent karaoke versions.  Tracks I had the highest hopes for ended up being embarrassments, frankly.  Billy Joel’s version of Maybe I’m Amazed couldn’t have been any cheesier if he’d tried.  Joe Cocker’s version from about 10 years back gives me goose bumps, perhaps they should have used that instead.  And I had such high hopes for Kiss’s version of Venus & Mars/ Rock Show– they should’ve blown the roof off the joint but there was very little muscle throughout, and Gene Simmons’ nasally vocal delivery on the first part of the song was so horrible I actually blushed.It sounds like I hate the album but I don’t.  There are plenty of highlights too, including Willie Nelson’s lively remake of Yesterday, Def Leppard’s take on Helen Wheels and Perry Ferrell’s Got To get You Into My Life.  Alice Cooper’s version of Eleanor Rigby is about as straight up as it gets, but in this case it was the right thing to do- I expected the full on Cooper creep-tastic treatment, an aural horror movie, but was delighted when he resisted the temptation.  Even Vince Furnier gets tired of the Alice Cooper shtick every now and again.A few blunders aside such as those noted in the 2nd paragraph, most of these covers range from competent to occasionally inspired.  Again I do like the album, but can’t help feeling that a chance at true greatness has been squandered.ESSENTIALS;  DISC ONE: Helen Wheels (Def Lep), Yesterday (Willie Nelson)DISC TWO: Got To Get You Into My Life (Perry Ferrell), Hi, Hi, Hi (Joe Elliot)


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