Imagine being excited about a Paul McCartney album
October 11, 2008 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Paul is NOT dead. Paul goes into the studio, alone, no songs prepared at all. Thirteen songs in thirteen days -- one each day -- Paul playing every instrument, writing lyrics on the fly, ripping a line from a poem, the next spontaneous, off the cuff, really gutsy. The album, Electric Arguments, to be released next month.

Maybe getting fleeced in a public and nasty divorce was the best thing to happen to this man. I've not liked much if anything I've heard since he split from his old song-writing buddy(s) but I damn sure love this single -- “Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight” – it's ragged and rugged, the thing bleeds and howls and moans. I'm gonna buy the album -- Electric Arguments -- as soon as it's out.

Imagine being excited over a Paul McCartney album!?!

But I am.

Free download of Nothing Too Much Out of Sight here.
posted by dancestoblue (116 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Imagine being excited over a Paul McCartney album!?!

I gave it my best shot...maybe I'm just not very creative.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:37 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


God bless him for trying to be a bit more edgy or relevant or something, but it sounds utterly contrived to me. This would be one thing if it were a great song, but it's a rather clichéd rockin' blues number that's would have sounded dated if it were released in the year I was born. I'd spin the rest of the record in hopes he's struck a better chord elsewhere, but this isn't much.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:47 AM on October 11, 2008


For 66 he's rocking pretty good. Still singing his ass off, that's for sure.
posted by wsg at 1:16 AM on October 11, 2008


Imagine being excited over a Paul McCartney album!?!

Abbey Road's The B Side ?
posted by mattoxic at 1:49 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whether or not it is your cup of tea, I hope I can rock this hard when I am 66. Assuming I make it to 66.
posted by chillmost at 2:03 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ick.
posted by Clave at 2:17 AM on October 11, 2008


"It could ruin my whole career!"
Give me break. Isn't this the man that made 'Mary had a little lamb' on a bet that he could make a nursery rhyme a hit? And did it.
posted by tellurian at 2:33 AM on October 11, 2008


"It could ruin my whole career!"

Ok, who's going to tell him?
posted by Optamystic at 2:51 AM on October 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


this is really boring cliche blues rock... I"m not excited
posted by mary8nne at 3:02 AM on October 11, 2008


I'm excited by the over/under on how long this thread survives.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:10 AM on October 11, 2008


This post needs more Youth, I think. After all, he's a big part of The Fireman project. "Electric Arguments" isn't really a solo album. It's a very crap album, though. But I digress. So let's hear it for Youth, a man with a CV halfway to the moon! And it's a CV with some pretty cool stuff on it; Killing Joke, playing bass on "Hounds of Love", The Orb, producing "Urban Hymns"...
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:47 AM on October 11, 2008


posted by dancestoblue

I wish there was a MeFi meme that made incongruously shilling a music product with this username amusing.
posted by cillit bang at 3:49 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The best thing about Paul recently were the headlines in The Sun for the stories regarding his concert in Israel - 'Hey Judaism' and 'Shalom and winding road'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pepsi Beatle
posted by DU at 4:07 AM on October 11, 2008


You want a rockin pensioner, go check out Neil Young live. No compromises for anyone . Paul McCartney... always trying to be down with the kids and irrelevant to the music scene for years. That's my snarks out of the way. Carry on.
posted by twistedonion at 4:23 AM on October 11, 2008


this is really boring cliche blues rock...

Dull pastiche was always McCartney's strength, and I see he hasn't lost any of his abilities in that direction.

That said, he does look so much *younger* than Sir Mick. Has he had any work done, I wonder? Or is it all Photoshop?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:32 AM on October 11, 2008


I've been trying to read up on this McCartney guy.

From what I understand, he played in a band that sang some of the old songs from bygone eras. I know he sang "Yesterday". I'm pretty sure that "Yesterday" is an old Celtic tune, or maybe an old Scottish tune, but I'm not sure. I think Eminem did a version of it, but that was before my time.

I like the way these people at MetaFilter know about classical music like "Yesterday". I'm a big fan of classical music. I like songs like "Norwegian Wood". You guys should listen to it! It's all about a girl who came to stay.

Maybe one day this McCartney guy will be better known. I love retro!
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:54 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've not liked much if anything I've heard since he split from his old song-writing buddy(s)...

You know, a link to these songwriting partners would have been appreciated, for the sake of background. Or is this some hipster reference I'm too uncool to know?

/snark

posted by spoobnooble at 4:56 AM on October 11, 2008


I stopped loving him when he turned 64.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:05 AM on October 11, 2008 [13 favorites]


He's recycling himself.

At least fifteen years ago he did a music video of something-or-other where he played all the parts.

