The 1980’s were not kind to Paul McCartney. His band, Wings disbanded, he was arrested with drugs and incarcerated in Tokyo and lest we forget the death of his former band mate, John Lennon. What else didn’t help? The quality of some of the outputs such as the disastrous Give My Regards to Broad Street and its lackluster follow up, Press To Play didn’t do him any favours either. It looked like the time had come for a much needed career revival.
It’s no wonder that McCartney decided to hire a slew of producers, Trevor Horn, Steve Lipson, Neil Dorfsman, Mitchell Froom, Elvis Costello, David Foster and Ross Cullum to help shape what would become his eighth solo studio, Flowers In The Dirt.
One of the best decisions, in my opinion, was when McCartney decided to collaborate on the project with Elvis Costello. Costello’s raw and sarcastic approach to the material was very reminiscent to John Lennon’s and seemed to invigorate McCartney.
The album was released in June 1989. It may not have been as big a seller as some of its predecessors, but Flowers In The Dirt did manage to spark a creative return to form. The album had a lot more heart and ambition than most of his other releases from the ’80’s.
This March, marks the rerelease of this gem of an album through The Paul McCartney Archive Collection. There are numerous formats of this release but the standard set consists of the remastered album with a second disc of demoes from the Costello/McCartney collaboration.
The remastered edition of Flowers in the Dirt is a mixed bag. The instrumentation and Paul’s vocals have a lot more depth, which is great. Unfortunately, if you do purchase the CD and want to have all the collaborated efforts between these greats, you’ll be disappointed. You must download the remaining songs off of Paul McCartney’s website, no matter which edition you purchase. What a suck!
I still see Flowers In The Dirt as a creative turning point for McCartney. I believe that jamming with Elvis Costello, really did invigorate McCartney and put him on the right track. But, as great as this release was, it lost focus near the end. In fact, the last two tracks, Motor of Love and Ou est le Soleil, really don’t add anything at all to the record. I’m guessing that McCartney wanted to add a little variety on the album; but a weak track is a weak track.
All in all, this new edition is worthy to add to your collection as long as you realize what you’re getting.