Sign in / Join
web - McCartney

Music Reviews: Train, Little Big Town and Paul McCartney

web - trainTrain :: ‘Does Led Zeppelin II’

Train's Does Led Zeppelin II is a faithful, needless cover of the British band's 1969 classic — proficient, if sterile, with especially feeble backing vocals.

If you walked into a bar and the band played Led Zeppelin like Train does, you might do a deserved double take. Bandleader Pat Monahan, who got his start in a Led Zep cover band, preaches the Robert Plant notes with less grit and depth of emotion.

There are some bright sides. Proceeds from DLZII will benefit Family House, a charity that provides temporary lodging for the families of ill kids being treated in the band’s hometown San Francisco. And perhaps listeners will be motivated by Train’s take on the record to pick up the original. So if you're feeling charitable, are a Train fan or just curious about how “Heartbreaker,” “Whole Lotta Love” or “Ramble On” sound in the hands of the three-time Grammy winners known for “Drops of Jupiter” and “Hey, Soul Sister,” this is for you. And only you. (Pablo Gorondi/AP)

web - LittleBigTownLittle Big Town :: ‘Wanderlust’

Little Big Town, country music's top vocal group, achieved widespread fame by continually taking artistic risks and pushing boundaries. With Wanderlust, they take a bigger risk, working with hitmaker Pharrell Williams to create a contemporary pop and dance album.

On the surface, the new partners complement each other well: Pharrell brings his deceptively simple beats and sunny melodies, as heard on the single “One of Those Days” and album opener “One Dance.” Little Big Town's harmonies and layered voices highlight the melodic uplift and rhythmic verve of the arrangements, especially on the gospel-drawn power of “C’mon” and the light Jamaican touch in “Work.” What's missing is the emotional weight Little Big Town has brought to their best work, such as “Pontoon,” “Day Drinking” or the Grammy-winning “Girl Crush.”

Wanderlust presents plenty of joyful escape and playful fun. But nothing on the lightweight collection measures up to the group's best work. (Michael McCall/AP)

web - McCartneySquarePaul McCartney :: ‘Pure McCartney’

Paul McCartney reviews his post-Beatle albums on Pure McCartney, a quirky mix of 67 hits and personal favorites that's both delightful and baffling. With over 300 songs to choose from since his 1970 solo debut, Sir Paul's anthology confirms his incomparable gift for melody, has catchy songs far beyond the hits and combines eclectic picks with notable absences.

The compilation is McCartney's own mixtape, one version of how he sees his career. Just like the fans, McCartney has favorites among his hits and album cuts. Eight tracks from Flaming Pie and five from New while none from Flowers in the Dirt or Driving Rain indicate clear preferences. There are no cover versions, which may be in line with the “pure” concept, but excludes his smoldering version of “No Other Baby.”

You can't please everyone, but why “Bip Bop” again instead of “Some People Never Know” and no “Little Lamb Dragonfly,” “Spies Like Us,” “My Brave Face” or “Only Love Remains”? You get the uplifting “Wanderlust” but where are “Somebody Who Cares” or “Take It Away”? “Warm and Beautiful” over “Beware My Love”?

Still, Pure McCartney is a substantial, honest and gratifying introduction to the long and winding career of a pop music giant, a tasting menu whetting the appetite for more. (Pablo Gorondi/AP)

Leave a reply