This whole exercise strikes me as being very cynical; as if he's trying to expend the bare minimum effort and time to create an album.
posted by Class Goat at 5:11 AM on October 11, 2008


He and his bandmates were a bunch of average musicians in the right place at the right time. This proves it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:16 AM on October 11, 2008


Paul is so incredibly calculating about everything he does that even his spontaneous rocking lacks any spontaneity.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:25 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would be $100 that every song on this album is better than Dance Tonight.
posted by danb at 5:31 AM on October 11, 2008


be bet
posted by danb at 5:32 AM on October 11, 2008


I happen to think McCartney can still write great songs... but the 1st track released from this album is awful.
posted by kdern at 5:47 AM on October 11, 2008


It's not bad, but it still doesn't make up for any time I might hear "Wonderful Christmas Time" in the next few months.
posted by tushfestival at 5:49 AM on October 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


kdern: I happen to think McCartney can still write great songs...

I do too, but with McCartney you have to sift through a lot of schlock to find a few gems. For me even more frustrating is that he has so many songs of late with a great segment, but then the same song will contain an absolutely horrible section that overshadows the part of the song I really liked. I wish you could break his songs up into individual verses, choruses, and bridges and then snap the parts you like together to create killer McCartney songs. I could make an awesome album with parts from the last 5 or 6 studio albums.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:07 AM on October 11, 2008


> It's not bad, but it still doesn't make up for any time I might hear "Wonderful Christmas Time" in the next few months.

Goddammit, tushfestival...I was really hoping to not have to be reminded of that song until at least November. Now it's gonna be simply having! stuck a wonderful! in my Christmas time! head all day long. It's the simply! earworm that having! eats a wonderful! your Christmas! brain. time!
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:14 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


This'll help you survive Wonderful Christmastime, tushfestival.
posted by Kattullus at 6:29 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


> Imagine being excited about a Paul McCartney album

Well, yeah...who wouldn't be?

This is 1966, right?
posted by you just lost the game at 6:35 AM on October 11, 2008


not dead yet great old musicians is an exclusive club. leonard cohen, bob dylan, neil young, taj mahal and lou reed come to mind. there certainly must be others. paul mccartney is not in it.
posted by kitchenrat at 6:38 AM on October 11, 2008


He's recycling himself.

At least fifteen years ago he did a music video of something-or-other where he played all the parts.

This whole exercise strikes me as being very cynical; as if he's trying to expend the bare minimum effort and time to create an album.


I am not particularly a fan or anything, but whatever shortcomings the guy has a songwriter (1), he is a pretty solid musician, and he has always (2) been a multi-instrumentalist -- IIRC he plays all the parts on every track on his first album. This is not that uncommon; Lenny Kravitz does this a lot as well. Anyway, I believe the video you are thinking of is "Coming Up," from 1980. Bear in mind getting on the screen in ten different guises simultaneously was a little more impressive feat with 1979 video technology.



(1) Q.when did Paul McCartney write Silly Love Songs?

A. 1962-present.

(2) Another trademark is that he is also incredibly loyal to gear he likes; the bass in the photo would be the same Hofner bass he played on the Ed Sullivan show, and for decades it still had the set list from the Beatles' final live show in 1966. I am not a McCartney fan, but I am a bass player, and that Hofner is one of the most well-known instruments in the history of pop.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:43 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


He and his bandmates were a bunch of average musicians in the right place at the right time. This proves it.

Unless you're referring to Wings, I don't think we're talking about the same Paul.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:44 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


He and his bandmates were a bunch of average musicians in the right place at the right time.

See also: Every single rock, punk, dirtcore, shoegazer, metal, hardcore, edgy/interesting band pretty much ever.
posted by spicynuts at 6:50 AM on October 11, 2008


I truly wish him the best of luck and have the utmost admiration for the man.

Yet, I can't help thinking this was exactly the game plan he had when he produced a couple of those gawdawful Beatle movies ... let's grab a camera, a bus, take off and let wackiness ensue.
posted by RavinDave at 6:53 AM on October 11, 2008


but I am a bass player, and that Hofner is one of the most well-known instruments in the history of pop.


Being a musician myself, I think, it is so amazing this bass didn't say... get nicked in Hamburg or lost in India, Japan or anywhere for that matter. To think how long he has had it. Like BB's Lucille. I wonder where he keeps it. I mean perhaps he doesn't care but man... baby, I'm amazed.
posted by RubberHen at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2008


Paul's problem (and advantage) is that he's a workaholic. He's always writing songs, always got some project going, always needs to be busy. Unfortunately, his activity long, long ago outpaced his inspiration. The Beatles would never have accomplished so much without his constant, workaholic noodgeing (it's one of the things about him that annoyed Lennon). On the other hand, you shouldn't write and record just for the sake of writing and recording, or because "that's what I do." You wind up recording second and third rate material. Also: Song-writing is a young man's game, period. Most great songs (in all eras) were written by people under thirty, and very, very few (maybe some late Cole Porter, a bit of late Richard Rodgers) by anyone older than that. The fire goes out, boys. Let it go.
posted by Faze at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


ADD TO THE ABOVE ... I always thought that Paul wanted to desperately to be more of a jazzy, improv-like performer, but it seems to go against his temperament. Isn't he the guy who'd spend an extra day in the studio struggling to get six notes from a sousaphone "just right"?

