Sir Paul McCartney’s new solo album, Memory Almost Full, may be a meditation on days gone by, but his inexorable march toward the digital future is continuing apace: While the album won’t go on sale until tomorrow, it’s already streaming for free over at AOL Music for the next few days. (Windows Media Player users may also stream it here.)
On first listen, it sounds every bit as fresh as the pre-release buzz suggested it would be. My esteemed colleague Chris Willman has anointed Memory with an enthusiastic A-, and I’m just about ready to co-sign his declaration that this is Macca’s “best record since 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt.” (Though I still have a soft spot for 2005’s Nigel Godrich-produced Chaos & Creation in the Backyard.) For starters, the soft, reflective ballads (“You Tell Me“) are among the strongest McCartney’s turned out in the past couple of decades; more importantly, so are the blistering rockers (“Nod Your Head“). Even the experimental flourishes, so often overlooked by casual McCartney listeners, sound fantastic here — I’m especially digging the vocoder chorale in “Feet in the Clouds” and the glitchy pre-chorus breakdown of “Vintage Clothes.”
And how about you, PopWatchers? Let’s hear it: Grab your favorite flavor of latte, follow that link, and report back on your reactions below.