I hope the Grammy folks don’t tear down this link (edit: too late) because it is Paul McCartney’s wonderful performance of “My Valentine” at the 2012 Grammy’s, one of the two original compositions from his new album Kisses On The Bottom.
I heard the song several weeks ago when it leaked on YouTube. I thought it was pretty, but unremarkable. I’ve now heard the song several times, and it’s quite clear that “My Valentine” is proof that Paul is still the best melodic songwriter around.
The melody of “My Valentine” is deceptively simple. Each note at the end of a line in the verses descends slightly. The middle-eight is straight from McCartney’s “how to write a song” handbook. It’s the type of part he and John Lennon labored over, and was a feature in each man’s writing thereafter. The middle-eight in “My Valentine” resembles the one in “Only Love Remains” from McCartney’s 1986 album Press To Play.
“Only Love Remains” was a lushly arranged ballad, but I have a feeling “My Valentine” could have been arranged in a similar manner had the song not appeared in the context of light-jazz covers of standards from the thirties and forties.
At any rate, it’s a lovely song. Be sure to note another example of the Jobim influence in McCartney’s writing.