More power to him he pulls it off.
posted by RavinDave at 7:00 AM on October 11, 2008


It's no Temporary Secretary
posted by kid ichorous at 7:03 AM on October 11, 2008


I hear the music video is of him taking someone's prosthetic leg and beating her senseless with it. Upon further inspection, it turns out to be his career.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 7:23 AM on October 11, 2008


Isn't he the guy who'd spend an extra day in the studio struggling to get six notes from a sousaphone "just right"?

No, that was Walter Becker and Donald Fagan. And each note was punched in, individually. By six different guys. Every one of 'em top shelf, A-list LA session men. Hottest sousaphonists in the country.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Faze: Song-writing is a young man's game, period. Most great songs (in all eras) were written by people under thirty...

Eh, I'd hate to judge Bach, Schutz, Guillaume de Machaut, Mozart, Bob Dylan, or Leonard Cohen strictly on their twentysomething material; hell, even Elliott Smith was doing arguably his best work (Basement) on the cusp of and after 30.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:26 AM on October 11, 2008


Imagine being excited about a Paul McCartney album

I rather liked the Flaming Pie album, though that was more for its overall vibe than any specific song. As for albums after that... well... Lonely Road is a really good song that my imaginary band would rock the fuck out of... but that's about it.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2008


Usually, if everyone in a post talks about how awful a song is, I can assume there is some merit to the consensus and not listen to the song. However, it has been so cool for so long to hate Paul McCartney that it is impossible to guess the quality of his work without listening to it.

Paul McCartney could write a song that caused people to literally have orgasms while listening to it, and the McCartney haters would type with one hand about how the song is uninspired and lame while cleaning up the mess with their other hand.
posted by flarbuse at 7:28 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I forgot Ellington and Monk.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:30 AM on October 11, 2008


The man's a creator. He went in the studio and tried something new to him. Songs created in a day won't necessarily be commendable. The process and spirit is.
posted by shunpike at 7:37 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tend to think the album is more of a vehicle to launch into a $400 a seat concert tour.
posted by plexi at 7:45 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


it's not bad - and it's funny how none of you music critics have mentioned it's in 7, which isn't exactly pastiche blues rock
posted by pyramid termite at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to get excited about solo McCartney albums since before I was born and I have never seen the pre-release hype come true.

He ALWAYS has about two truly wonderful, brilliant songs per album... and the rest is filler. His supposedly "great" albums and "lame" albums both follow this rule. Two gems, then flush.

Even in the Beatles, it was a couple great ones and then filler (but that wasn't as obnoxious 'cause he was sharing the songwriting with some other great talents). Think about your favorite Beatles album, line up the McCartney songs, take out the two best ones... you'll see what I mean. It's like he loses interest after the good ones come out.

He writes for a singles market, 45s. I wish he would just put those out two perfect songs a year and then stop with the filler. He is one of the all time greats.
posted by quarterframer at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2008


One of my favorite music-related stories is that right after the Beatles broke up, they were all vying to be the first ex-Beatle with a solo record, and so one day Paul came rushing into Abbey Road Studios and told one of the lackeys to fetch George Martin because he'd got some songs. Martin says to the lackey, 'How many songs does he have?' and the lackey says, whatever, 'Twenty.' Martin says 'How many of them are any good?' and the lackey says 'Six.' Martin says 'Tell him to come back when he has an album.'

Now, however, there's no one to tell Paul to come back when he has an album.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Somewhere out in a parallel reality, John Lennon has just released a hip hop concrète album to universal cringing. So in the grand scheme of things, this record probably isn't all that bad.

God do I love Wonderful Christmastime.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:07 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I prefer Ringo.

Really, I do. I trust Ringo to recognize his own mediocrity and, instead of trying in vain to reclaim some mythical songwriting genius status, just have a lot of fun.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


He was in The Beatles. Plenty of musicians from far lesser bands were resting on their laurels decades ago. That he's still in the studio trying to be brave and take his music in different directions should be applauded.
posted by fire&wings at 8:17 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


it's funny how none of you music critics have mentioned it's in 7, which isn't exactly pastiche blues rock

Meh. 7 is the new 3. And, um, it's not truly in 7. It's a 6/4-8/4 mix. My kind of time signature, but of course, if that last note on the first bar just sustained a little longer, it'd be the same tired blues. As it is, it's like someone playing the chorus of a Led Zeppelin song over and over and over and ever so slightly too slow.

