... the anthology is a feast for the eyes. Dyed-in-the-wool Beatles fans will be bowled over by the sheer profundity of unpublished photographs, previously unseen lyrics sheets, journal entries, paintings, and the like. Indeed, The Lyrics easily represents the finest collection of illustrations associated with McCartney's life and work. And it's beautifully rendered, to boot. Drop-dead gorgeous as books go, The Lyrics rivals the finest art imprints, including the handsome limited editions from the likes of Taschen and Genesis ... Readers will enjoy the deep dives into more than 150 songs, and I, for one, was thrilled with the choices ... If The Lyrics has an overarching weakness, it exists in the margins ... there are a series of moments in The Lyrics, often literary in nature, that might seem like—dare I say it?—overreaching ... That's not to say that the attendant anecdotes and off-the-cuff musings are not powerful and affecting. As always, McCartney's asides about his parents are simply lovely ... In its finest moments, The Lyrics brings these key relationships to the fore, emphasizing the role that McCartney's family has always played in his life—and yes, this most definitely includes his created family with the other Beatles and their circle ... fetch me a more exquisite anthology this holiday season? I dare say you won't find one.
... richly illustrated ... there’s nothing like listening to Macca (as McCartney was known in his Liverpool days) talk about the rise of a band composed largely of working-class teens who changed the world forever ... Almost 60 years later, it’s still an amazing story ... Muldoon interviewed him for hours and coaxed out these charming commentaries.
... lavishly prepared ... The books’ title, in its declarative terseness, proclaims the books’ definitiveness. It’s not Selected Lyrics or Paul’s Favorite Lyrics or Lyrics That Remind Paul of a Little Story He’d Like to Share, but just The Lyrics, and it’s misleading. The books provide a carefully curated selection of lyrics: 154 out of the more than 400 songs McCartney wrote or co-wrote on 22 Beatles studio albums and 26 Wings and solo albums, along with singles and B sides ... It would be easy to fill the rest of this review space with the titles of less-than-print-worthy lyrics from McCartney’s vast catalog ... To read over the words to these 154 songs is to be impressed not merely with McCartney’s productivity but with the fertility of his imagination and the potency of his offhand, unfussy style ... makes clear that McCartney has written on a high level long past his Beatles years, and even the weakest lyrics in the books have a character all their own: a feeling of giddy playfulness and unguarded experimentation. They’re a joy to read because they exude the joy their maker took in their making ... The text is loose and ruminative, and it reveals a great deal about what McCartney thinks about life and music, and what he would like us to think about him ... Over and over, McCartney shows how deeply he is steeped in literary history and how much his output as a songwriter has in common with the works of the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare ... While pronouncing his love for Lennon as a longtime friend and creative partner, Paul is pretty rough on him at points in The Lyrics. His main crime is one of omission, passing on opportunities to point out Lennon’s signature contributions to songs they wrote collaboratively ... Yes, we all know that McCartney can’t help defining himself in relation to Lennon. Still, as he shows convincingly throughout The Lyrics, you don’t have to make the other guy out to be an idiot to prove that you’re a genius.