According to Paul McCartney, working on the Beatles Anthology project inspired him to record an album that was stripped-back, immediate, and fun, one less studied and produced than most of his recent work. In many ways, Flaming Pie fulfills those goals. A largely acoustic collection of simple songs, Flaming Pie is direct and unassuming, and at its best, it recalls the homely charm of McCartney and Ram. McCartney still has a tendency to wallow in trite sentiment, and his more ambitious numbers, like the string-drenched epic "Beautiful Night" or the silly Beatlesque psychedelia of "Flaming Pie," fall a little flat. But when he works on a small scale, as on the waltzing "The Song We Were Singing," "Calico Skies," "Great Day," and "Little Willow," he's gently affecting, and the moderately rocking pop of "The World Tonight" and "Young Boy" is more ingratiating than the pair of aimless bluesy jams with Steve Miller. Even with the filler, which should be expected on any McCartney album, Flaming Pie is one of his most successful latter-day efforts, mainly because McCartney is at his best when he doesn't try so hard and lets his effortless melodic gifts rise to the surface.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine