After the excellent Band on the Run (1973), Paul McCartney enjoyed considerable commercial success (notably the triple live set Wings Over America in 1976 which topped the US charts), but then there were diminishing artistic returns until the late ’80s with this return to form.

Some suggested the three songs co-written with Elvis Costello (among them the hit My Brave Face, and the raw duet You Want Her Too) forced him to up his game, but his own songs were strong whether they be sentimental (Put It There, the discreetly orchestrated Distractions), quirky (Rough Ride) or rocking (Figure Of Eight).

Other co-writes with Costello would appear on their separate albums, but Flowers – an important solo McCartney album – marked a turning point. The expansive Archive Edition reissue offers four discs which include nine demos of Costello co-writes (acoustic and with the band), videos, and 16 download-only songs if you shell out the big bucks. There are more fiscally manageable double vinyl and double CD editions too.

McCartney review

Paul McCartney, Flowers In The Dirt: Archive Edition is out on March 24 via EMI