Just when everyone has given up on Sir Paul's ever releasing another decent pop song, he turns around and surprises us all with his best album since the mid-'70s. After working on the Beatles' Anthology series, he was remi... more »nded of the standards of music he'd long forgotten and was pressed to meet them. Even Jeff Lynne, who helped on much of it, kept himself very much in the background, and let Mac do the right thing, playing and singing most everything, with some help from Ringo and guitarist Steve Miller, whose presence was a mixed blessing. Even if the songs don't scale the heights of the Glory Years, they remind us of the true talent that was McCartney once again. A pleasure to the ears. --Chris Nickson« less
Just when everyone has given up on Sir Paul's ever releasing another decent pop song, he turns around and surprises us all with his best album since the mid-'70s. After working on the Beatles' Anthology series, he was reminded of the standards of music he'd long forgotten and was pressed to meet them. Even Jeff Lynne, who helped on much of it, kept himself very much in the background, and let Mac do the right thing, playing and singing most everything, with some help from Ringo and guitarist Steve Miller, whose presence was a mixed blessing. Even if the songs don't scale the heights of the Glory Years, they remind us of the true talent that was McCartney once again. A pleasure to the ears. --Chris Nickson
Angela R. from SAGINAW, MI Reviewed on 11/6/2009...
I truly enjoy this CD, his style of music definitely puts me in a great mood. It resembles the WINGS era of music, which also put me in a great mood. If you are a PM fan this is a good one to get!
The Song He Was Singing
Kelly L. Norman | Plymouth, MI United States | 05/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Trite or not, cruel or not, James Paul McCartney creates better under stress and in emotional pain. Only months after this CD was released, the new Knight Bachelor lost the only woman he believed he'd ever love. Surely, even though the press was being assured Linda was "fine", she wasn't, the fact of her illness was informing his work.Just as "McCartney" was created during the hazy period he was trying to define himself after the Beatles, and "McCartney II" surfaced after his jail experience in Japan, "Flaming Pie" shows a more vulnerable, less cheeky McCartney, and with good results.
Unlike a lot of Wings albums, or "Tug of War" or "Pipes of Peace", this album doesn't just yield one or two songs for the "It's got a beat AND you can dance to it!" crowd. Instead, the lyrics reign here, introspective, haunting at times.Not that some of the songs don't rock! How could they not with Jeff Lynne and Steve Miller helping out? Even fellow Two-tle, Ringo, helps out with Beautiful Night. But since it's his voice in addition to drums, that's an element of sentiment, not one of quality.The unusual production of some cuts, like the Victrola in "Souvenir", reminds one of the days the Beatles were experimenting with all kinds of sound at Abbey Road.My one disappointment about this CD happened a couple years after its release. "Little Willow" shows up here, dedicated to a friend who'd died of cancer and her children. Only a bit of detective work would reveal that this friend was Maureen Starkey, Ringo's ex-wife, and the kids Lee and Zak. But after Princess Diana was killed and a memorial album put together for her, the song Paul "donated" in her memory was...."Little Willow." This was puzzling, maybe even disturbing.Seeing beaming Sir Paul stroll in pictures with his new wife Heather and baby Beatrice, one can't help but feel happiness for him. But I must confess, sometimes I wonder if a bit, just a bit, of stress or hardship could come his way to promote that creativity; nothing major, just a stubbed toe or lost set of keys or something. Because he hasn't recorded anything as good as "Pie" since.Oh, if you're wondering...Beatleoligists will remember that when John Lennon was asked to write in "Mersey Beat" how the Beatles got their name, and wrote, "A man in a flaming pie came and said, 'You shall be Beatles with an 'A'". So the name is a nod to John, and to the Beatles...of whom McCartney just may be the biggest fan."
Paul's Best Work in Years
mrtbird | Lansing, MI | 03/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In this album, recorded shortly after Paul finished work on the Beatles' Anthology albums, we see Paul's creative energies reborn. These songs are mostly simple pop/rock songs that tie back to the best stuff he did with John. We also see Paul looking back on a life that is full of many great memories. (Linda's illness may have motivated this). In "The Songs We Were Singing" the lyrics paint a picture of Paul hanging out with friends (John, Rings, George, or maybe later) and just enjoying a good time discussing all those things that seem so frightully important at that time. "Flaming Pie" is a 2 minute rock song that is a great example of Beatles work, and probably would have been included on a Beatles album in the 60's (as would "Calico Skies")The final song "Great Day" is a wonderful little duet between Paul and Linda. All the more poignant is "Little Willow" a song wrote for the children of a family friend who died. It takes on added meaning with Linda's passing.I loved this album, I enjoyed the work from Steve Miller, Ringo, and Jeff Lynne. If you enjoy Paul McCartney, the Beatles, or just good pop/rock music, this is a must have for your collection"
Tom Emanuel | Deadwood, SD USA | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the mid-to-late 90s, many things were happening in Paul McCartney's life. One of the most important was his involvement in the massive Beatles Anthology project, both instigated by and contributing to the resurrection of 60s and 70s nostalgia in the 1990s. Another was, his wife of almost thirty years had contracted breast cancer. Both of them knew she would not last but a couple of years. It was primarily these two influences that came together on 1997's Flaming Pie.
