You hear so much Beatles and Paul McCartney & Wings music on classic rock radio that it's easy to forget the singer is turning 70 next June. It'd be easy to call 'My Valentine' -- a collaboration with Eric Clapton -- a song that octogenarian Tony Bennett missed for his recent 'Duets II' album, but that'd be unfair to a legend who's passions and interests are simply not the same as they were 30 years ago.

That said, the Bennett comparison is accurate. That's the direction McCartney chose to go in for his upcoming album of songs and styles that influenced the Beatles. 'My Valentine' is one of the tracks that will be found when the still-untitled album hits stores on Feb. 7.

"What if it rained / We didn't care / She said that someday soon the sun was gonna shine / And she was right / This love of mine / My valentine," McCartney croons over an acoustic guitar, a heavy piano and the shiver of brushes over a snare drum. Clapton is underused on this track. There's nothing that distinguishes his playing from something any capable studio musician could have been hired for. Perhaps he owed his fellow British rocker a favor.

"And I will love her, for life / And I will never let a day go by / Without remembering the reasons why / She makes me certain that I can fly," McCartney sings later in the song. His divergence into jazz is refreshing at first, but after a few listens the cracks in his voice begin to become more clear. He is a brilliant songwriter, revolutionary bassist and a pop icon. He is not a vocalist of the same level of Bennett or Diana Krall (who, along with Stevie Wonder, will also appear on the album), and his vulnerabilities are exposed on this raw track.

Much like the Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration, McCartney is at a point where he needs to explain his creative desires to nobody. 'My Valentine' makes far more sense than 'Lulu,' but it's far from his finest hour.

2 Stars
Listen to Paul McCartney's 'My Valentine'

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