A valiant effort, but five minutes of plodding, repetitive riffage does not make for interesting listening.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 AM on October 11, 2008


RubberHen: Being a musician myself, I think, it is so amazing this bass didn't say... get nicked in Hamburg or lost in India, Japan or anywhere for that matter. To think how long he has had it. Like BB's Lucille. I wonder where he keeps it. I mean perhaps he doesn't care but man... baby, I'm amazed.

Well, he ultimately had two of them; the other one disappeared around the time of Let It Be. The other bass that he is well-known for was The Very First left-handed Rickenbacker bass ever made, which as I understand it, Mr Rickenbacker himself came and presented to Paul at the 1966 Candlestick Park show; it appears on "Paperback Writer"and "Rain" and pretty much everything else through Abbey Road, and most Wings stuff.

Around the time of Magical Mystery Tour, George repaints a guitar with a psychedelic theme, McCartney gets halfway in doing so with the bass before he stops. He occasionally uses the Hofner. He has the Rick sanded down to natural wood and tends to use that through the Wings decade.

Then he used a Yamaha and whatnot and has switched now and again since then, but that passes beyond my rudimentary knowledge of and interest in McCartney's gear. He still seems to be playing his sixties basses pretty frequently, though.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:42 AM on October 11, 2008


Huh. We just listened to All The Best on the ride up to Toronto, having had it in the car for the last, oh, 8 trips up here or so. Knew I'd be in the mood for it eventually.

That being said, I like well-crafted music the way my professors liked well-crafted papers. Locking yourself in your dorm room overnight and writing till 6am may get the job done (and even be perversely fun), but it's not a way to turn out quality work.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:47 AM on October 11, 2008


Yes, for you consistency stalkers, we don't own a car. but the same CD cases make it into every rental.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:51 AM on October 11, 2008


I'm chastened that many people still find it worth arguing that music like this is relevant.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:17 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm chafed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:24 AM on October 11, 2008


I'll buy iy provided it isn't marketed through Starbucks. And if it is marketed through Starbucks, I may still buy it if they don't put up any posters of his pruny 70 year old mug trying to promote it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:36 AM on October 11, 2008


Tom Waits didn't start writing great songs until after he was thirty. He released Swordfishtrombones in 1983, at the age of 33.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:15 AM on October 11, 2008


Song-writing is a young man's game, period. Most great songs (in all eras) were written by people under thirty, and very, very few (maybe some late Cole Porter, a bit of late Richard Rodgers) by anyone older than that. The fire goes out, boys. Let it go.
posted by Faze at 10:58 AM on October 11 [+] [!]

That's a very "catchy" concept, an easy phrase, but it's hard to defend it and examples abound to dismiss it.

Benny Moré, Agustín Lara, José Alfredo Jiménez, Miguel Matamoros, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Sindo Garay are six names off the top of my head of very recognizable composers from Mexico and Cuba alone. Composers whose songs are standards throughout the region, known to hundreds of millions of people and are as current today as they were 60, 50, 40 years ago, when they were written. All of these guys kept active through long careers and kept writing new, fantastic songs until shortly before their deaths.
posted by micayetoca at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Song-writing is a young man's game, period.

Watch yourself, faze. I got some serious shit from all the middle-aged rockers here last time I suggested this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:26 AM on October 11, 2008


Post-Beatles Paul has always seemed the saddest of all of the post-Beatles, even more so since Linda died. In A Hard Day's Night you can see how the four of them together just radiated joy and love and life, and were just having such an incredibly wonderful time of it all, and isn't it all just grand, cheeky-baby? And it seems like now that George and John are gone, Paul realizes what a spectacular piece of history that time was and he's trying anything he can to just capture another small slice of it ... but he can't, because everyone that made that piece of history is gone now, and even Paul isn't that fresh-faced young heartbreaker any more with the snappy suits and the wink and Jesus Christ has John really been dead almost thirty years?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aside from Solsbury Hill and Here Comes The Flood (which, arguably, was never fully realized until PG was around 35), pretty much all of Peter Gabriel's high quality solo work was post-30.

And some of his best songs have been in Us and UP, which were post-40 and post-50, respectively.
posted by chimaera at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2008


So I listened to it, thought 'OK, sort of interesting, let me listen again,' and shut it off 30 seconds into the replay. I have lots of opinions vis-a-vis Paul's merits and liabilities as a songwriter/performer, but this "Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight" is a song I didn't want to listen to twice, no matter who made it.*


(*-there, I've dutifully registered my opinion, which will concur with some and counter others, may I have the punch and pie now? What?)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:42 AM on October 11, 2008


> Tom Waits didn't start writing great songs until after he was thirty. He released Swordfishtrombones in 1983, at the age of 33.

I'm no Tom Waits expert, but "Martha" (1973) is a pretty great song.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:04 AM on October 11, 2008


Just not good enough for more than thirty seconds of my life ... which pretty much sums up his entire post Beatles output, with a few notable exceptions.
posted by philip-random at 11:17 AM on October 11, 2008


Card Cheat, I'm not a fan of most of his seventies stuff. It has an awkward conventionality to it that his later work (collaborating with his wife) doesn't have.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:22 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Paul is NOT dead."

Yet. Unfortunately, every time I bid on an eBay auction for the precision Zeiss lenses I need for my scope, I get sniped.
posted by Eideteker at 11:23 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


shortcomings the guy has a songwriter

Really? I mean, really? I know he hasn't done a lot of great stuff lately. And I know "Harrison's better than McCartney" is perennial ammunition in any good "hipper than thou" arsenal.

But, really? This is the guy who wrote "Hey, Jude" and "Let it Be." Harrison's best song doesn't come within a mile of either of those. Lennon got close, but I don't think he ever equaled them either. I'm just talking about music here, not hippness or geopolitics or what silly videos they made in the 80s. And musically, if those were the only two songs Paul ever wrote, he'd still be remembered hundreds of years from now. And rightly so.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:27 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Song-writing is a young man's game, period.

I don't know if I really have the stomach for an argument that's certain to depend on subjective criteria for greatness and devolve into "your favorite artist sucks," but offhand I can come up with a couple of examples I'd think run counter. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Rosanne Cash probably didn't produce any of their best work until after 30, Shawn Colvin certainly didn't have hits until then, although I know a lot of her long term fans consider A Few Small Repairs to be an inferior album, so maybe it doesn't count. So far my list might tempt one to think that this might mean songwriting is a young man's and older woman's game, but Springsteen put out Nebraska at 33, I think. Leonard Cohen didn't even start until he was 32 or so. Greg Brown's put out the excellent Slant 6 Mind nearing 50. Glen Phillips is turning out some excellent work nearing 40.

I would agree the enthusiasm and passion of youth that's uncomplicated with the ambivalence, weariness, and gun-shyness that age can bring is an asset in producing art, *especially* certain popular genres of music that tend to distill youth. But let's face it, even if pop culture sometimes doesn't, youth is hardly the only aspect of human experience, nor is it necessarily the best viewpoint for the human experience, so there's lots of room for older artists to spend years honing the skills of their craft to step in and contribute good work.
posted by weston at 11:29 AM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Watch yourself, faze. I got some serious shit from all the middle-aged rockers here last time I suggested this.

I'm in my 20s, play piano, detest "rock," so ner!
posted by kid ichorous at 11:29 AM on October 11, 2008


Also, I find it intensely amusing that people are holding up the author of "Rockin' in the Free World" and the guy who made the rock opera about the small town where grandpa's mad about Iraq and conformity and the media are bad and whatever as a paragon of a gracefully-aging rock star.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2008


He and his bandmates were a bunch of average musicians in the right place at the right time.

/me rolls his eyes. Oh, please.

Lennon/McCartney is almost universally revered as one of the greatest songwriting teams in history - if not the greatest. And McCartney himself is one of the great bass players in rock music; if you care about the electric bass, you have studied his playing.

The fact that Paul's OCD on music makes him an absolutely killer song writer. If you ever hear him go on about how he thinks "She Said, She Said" is the greatest song in pop music because it starts right with the hook, it's annoying, but it's in some sense true - Paul knows exactly what he wants to do and he obsesses over it until he gets it. Or something.

If we don't destroy ourselves, people will still be playing Lennon/McCartney songs in bars a century from now when no one remembers a single shoegazer band.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:57 AM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I savaged the new Byrne-Eno collaboration and I've been pretty critical of Paul before but this is a fine track - particularly if he's playing all the parts - full of life and energy.

I don't see how this sounds dated at all. In particular, the sounds are very modran... the drum and bass (yummy synth bass) production is very 2008 in a good way, but it isn't over-compressed, his voice is in good form, really good guitar work.

He's one of the ur-fathers of this sort of music. He can play it all he wants.

It's not even that the drum production is good, it's that Paul sounds like a modern drummer, with the very heavy-hitting, deep-into-the-head sound and little ride or crash.

And a really nice moaning guitar ending. Has Paul been listening to the Butthole Surfers?!

No question that I'll buy this album. Good on you, Paul.

On preview: I didn't even notice it was in a weird time signature! And I'm very into weird time signatures - a musician I play with mentioned the other day how I always want to jam in 5 :-D I'm not sure if he was complaining or not but I wasn't actually aware of it. But I've studying odd meters very hard.

The fact that it's in an unusual time signature and sounds completely natural is to me more proof of the great craft leading to artistry.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:02 PM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


no wai bando fhorses is 4evar
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:03 PM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


decent track, i'll definetely pick up the rest of the album, but wow, paul's kind of a crappy drummer.
posted by waxboy at 12:12 PM on October 11, 2008


Song-writing is a young man's game, period.

Leonard Cohen (just another songwriter to refute that statement). I'd agree on the whole it does seem to be the case. I think it's more that creativity has a peak. Very very few artists are great their whole careers. Some people start their ascent to greatness later than others.
posted by twistedonion at 12:26 PM on October 11, 2008


Song-writing is a young man's game, period.

Trenet, Gainsbourg. Irving Berlin.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:51 PM on October 11, 2008


Yet, I can't help thinking this was exactly the game plan he had when he produced a couple of those gawdawful Beatle movies ... let's grab a camera, a bus, take off and let wackiness ensue.

Hmm... only one Beatles (television) movie is like that.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:03 PM on October 11, 2008


"Give My Regards to Broad Street" was also meant to be an experimental film. Sort of like a prototype for the Christopher Guest school of film-making (script = broad outline), except that the entertaining content they had planned to insert never really materialized, so they just kinda threw whatever they had on hand into the mix.
posted by RavinDave at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2008


Your Favorite Beatle Sucks
posted by not_on_display at 2:35 PM on October 11, 2008


Let's see, so this thread is - rock musician releases record, mefites shit on it. Is that about right? Just making sure that my understanding of "best of the web" is up to date.

Paul can be insufferable, but more than anything else I feel pity for those who doubt his abilities. At one point or another in his career, he has done virtually every thing in pop music extremely well. Most of it was before he was 30.

In my book, that earns the man a "Bad Motherfucker" wallet.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:44 PM on October 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just hush. I turned sixty a while back and I'll buy it.
posted by francesca too at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2008


Ringo was the only one with any real talent.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:10 PM on October 11, 2008


I feel pity for those who doubt his abilities

Paging the batshitinsane tag. Batshitinsane tag to thread.
posted by cillit bang at 4:23 PM on October 11, 2008


Wow. Reading some of these comments, you'd think Paul McCartney went around killing baby ducks. He's made some awesome music over the years, despite what some cynics think, and I can't think of anything he's done that would make me want to, say, kick him to death.

Paul seems like a nice enough guy. I prefer to reserve my enmity for people who actively try to make my world worse.
posted by OolooKitty at 4:32 PM on October 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not my cup of tea, but he sure sounds like he was having fun. We should all be having so much fun. Even when huge numbers of people regularly take a dump on any work you produce.

disclaimer: I enjoy his over-polished pop
posted by davejay at 4:58 PM on October 11, 2008


If you ever hear him go on about how he thinks "She Said, She Said" is the greatest song in pop music because it starts right with the hook, it's annoying, but it's in some sense true...

For the record, "She Said She Said" *is* the greatest song in pop music.
posted by Lucinda at 5:50 PM on October 11, 2008


By the way, I've heard similar arguments, but about "She Loves You", which does in fact start with the hook, and predates She Said by about 2 years.

(although methinks it's probably a bit too treacle for the jaded mefite ears)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 5:57 PM on October 11, 2008


For the record, "She Said She Said" *is* the greatest song in pop music.

And yet it's only the second best song on Revolver. Funny how that works.

The problem with post-Beatles Paul isn't that all of his music sucks (it doesn't), it's that virtually none of it is "important", which was almost never the case with the Beatles. He's still sold gobs of records over the intervening decades mind you, but so has Kenny G.
posted by philip-random at 6:06 PM on October 11, 2008


shortcomings the guy has a songwriter

Really? I mean, really? I know he hasn't done a lot of great stuff lately. And I know "Harrison's better than McCartney" is perennial ammunition in any good "hipper than thou" arsenal.

But, really? This is the guy who wrote "Hey, Jude" and "Let it Be." Harrison's best song doesn't come within a mile of either of those. Lennon got close, but I don't think he ever equaled them either. I'm just talking about music here, not hippness or geopolitics or what silly videos they made in the 80s. And musically, if those were the only two songs Paul ever wrote, he'd still be remembered hundreds of years from now. And rightly so.


Oddly, those are the very two songs I would pick as the quintessential examples of formulaic mid-tempo MOR turgidity from the Beatles years (with maybe The Long and Winding Road filling out the trinity).

And while I doubt he personally will be recalled hundreds of years from now, I have little doubt that our great-great-great-grandchildren will recognize the melody of Yesterday the way everyone now knows Eine Kleine Nachtmusik without necessarily knowing anything about Mozart.

My own speculation as to what ended the Beatles, presented as an interior monologue of Paul's in August of 1969 during the mixing of Abbey Road:

"Well, I'm happy I managed to pull the band back together after that bloody awful time we had doing those Get Back sessions. Sure that gig on the rooftop was fun, and maybe that film bloke can salvage something out of all those hours he filmed. I was quite chuffed with that Let It Be song.

"Anyway, I was quite glad I could convince the lads to go back into the studio so soon to do more. I know John is doin' his thing with Yoko and was pissed because he didn't have a whole lot of tunes ready to go, but George has been pressing for two tunes on an album instead of one, and he's sworn off the sitars. And Ringo even wants one -- I mean, come on... Ringo?