It's safe to say that Paul McCartney has never made a record as mature, as poignant, or as personal as Flaming Pie since leaving the Beatles. Driven both by the Anthology and (more importantly) Linda's impending death, it finds Paul at his most intimate and introspective, looking back down the years across his incredible life and career. From the title itself (a reference to John Lennon's story of the Beatles' "origin") and waltzing nostalgia of the very first track (The Song We Were Singing), this record is a celebration of Paul's past. This imbues upbeat songs like Calico Skies and Young Boy with a rainy-day melancholy, and the plaintive ballads (quite possibly Paul's finest) with a sense of inextinguishable hope and rebirth. Two of the latter, Somedays and Little Willow, heartbreaking tributes to Linda in retrospect, stand head and shoulders above almost anything McCartney has ever done - including the Beatles.
Also, Flaming Pie finds Paul combining his personal troubles with his penchant for beneficial collaboration. More than half the album is co-produced and supported by the phenomenal Mr. Jeff Lynne, mastermind behind ELO and producer for the likes of Tom Petty and George Harrison. Longtime friends Ringo Starr and Steve Miller also make appearances (as does Paul's son James on guitar), and Sir George Martin lends his genius to a few songs, making Flaming Pie one of his final projects. And even if a few duds managed to slip through the cracks (the bluesy jams Used to Be Bad and Really Love You with Steve and Ringo/Jeff, respectively), for the most part it's solid, twenty-four-carat gold as only Paul McCartney can mine it.
Flaming Pie closes on two seemingly disparate but perfectly complimentary songs: Beautiful Night and Great Day. The former is an orchestral epic ala Abbey Road, a grand culmination of all Flaming Pie's ingredients; the latter a simple, touching folk song from the days of the original McCartney album in 1970, a last loving duet between Paul and Linda. And that sums it up nicely, I believe. Only Band on the Run can topple it."
Don't Forget About This Delicious Pie
C. S. Litch | 12/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album sometimes gets unfairly overlooked. For example, recent critical raves over "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" often state that it's "the best MACCA album in years", forgetting that "Flaming Pie" is as recent as 1997. The reality is that after McCartney's Wings period that yielded several excellent albums topped by "Band on the Run" and "Venus and Mars", his best 1980s album was "Tug of War" (with a solid B+ to "Flowers in the Dirt") and his best 1990s album was "Flaming Pie" (with "Run Devil Run" a solid second).
After the disappointing 1993 "Off the Ground" release, "Flaming Pie" was a return to form for McCartney, clearly influenced (as Paul acknowledges) by his experience with preparing "The Beatles Anthology". Critics generally agreed, and for once they were right. Basically, you'd have to dislike the Beatles not to like "Flaming Pie", as this is as good as a Beatles album. "Calico Skies" is a wonderful acoustic piece that ranks up there with "Blackbird" and "Mother Nature's Son." "Young Boy" is one of MACCA's finest pop songs, with a great guitar solo by Steve Miller-- unfortunately this tune didn't get much mileage being the feature song running over the opening titles to the rather lackluster Billy Crystal/Robin Williams comedy "Father's Day." "Souvenir" would have fit nicely on the White Album. "Flaming Pie" fits into a long line of rollicking McCartney piano-based classics. The somber "Somedays" and "Little Willow" are typical beautiful McCartney melodies. The big closing ballad "Beautiful Night" has a great orchestral build-up courtesy of George Martin, while the short acoustic actual final track "Great Day" is so poignant in retrospect knowing that this is Linda's last time singing on a Paul album (notwithstanding his production of Linda's posthumous album "Wide Prairie"). "The World Tonight" and "The Songs We Were Singing" makes me wish McCartney would work more with Jeff Lynne-- who after all, did wonders in reviving George Harrison's solo career in the 1980s. But let's be clear-despite the lumps from lots of idiot critics, the truth is that McCartney has written a number of classic songs since 1970 that are of "Beatles-caliber." He's not the greatest editor of his own material, leaving songs on some albums that make you scratch your head, but when he gets it right (like "Flaming Pie" and the new "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard") the results really do recapture the Beatles magic.
TC | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very heartfelt and moving album. I had been inclined to dismiss Mr. Mccartney's albums over the years as being sort of lightweight, but recently have been re-listening,and very much enjoying some of these albums, so I guess I was wrong! The guy is the master songwriter, and this album is excellent."