Flowers in the Dirt
Rating (original album): *** 1/2 to 3.75
Bonus disc rating: ***
After a year long delay, the next entry the Paul McCartney Archive Collection has finally been released. For the tenth entry in the series, MPL have reissued McCartney’s 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt. Like the albums before it, the album has been newly remastered and features a second disc of bonus tracks.
Released in 1989, Flowers in the Dirt was considered by many to be a little bit of a comeback for McCartney. Looking at his output in the 1980s, the critics hadn’t been easy on the former Beatle: while McCartney did release the 1982 George Martin produced Tug of War, the albums that followed it were met with mixed to negative reviews. McCartney even made a movie, Give My Regards to Broadstreet, which tanked at the box office in 1984. For what it is, Flowers in the Dirt is pretty solid album. It has a good batch of tunes that McCartney sadly doesn’t play in his shows anymore.
The album opens with the energetic “My Brave Face.” It’s a catchy pop tune and is my favorite song from the album. From there on out, the album is pretty diverse. Personally, I find myself preferring the first half of the album. For the first side, you have ballads in the form of “Distractions” and “Put It There.” The former features great vocal work from McCartney while the latter has beautiful orchestration from none other than George Martin. McCartney leaves time for guest appearances on this album. McCartney collaborated with singer Elvis Costello on this album, as Costello co-wrote four of the album’s tracks. Costello appears as the second vocalist on heartbroken slow rocker “You Want Her Too.” Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour guests on “We Got Married.” Gilmour really shines on (no pun intended) the track during the rocking second part of the song. The second side is where I feel the album starts to decline a little. It starts off with the wonderful “Figure of Eight” and the catchy “This One” but the songs that follow it (“Don’t Be Careless Love,” “That Day is Done” and “How Many People”) are okay at best. However, the album closes with the Beach Boys-esque “Motor of Love.” While the last song on the CD version is “Ou Est Le Soleil,” “Motor of Love” sounds more like a closing songs: with the wonderful vocal harmonies and six minute running time, you get the sense of the closure.
In terms of the remastering, the powers that be have done it again. My previous copy of Flowers in the Dirt is a scratched up CD-R that I burned from a family friend’s original CD. For the few songs I was able to salvage, the main difference I can see and hear in Audicity is that it’s a lot louder- but not too loud. It doesn’t sound dramatically different but for what it is, this sounds really good.
The bonus disc for Flowers in the Dirt consists of nine demo tracks, clocking in at around 30 minutes. When it comes to bootleg albums, Flowers in the Dirt has had a number of them. The ones offered on the two-disc version are good, with a few of the songs being new to me. However, I don’t see myself wanting to come back to these demos. As always, there’s a super deluxe version of the album released with even more songs and a DVD.