Picks and Pans Review: Pipes of Peace

updated 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Paul McCartney

McCartney has returned to his trove of trifles for these wispy tunes that seem unworthy of the man who co-wrote Yesterday and penned Here Today Not that there is anything wrong with silly love songs, any more than there is anything wrong with cotton candy. A steady diet of the stuff, though, leaves a listener feeling like a musical diabetic. McCartney's token gesture to substance is the title cut, where he croons: "Help me learn songs of joy instead of/ Burn baby burn." But the lyrical vacuousness of Average Person, The Other Me, Keep Under Cover and So Bad is exceeded only by their musical emptiness. The hyped hit Say Say Say is salvaged only by the verve of Michael Jackson's duet performance. Another McCartney-Jackson collaboration, perhaps the LP's best track, is a zesty rocker called The Man. Veteran Beatles producer George Martin was at the control boards for these sessions, and the studio cast included bassist Stanley Clarke, drummers Richard Starkey (a/k/a Ringo Starr) and Steve Gadd and saxaphonist Andy McKay. With Jackson to spice things up, all the elements were there for a powerful album, but the results are timid and fluffy. It's disappointing to find this musical giant merely puffing away peacefully.

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