"So, let's have a look at the final track list for the new album... Hmm, there's John's Come Together thing which is weird but it kind of sneaks up on you, must say. Then George has that Something song he's been working on for a year, which has really come along... gorgeous, that thing is, even if he did pinch the verse of Help! for the chords in the middle eight. Well done, George!

"Okay, then we get in my Silver Hammer bit, and Oh Darling -- could use a bit more work on that maybe...

"Ringo did a cracking job on Octopus' Garden, I must say, even if it is Yellow Submarine, Part II. The we're back to John with She's So Heavy. Not really my thing, but he seems to like it.

"So, side two, we're into that pretty one from Georgie... what is it again? Here Comes the Sun or summat? He's not bad, is our little George. The back to John with that really nice one, called Because... wait, where's the rest of mine? Is that really all I had? There's a couple of scraps of my stuff in the medley, but, nothing else... maybe I can get back that little Her Majesty ditty and paste it in somewhere...

"Wait -- Come Together, Something, Octopus's Garden and, uh Maxwell's Silver Hammer?

"Christ, I am the fourth-best songwriter in the band."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:26 PM on October 11, 2008


So many Beatle/McCartney haters here, I see. How do I anti-favorite a comment?
posted by grubi at 10:34 PM on October 11, 2008


How do I anti-favorite a comment?

Dangerous magic, that is. To the digg-lands, beyond the blue, you must go.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:14 PM on October 11, 2008


You say you want a revolution.

Yeah. Well.


Y'know.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:42 AM on October 12, 2008


What a great thread! Fun.

I figured I'd get creamed here, going on over anyones music, much less McCartneys; very few can resist making fun of someone because of music they're excited about, sortof like making fun of your little brothers favorite band. "Yeah, your favorite band sucks!" Etc and etc.

There's even someone who's ragged on him about his appearance. This is music (you're free to disagree there, your call), he's not a model, he's 66 fucking years old, he just got hit by a bus via his wonderful wife's death and then that wacky broad taking off her wooden leg and beating him with it.

I like best those who listened to twenty seconds or thirty and then said it sucks -- comical.

He's been easy to hate, McCartney has, his polished songs, his schmaltzy songs, his silly love songs. But this really takes jam, to go in and lay it down and then releasing it into the wild, without polishing it. Have you got the guts to do that?

To the haters: When is the last time you've done ANYTHING for thirteen days, with intensity, giving your all? I mean, other than jerking off. When is the last time you've painted your heart out for thirteen days (daze), or written your heart out, or, for that matter, for the musician haters, gone into the studio and played your heart out, no one but you and a producer; your bass player isn't there, your drummer isn't there, your mom isn't there, it's you and your instruments and your imagination and your guts.

And if you're painting for those thirteen days, you're starting with a blank canvas, not even a sketch, damn sure no photograph, you've not even an idea of what you're going to paint, not a clue as to whether to pick up a brush or a knife, or what color, or why. It's you and your tubes of paint and thinners and mediums and lacquers and a big, white, empty canvas. And if you're writing your heart out, you're going to do it without an outline, without any plan at all, you're coming into this thing without any idea what you're going to write, sit down to a blank screen or tablet and let those words start moving and direct you where they will, just you and a chair and your fingers and some courage.

Last. You're tearing into a guy who is 66 years old. Golly, but you're so kind-hearted, so fundamentally decent. Do you think you're going to have the jam to sing your heart out at 66 years old? I don't think so either.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:33 AM on October 12, 2008


"He's made some awesome music over the years"

You can't prove that (mostly because it's not true).
posted by Eideteker at 4:14 AM on October 12, 2008


At least fifteen years ago he did a music video of something-or-other where he played all the parts.

Coming Up? That was closer to thirty years ago.

God do I love Wonderful Christmastime.

I prefer the banned version.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:22 AM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


To the haters: When is the last time you've done ANYTHING for thirteen days, with intensity, giving your all?

does running around goosing orcs in world of warcraft count?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:40 AM on October 12, 2008


Let 'Em In is probably my favorite solo Paul song. And if nothing else, I've provided your earworm for the day.
posted by emelenjr at 5:08 AM on October 12, 2008


I think his career peak was singing "Hard Day's Night" with Terry Bradshaw on Monday Night Football.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:20 AM on October 12, 2008


What dancestoblue said. I'm a middle-aged rocker, because I love playing. Anyone stupid enough to think that rock is just for young people is welcome to the white shoes and white belt when they hit 50. I suspect you'll still be playing if you still feel it. And yes, my teenage self would have though it ridiculous if he had looked ahead to the 21st century and seen me still gigging around at age 58. But fuck him. The little asshole had no class.

And good on Paul for still looking for something new to do.

Personally, I hope I die before I get old.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:19 AM on October 12, 2008


'Jenny Wren' is the best of his recent output.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:49 AM on October 12, 2008


your mom isn't there

To be fair, no one ever takes their mom into the studio.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


So many Beatle/McCartney haters here, I see. How do I anti-favorite a comment?

Let's not oversimplify it: I loves me some Revolver, believe "Penny Lane" to be unimprovable, and think Paul did the best bits of that four-person solo album known as The White Album (I will take "Rocky Raccoon" over "Glass Onion" or "Long Long Long" any day). Huge chunks of the Wings catalogue are eminently listenable. But in my view Paul took the express lane to someplace I don't wanna be somewhere around "Say Say Say" and he hasn't come back yet. I have otherwise sensible friends and bandmates who have kept troth and who excitedly play me a new Macca release every couple of years and he doesn't do it for me; sorry. Maybe he'll surprise me with this one, but I am a skeptic.

It's zip to do with hating a band or musician, but recognition that few songwriters can keep up sustained creativity for more than a decade or two. I think Pete Townshend is the bee's knees, but apart from a couple of things with Deep End, he has not written a song I enjoyed since "Cry If You Want" on It's Hard, twenty-six years ago. So it goes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:31 PM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


After all the vitriol in the thread, I was primed for this to be absolutely awful. But it's definitely not; in fact it's pretty good. (No Temporary Secretary, mind you, but what is?)
posted by jack_mo at 12:45 PM on October 12, 2008


It's zip to do with hating a band or musician, but recognition that few songwriters can keep up sustained creativity for more than a decade or two.

Couldn't agree more. Macca had way more than his share of rarefied air way back when and now, for whatever reason (there's an abundance of them mentioned above), his stuff just doesn't cut it. If we sound like haters, maybe we're just tired of his tricks. Likewise, the Rolling Stones haven't really rocked my world since Some Girls (1976?) and David Bowie lost it somewhere between Scary Monsters and Let's Dance (more than 25 years ago).

Is any of this tragic? No. The tragedy is we're arguing about the merits of some (at best) average pop-rock song when we should really be talking up something relevant like Gogol Bordello.
posted by philip-random at 1:13 PM on October 12, 2008


To take arguably the best year from the Beatles' heyday -- 1967 -- we find the artists who hit number one on the Billboard charts were, in order (and not counting multiple appearances):

The Monkees
The Buckinghams
The Rolling Stones
The Supremes
The Beatles
The Turtles
Frank and Nancy Sinatra
Aretha Franklin
Bobbie Gentry
The Box Tops
Lulu
Strawberry Alarm Clock

I suspect at least half the groups represented above have had one or more members who has released an album in the last five years; all of the individuals have (save the retired Bobbie Gentry and the late Frank Sinatra), and yet their total absence from popular consciousness is not purely a the result of a vast record company conspiracy.

In every discipline, it is rare to fine artists producing solid work for more than ten to fifteen years, it seems. Billy Shakespeare is highly regarded in his field and he writes for barely twenty years, and even spends part of that warming up with unremarkable things like "Henry VI." Even the fantastically prolific Leonardo only had about thirty years of his three-score-ten-and-seven where he was producing art that has survived the ages, and you will find that The Last Supper and La Gioconda (the Mona Lisa) were produced about as far apart as "Please Please Me"and "Let it Be".

Again, nothing against McCartney -- he has produced some fantastic music in his time -- but we're now closing in half a century since he wrote "Yesterday," and anyone's career cannot help but pale after that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:05 PM on October 12, 2008


I suspect at least half the groups represented above have had one or more members who has released an album in the last five years

and one of those members of one of those groups could actually be heard on this year's top 40

you never know ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:32 PM on October 12, 2008


I wish you could break his songs up into individual verses, choruses, and bridges and then snap the parts you like together to create killer McCartney songs.

....I'm envisioning something like Legos with mp3 players embedded within, and now I REALLY, REALLY want this because it sounds like it would be SUCH a fun toy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on October 13, 2008


.I'm envisioning something like Legos with mp3 players embedded within

© USBGos®™

It's all my idea, mine! Back off!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:30 AM on October 13, 2008


It's all my idea, mine! Back off!

Oh, I think not:

....I'm envisioning something like Legos with mp3 players embedded within, and now I REALLY, REALLY want this because it sounds like it would be SUCH a fun toy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos An hour ago

© USBGos®™

posted by Alvy Ampersand 8 minutes ago


We can negotiate the intellectual property compensation. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


In other Beatle news, Ringo has announced he WON'T BE SIGNING ANY MORE AUTOGRAPHS!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2008


Oh, and also, topiary Ringo was beheaded. "Starr's head was chopped off, but the rest of the Beatles were untouched."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:16 PM on October 13, 2008


When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of this thread
and I stop
and I re-read
what I thought I just read
and I get to the bottom and I read it ag-aaaaaaaain!

Yeah yeah yeah yeah!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:48 PM on October 13, 2008


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